How to De Stress at Work

Three Methods:Improve Your EnvironmentSoothe Your MindSoothe Your Body

For many people, the words "work" and "stress" are nearly synonymous, which makes even the thought of de-stressing at work feel impossible. But have no fear -- as long as you adjust your mindset, create a soothing environment, and have a foolproof stress-relieving routine, you'll be able to relax and de-stress at work in no time at all. If you want to know how to do it, just follow these steps.

Method 1
Improve Your Environment

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    Create resting spots for your eyes. You can add some flavor to your work space without making it look too cluttered. Just put up a few photos of your favorite people or places, a lovely piece of art, or a card that makes you smile. Adding a plant or bouquet of flowers to your desk can also make your space more visually appealing. Every fifteen minutes or so, take a break from your computer and rest your eyes on these favorite items.
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    Add a zen garden to your workspace. A zen garden can help you feel calmer and less overwhelmed. Take a five-minute break every hour or so to rake your zen garden, and feel soothed by the sound of the rake pushing through the sand. Rearranging the garden a bit can also make you feel more calm and in control. The zen garden would also create another perfect resting spot for your eyes.[1]
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    Organize your desk. You will feel less stressed at work if your desk is more organized. Make sure your desk isn't cluttered with anything beyond the essential items you use often, like a cup of pencils, notepad, and your phone, as well as the few visually-appealing items you've chosen for resting your eyes. File everything away neatly, and throw out any pens that no longer work. The more manageable your workspace feels, the more in control of your work and life you will feel.
    • Take at least five to ten minutes at the end of every workday to organize your space. This will guarantee that the order you've set up will be maintained.
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    Create an ergonomic space. If your space is more ergonomically organized, your body will be less tense and your mind will follow. If your hands are aching from so much typing, you should consider getting a split keyboard or a sideways mouse to ease the pressure on your wrists and fingers. Keep the things you use often within reach so you don't have to strain to find and use them.
    • Adjust your seat so you are facing your monitor and aren't straining your neck by looking too far above or below you.
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    Consider alternate seating. If you don't have a swivel chair, you can consider getting one to keep your body active and engaged while you type. Swiveling around in the chair will make your time at work feel more fun and less monotonous. Though studies haven't concluded that a stability ball can improve your posture, sitting on this ball can just make work feel more fun and give you more freedom to move around.[2]
    • If sitting in a chair for many hours a day is causing you a lot of pain, you can consider getting a standing desk. This will improve your posture and can make you feel more calm at work.
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    Enjoy a soothing scent. Light some sage (if your office allows it) or leave a bouquet of lavender on your desk and let the natural smells make you feel calmer and more at peace. Even adding some nice potpourri to your work space can make the environment feel more your own and can relax your mind and body.[3]
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    Let there be light. Make sure your work space is filled with soothing, soft light. You should have enough light to see clearly and to feel alert, but too much light, especially fluorescent lighting, can make you feel more anxious and worried. A desk lamp with a soft bulb covered by an opaque lid can mimic the soothing effects of a real candle.
    • If you have a window in your workspace, try to be as close to the light from the window as possible. Your back should be positioned toward the window so the natural light can fall in front of you.

