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10 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress at Work

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Stressed out at work? Just relax. It is easier said than done, but finding ways to relieve stress at work is a must—lest you wind up like this Colorado Springs man, who was cited recently for discharging a firearm eight times into his desktop PC. “He got tired of fighting with his computer for the last several months, so he took it in the back alley and shot it,” Lt. Jeff Strossner told the Colorado Springs Gazette.

It does not have to come to this!


Colorado Springs Police Department photo

Colorado Springs Police Department photo

There are ways to save your sanity (and your desktop PC) during working hours. It is important to be mindful of the tools and techniques that provide ways to relieve stress at work.

Eat breakfast every day
Proper nutrition is critical for keeping your mind tuned for work. Skipping breakfast can create a blood sugar imbalance which makes it more difficult to negotiate stressful situations. If you are too pinched for time to eat before your commute, keep the work refrigerator stocked with fresh fruits, whole grains, and proteins.  Make your breakroom breakfast-friendly with a 3-in-1 breakfast center or a breakfast sandwich maker.

Start earlier, leave earlier
If your work hours are flexible, consider moving your work day back a few hours. Starting earlier usually means fewer distractions which results in greater productivity. This is a trick advocated by many entrepreneurs and CEOs. Slowly push back your wake-up time to allow your body’s rhythm to adjust slowly. It helps if your alarm clock is located away from your bed. A projection alarm clock helps with this type of setup.

Sit comfortably in an ergonomic chair
Desk workers are in their chair more than any other location. It makes sense to be comfortable. It is important to find the right combination of adjustability, durability, and comfort when selecting an office chair, and there are hundreds of options available. A quality ergonomic office chair typically costs $100-$200. See the top rated model in this range, the Lorell 8620.      

De-clutter your desk
Disorganization creates stress. Here are several tools and tips for keeping a messy desk in harmony. Dedicate ten minutes each day to keep your workspace free of clutter, and this will serve to keep your mind free of anxiety.

Stretch it out
Endorphins help keep our brain poised to handle anxiety and stressful situations. An easy way to release endorphins into our bloodstream is to engage in light stretching for five minutes several times a day. Some stretches, like chest elevations and chin tucks, you can do right in your desk chair. For a visual guide to these stretches and others, the Mayo Clinic provides a nice pictorial of stretches that can be done right at your desk.

Boost the endorphins with light exercise
Five to ten minutes of light exercise can provide a shot of focus without working up too much of a sweat. Here at NeweggBusiness, there is a small group (“The Push-Up Club”) that takes time out twice daily to do push-ups, forearm planks, or wall-sits, which helps get the blood flowing and keeps the mindset positive for hours afterward. It is a shorter (and much healthier) alternative to the old cigarette break.  Keeping a yoga mat at work will help prevent rug burn.

Take lunch away from your desk
Stretching at your desk is good, but make sure to take advantage of your full lunch hour. Take your time and eat slowly—this helps avoid overeating and resulting food coma. If eating out, go to lunch an hour earlier or later than the standard 12-1 p.m. to avoid peak traffic. Make a habit of this and go at the same time to train your body and your co-workers to know when it is time for you to eat. Brown bags work just fine, but if you’re feeling fancy the thermal bento box set is pretty cool.

Grab a power nap
Research shows a 10 minute power nap can re-energize your brain. Even well-rested people experience an energy dip between 1-4 p.m. Reserve a conference room and set a phone alarm for a quick shut-eye session–but avoid naps longer than 20 or 30 minutes which might result in grogginess. The key is to keep the head elevated just a bit to prevent falling into deep REM sleep.  Your car is another prime power nap spot.

Limit IMs and e-mail
Productivity experts say that checking e-mail more than three times daily has ill effects on workflow. Additionally, e-mail—which is a essentially a stream of piling-up demands—is among the worst stress creators in the workplace. Dedicate time to address e-mail a few times each day, and close out of Outlook for the rest of the time. Read other methods of finding inbox Zen through e-mail management.

Introduce technology
Headband-style electroenchephalography (EEG) devices like The Muse headband present a data component for the stress or anxiety affecting our body and mind. By communicating over Bluetooth with an application on your smartphone, the headband alerts users when brain waves indicate unhealthy stress levels. This provides a reminder to engage in meditative practices, or to simply step away from the stressor. By helping you monitor your emotions, EEG headbands encourage a more mindful and focused approach to work and life.

Tell us your techniques and ways to relieve stress at work in the comments.

10 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress at Work
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10 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress at Work
Finding ways to relieve stress at work is a must. Be mindful of 10 simple techniques and tools that boost productivity by reducing anxiety and stress.
Adam Lovinus

Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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