Business-stress busters: 7 simple ways to relax at work
Got a mysterious meeting with the boss in the morning? About to give a presentation to a large audience? Just realised that there's no way you can possibly meet an impending deadline?!
Here are seven easy ways to be like a meme, keep calm and carry on.
But first, it's ok to be stressed
Stress is part of business life. And, in small doses, it can often help us achieve goals we never imagined possible.
However, with more work to do in less time these days, stress is becoming a real drag on our health, productivity, relationships at work and home, and more.
But let's not have a conniption about it. Here are seven easy, realistic ways to show stress the door when business life feels like too much to handle.
When people panic, the first thing you'll usually hear from someone who sounds like they know what they're doing is "Take a deep breath".
While they may have no idea what they're doing, controlled breathing sure does. It's been proven to:
- decrease stress and regulate our stress hormone (cortisol)
- reduce anxiety and depression
- increase happiness
- help us regulate emotions
Why? Because breathing has a hotline to our nervous system and that's where the magic and the mayhem start.
So if you need a quick, effective way to destress, simply pause and suck in a fresh lungful of air. Clear your mind of everything as you hold on to your breath, exhale slowly and repeat.
Feels better, huh?
Meditate and visualise
Being at peace with yourself for a few moments every day (even while sitting at your desk) is a great way to beat stress. It's also about visualising a peaceful setting that, in turn, can calm your mind.
There are many forms of meditation. It matters not which technique you adopt. What's important are the results you gain.
Test out a few simple practices to find one that is going to fit with your schedule, personality type and physical location.
Workout and stretch
When we get panicky or on edge, our bodies tighten up as much as our minds. That's why stretching tense muscles and limbs or getting oxygen to them with a cardio workout - can help us relax.
Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and help us sleep. So your stress will lower immediately and over time.
There are loads of simple stretches and exercises you can do in the office check YouTube for video demonstrations.
You should also try to take a yoga or Pilates class, or go for a run or brisk walk around the block a few times a week.
Lose yourself in music or a hobby
When deadlines are looming or the pressure is on, there's a temptation to bury ourselves in the job at hand for hours on end. Unfortunately, the longer we work, the less productive and creative we become.
Business is easier and more enjoyable when you create mini-rewards for hard work done.
So set time limits on your efforts two hours maximum and then stop for a 15 minute treat doing something you love. Something that you can lose yourself in for a little while to forget about reality and your worries.
It might be listening to music, reading a novel (not a work-related book), watching a short comedy film, or spending time on your favourite hobby.
This is a great way to keep stress under control and hit your deadlines with higher quality work.
Tweak your organisation skills
Sometimes, stress can be anticipated and prevented. Good business management techniques like planning out your day at work and knowing where everything is can take away some of the unwanted irritants and chaos that pop-up.
Similarly, delegating work where possible or and breaking up a large, intimidating project into many smaller parts are habits worth adopting.
Rub out negativity and chaos
Bad vibes breed discomfort and stress. If there's a lot of office politics going on, and/or people in the team who continually contribute to bringing down the mood, everyone gets stressed.
Finding ways to smooth over situations and make sure bad eggs don't ruin the whole carton is crucial to a minimal-stress workplace.
Tranquilise your space
Another way to surround yourself and your workmates with warm and peaceful aura is through the soothing power of aromatherapy and its fragrant possibilities.
Feng Shui, bonsai or some happy, green plants can have an amazingly calming effect too. Or, make room on your desk for some photos of people and pets you love, or artefacts that you associate with happy, relaxed times.
Next time you're having a manic Monday to Friday, remember that there are things you can do to tame the stress monster. Whether it's a few deep breaths, or one of these other techniques that you'll learn to master with a bit of practice.
Not only will you feel more relaxed, you'll be chuffed with how much more productive you are too.