You probably already know why it’s important to reduce stress. However, so many of the strategies — like getting a good night’s sleep and regular exercise for example — are things you take care of after work.
But, what can you do during the workday to feel a little calmer? This is likely the time when you feel stress the most acutely.
Thankfully, there are some techniques that you can use to reduce stress while you’re still on the job, without investing a lot of time and effort. Feeling more centered should help you to be more productive, and you’ll enjoy your work a little more, too.
1. Put down the caffeine
Stress can be draining. But, try to resist the urge to reach for that second cup of coffee when you’re feeling under pressure. Caffeine is a stimulant, so it will actually increase your stress, not reduce it.
2. Carve out time and space for flow
Flow is an optimal mental state that supports acute and sustained focus. We are at our most productive and creative when we’re in this state of consciousness. In order to get there, you need a moderately challenging task and some time and space to yourself where you won’t be interrupted. So, if you have a conference room you can use, or a little quiet office, consider going there, even for just a half an hour, and locking the door. You’ll get some peace and quiet, and you’ll get a lot of work done.
3. Set boundaries
It’s important to have boundaries in order to protect yourself when you’re feeling stressed at work. Namely, you have to be able to say no to stuff that’s going to stress you out even more. Draw the line when enough is enough. Of course you want to support your coworkers, but you have to protect your own time and energy, too.
4. Listen to music
Some people benefit from listening to music at work and others don’t. If you’re one of the people who finds it relaxing, and not too distracting, definitely consider listening to some music on your headphones. Just make sure the music is upbeat. Music stirs emotion, so choose wisely.
5. Take short breaks
You don’t have to take a week-long vacation to enjoy some stress relief. Even short breaks can help to reduce stress. Science has found that even just looking out the window lowers stress levels.
6. Hone in on the joy
You might not feel like counting your blessings when you’re feeling overwhelmed. But, this is perhaps the most important time to do it. Reminding yourself of all of the great things about your job could help you take the challenges in easier stride.
7. Have fun with a work-friend
There are so many positive benefits to having friends at work. These relationships are good for the company as well as individuals. Research has shown that work-friendships makes employees happier; they raise engagement levels, and improve job satisfaction. There’s even something to be said for goofing off a little during meetings. Just don’t take it too far.
8. Take a break from the screens
Our devices feed us a constant stream of distraction. Over time, this can really take a toll. When you’re feeling stressed, consider stepping away for a few minutes and engage in the real world. Talk to someone in person rather than sending an email. Maybe draft a proposal by hand for a change. You might find it to be relaxing.
9. Get some scents
We all know from experience that powerful smells, both good ones and bad ones, can affect mood. So, why not take advantage of some aromatherapy at work? Scents like lavender, lemon and jasmine are said to help promote a feeling of calm.
10. Spend one minute (yes, even just one) meditating
You might think that it takes 20 minutes or more to meditate. But, there are practices you can do in just one minute. Try taking the time for a quick mindfulness meditation in order to help you hone in on the present moment the next time you’re feeling stressed at work. It’s amazing how much taking even just a minute for yourself can help.
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