Do you find yourself struggling to find peace and relaxation throughout your work day? Or worse, after you get home from work?
As of 2016, 76% of people in the United States said money or work was a leading cause of their stress.
This number only seems to be increasing today. With the adding responsibilities and pressures we face in the workplace, stress is bound to catch up with us at some point.
We can’t afford to let this happen because stress puts a serious toll on our mental and physical health. It can increase our chances of developing illnesses and affect our performance and productivity.
Stress may not be able to be avoided entirely, but we can learn and practice stress management activities during our work days.
By taking the time to pause and practice these five activities, you’ll be on your way to a less stressed and more productive version of yourself.
5 stress management activities you need in your work day
1. Deep breathing & mindfulness
You probably hear it a lot, but just doing some deep breathing and letting your mind shut off for a couple of minutes can do wonders for your stress.
Stress management activities like this are often taken for granted; however, this is known to be one of the best stress management techniques.
If you’re about to go into a presentation or just had a stressful meeting, sit at your desk and shut your eyes for a few moments.
Intensely focus on your breathing by feeling your stomach shrink and then expand. Deep breathing helps your mind stay calm with a reduced flow of oxygen.
While you may not be able to meditate at your desk, you can practice mindfulness in the form of deep breathing.
This will help you forget the emotions and feelings you have built up and focus on the present moment.
2. Stay active & change the scenery
One of the best stress management activities to practice at work is taking breaks and changing up the scenery.
Especially if you’re working at a desk job and staring at the computer all day. Make a habit of getting up every hour to walk around the office, get water, or talk to a co-worker.
I know you’re probably thinking, there’s no way you have time for this. Studies show that taking “diversions” or breaks throughout your day can actually increase focus and productivity levels.
So, next time you think you’re leaving less time for work, remember that this actually helps you get more done.
If you’re used to eating your lunch at your desk every day, try moving to a different location (outside if possible) to give your mind a break.
Exercise, in general, is a great stress reliever, so getting the blood flowing in your body can help you release endorphins and get back to that calmer state.
3. Socialize & build quality relationships
If you don’t have great relationships or don’t bother talking to your co-workers, it’s a great time to start.
Chances are you’ll end up bonding with someone.
Having someone to talk to is one of the best stress management activities out there. Since you can’t talk to friends and family most of the time at work, build relationships with your coworkers.
Your co-workers most likely will get stressed out just like you and relate to your situation.
By simply letting out your feelings, you’ll feel that edge drop off. Just make sure you’re talking to your co-worker at the right place and time.
Next time you’re feeling stressed, go to that person you can confide and talk to them about something fun or comical to get you re-energized.
Laughing is a great way to let go of tension and stimulate circulation to your brain. It’ll also make the day go by faster which is an added bonus.
Great support systems at work are key.
4. Practice muscle relaxation
Muscle relaxation is the process of tensing certain muscle groups and then releasing the tension to produce relaxation.
You may have noticed that your neck and back feels tight at times. And, yes, stress is most likely causing this to happen.
When you don’t take the time to relax your muscles and are constantly on edge with new work tasks, your muscles take a huge toll.
You don’t need to be on a yoga mat or at the gym to practice this, you can do it right at your desk.
This a progressive task where you will start with one muscle group and then slowly move to the next.
Ever wonder what stress balls were made for? Well, this muscle relaxation is actually it.
Start by tensing and relaxing your feet and toes, moving onto your legs and then finishing with your neck.
After a few times of practicing muscle relaxation techniques, you’ll be feeling less stressed and reaping the benefits — trust us!
5. Prioritize your tasks
This may seem like a no-brainer, but taking the time to prioritize and organize your tasks will really do wonders for your stress.
When you try to do too many things at once or take different tasks to do scattered around your desk, this is a trigger for stress.
If your job requires you to take part in a lot of meeting, set them up far ahead of time and send calendars invitations so you can properly plan.
If you constantly have paperwork to file, set up a way to sort it with file organizers and a first in, first out approach.
Just remember stress is caused when you overcommit yourself and take on too much responsibility.
If you can, designate your tasks to subordinates and make your projects manageable by organizing parts to tackle every day. It will make you much more productive.
By taking the time to prioritize your tasks, you’ll also be perceived as very put together by your coworkers.
You’ll find yourself gaining more respect among your peers and building quality relationships.
Stress management activities are critical to a less stressful life. Don’t be someone who just copes with stress and makes stress a necessary evil part of life.
Your workday doesn’t always have to be hectic. When you live through these five stress management activities, you’ll be on your way to be a happier, calmer and stress-free life.