Method 2
Soothe Your Mind

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    Picture your favorite vacation. When things are getting too tense at work, just close your eyes for a minute or two and remember your favorite vacation spot. Try to recreate the smells, the sounds, and the tastes that made the place so special to you. Whenever you're feeling overwhelmed, just return to that place. Having a memento from your favorite spot on your desk can also make it easier for you to remember it.[4]
    • And if you can find it in your budget to return to your favorite spot from time to time, you will be living a more relaxed life during and after work.
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    Make friends with your coworkers. Maybe you feel stressed at work because you feel like you're in your own little bubble and have no one to talk to during the day. Though you don't have to become best friends with your coworkers, just getting to know them over a quick lunch or a break in the coffee room can help you feel like you have people who are in the same boat and can understand your struggles.
    • Being friendly and smiling more will not only help you make friends, but it will help your body naturally feel more calm.
    • Getting to know your coworkers will also make you more likely to laugh, which is another stress-relieving activity.
    • If you get close to one of your coworkers, you can open up a bit about how stressed you're feeling, and you'll feel less alone when talking about your feelings.
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    Get some perspective. When you're feeling so impossibly overwhelmed -- like you'll never get all of your work done, like you're about to get fired, or like nothing you do can ever be enough, sit back, take a deep breath, and tell yourself to get some perspective. Though work can feel all-consuming, at the end of the day, a job is a job, not a life-and-death matter -- unless you have a job where lives are at stake, of course.
    • Remind yourself of all of the other things that make you happy and relaxed, from your friends and family to your favorite hobbies or pets.
    • Though "It's not the end of the world" is an overused phrase, telling yourself that you may be overreacting to stressful situations at work can help you remember your priorities.
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    Meditate. Meditating right at your desk or on the floor for just twenty minutes a day can help you feel more relaxed and in control of your days. To mediate, just find a comfortable seat in a quiet place and rest your hands on your lap, straighten your posture, and focus on relaxing your body one part at a time.
    • Close your eyes and take in all of the sounds and sensations as you breathe in and out.
    • You can also meditate right before work to make for a less stressful day in the workplace.
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    Write things down. Though you may be married to your computer, you should take breaks to write down a few things, from your daily to-do list to some information you received over the phone. Writing down some words -- even if they aren't essential to your job -- can give your mind a break from the computer screen and can refocus your energies and make you feel less overwhelmed.
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    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 ten 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.
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    Manage your workload. Another way to soothe your mind in the workplace is to make sure that you aren't overwhelmed by all the work that you have to do. You can try to manage your workload by delegating some of your tasks to others, asking for more help on projects, or even by cutting back on some of the work you said you'd take on.
    • You may be feeling stressed because you're not as productive as you could be during the first few hours of work and have to rush to get everything done by quitting time -- to avoid this, create a daily schedule that ensures that you'll get everything done before it's time to leave.
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    Make work more fun. If you make your work experience more enjoyable, you'll be more excited to come in to work, to spend the day there, and to return the next day. Though you may feel it's impossible to make your job fun, you can make your work more enjoyable by bringing in treats for your coworkers, treating yourself to a nice lunch once a week, or just by rewarding yourself with a juicy romance novel or delicious cookie for getting some work done.
    • If your thoughts about your workplace are more positive, you'll be much more excited to be there and won't look at work as purely a place of stress.
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    Go to lunch. Though you may feel that going to lunch will only waste your time and keep you from accomplishing necessary tasks, you'll actually feel happier and less stressed if you go to lunch, as well as more focused and productive. Lunch provides the perfect mid-day break to help you get a rest from all of your hard work and to gear up for working until the evening.
    • Even if you're by yourself, you shouldn't bring your food to your desk, or you won't feel like you're taking a break at all when you eat. Even if you just sit outside for twenty minutes to enjoy a salad, your mind will be relaxing.
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    Play calming music. Create a mix of the songs that make you feel the most at peace, whether it's your favorite Enya CD or the music of Mozart or Beethoven. Play these songs on your headphones or quietly at your desk if you don't disturb anyone. This can make you feel more at peace, and less overwhelmed by all of the tasks ahead.[5]

Method 3
Soothe Your Body

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    Move around. To feel less stressed, you need to get up out of your seat at least once an hour. Taking a short walk for just ten to twenty minutes just once during your work day can help put your body at ease. Make a goal of taking the stairs instead of the elevator and of walking to a coworker's desk instead of asking him something over email. Any simple movement will make you feel more loose and and less overworked.[6]
    • Even doing twenty jumping-jacks near your desk can make you feel invigorated and more alert.
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    Stretch. Stretching your body from time to time can help release your tension and can make you feel much more calm and in control. You can stretch your arms, neck, shoulders, and your back right at or in front of your desk by making just a few easy movements. Here are some things to try:
    • Just stand up and touch your toes. Hold this position for ten seconds. This will create a great stretch for your back.
    • Roll your shoulders backward and forward. This will release the tension in your back and neck.
    • Stretch your neck by moving your head to the left and right, as if you were going to press your ear to your shoulder.
    • Stretch your forearms and wrists by moving one hand straight out in front of you with your palm up, like you were saying "Stop!" and then bending back your fingers towards you.
    • Stretch your upper and lower back by holding one side of your chair with both of your arms and twisting in that same direction.
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    Eat foods that relieve stress. There are certain foods that can help you feel more centered and less agitated and stressed out. Some studies show that eating an orange or even just sucking on an orange slice can make you feel more at peace.[7]Some other foods that are known to relieve stress are avocado, salmon, almonds, and spinach, so try to add these foods to your lunch routine or to snack on them periodically.[8]
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    Avoid too much caffeine. The caffeine in coffee, soda, and especially energy drinks can make you feel more jittery and stressed out. Though caffeine may make you feel more focused, alert, and productive for a while, you'll feel anxious and shaky when you come down from a caffeine high. If you drink a serious amount of caffeine, try to slowly wean yourself off of it instead of quitting cold turkey.
    • There is also caffeine in tea, but drinking caffeinated tea in small doses is more soothing than sipping coffee. Drinking from a non-caffeinated tea like a peppermint tea can make you feel more relaxed.[9]
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    Do yoga. Yoga is touted for its ability to soothe your mind and body. Going to a yoga class before or after work can make your workplace experience more enjoyable, and taking a lunch-break to take a short yoga class can also help you feel more centered and in touch with your mind and body. Find a friend from work to be your yoga body, and enjoy the benefits you'll feel -- both for your mind and your body.

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Categories: Workplace Conflicts Coping and Issues