Author: Terri Wells, Studio Designer
We all feel stress at work from time to time. With that in mind, there are some simple techniques to undo its effects. The following tips will help you feel calm in no time at all.
Take a Tea Break
Try some chamomile tea, known for its calming properties. Or sip an aromatic cup of antioxidant-filled green tea – it’s a wonderful way to take a few minutes for yourself, unwind and realize you’re being kind to your body.
Make Exercise a Priority
Whether it’s a quick jog, stretching or a full-blown gym session during your lunch hour, moving your body is crucial for your sanity.
Regularly practicing deep breathing exercises can calm you and also slow the aging process. Sit up straight. Inhale through your nose while slowly counting to six. Exhale through your mouth, counting to eight. Repeat several times. Instead of raising your shoulders while inhaling, let your abdomen expand with air.
Eat a Healthy Snack
Eating small, healthy snacks throughout the day will keep you energized and maintain your blood sugar level, which is key to avoiding irritability and anxiety.
You’ll be enjoying the benefits of the stress-relieving powers of citrus. A 2002 study found that a dose of vitamin C helped people bounce back more easily from a stressful situation.
Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, which rises during times of stress. Some people find that eating a banana when they’re feeling stressed can help improve energy and recovery. And research shows that it can protect your body from the negative effects of stress, like increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
It is rich in stress-relieving B vitamins. Bonus: It’s also high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, which help lower blood pressure.
Nap on the Job
According to NASA, a 26-minute nap can boost workplace performance by 34%. Daytime sleeping improves mood, creativity and focus, all of which may make us better employees.
Walk It Off
While just about any walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins (which, in turn, reduces stress hormones), consider walking in a park or other green space, which can actually put your body into a state of meditation, thanks to a phenomenon known as “involuntary attention” during which something holds our attention but simultaneously allows for reflection.
Read a Book
Studies show that reading for just six minutes a day can help calm your mind and reduce your levels of stress. Though you most likely won’t be able to read an entire novel during a day at work, taking breaks to read just 10 or so pages a day can help calm your mind and make you feel more ready to approach your daily tasks. You can even start a book club with your coworkers to make work more enjoyable and to motivate yourself to read more.
Turn on the Tunes
According to a 2013 study, listening to music can actively help to keep your stress in check. The (not-so-hard-to-fulfill) catch: You have to listen to music that you actually like. Create your own mood-boosting playlist that makes you feel happy and at peace.
Take a Screen Break
You’ll have to get up for this one, but it will be worth your while: Just a five-minute break from your desk will have you returning refocused and a little less anxious. Try to look far away for a few minutes; your eyes will appreciate the rest.
Watch a Viral Video
Laughing is a great relaxation tool. “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain,” explains the Mayo Clinic. Laughter first activates your stress response and then deactivates it, creating a kind of “roller coaster” that leads to a feeling of relaxation.
Yoga Your Way to Inner Peace
Whether you practice poses during lunch or before or after work, the wonderful calming effects of yoga linger to carry you peacefully through a potentially stressful day. If you don’t have time for a class, you can use the yoga room for a quick session of stretching.
Pet a Pooch
Preliminary results from a study show that a few minutes of stroking a dog prompt a release of a number of “feel-good” hormones in humans, including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin.
Chat It Up With Coworkers
It’s important to engage with your coworkers on a day-to-day basis. Not only will kitchen small talk free up your mind for a few minutes, but it will also help you build positive relationships around the office. Try to avoid any work-related venting and stick to fun, tension-free topics instead.
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