We simply can’t avoid certain events in life and stress at the workplace is one of them. It has always been there and even served as inspiration or incentive to reach better results when within the normal range. But what is normal for one individual, may simply be overwhelming for another and so stress should always be approached cautiously.
It’s impossible to avoid pressure at the workplace since the demands of the market and modern business environment dictate the rhythm. And basically, anything can put pressure on an employee and cause them to work in the stressful circumstances thus impairing their productivity and health. After all, the desire to be respected by your colleagues and boss is normal and can an essential human need.
So, if someone at work offends you or you are treated in any other unfair way, it will create stress-related situations. The same situation will happen if you have too much work on your hands or don’t know how to separate private from working hours. With that in mind, you can try some or all of the following ways to feel relaxed at work which will help you handle stress in the right way and have a successful career.
1. Take your work outside
If there is an option to take your work outside on the roof, terrace or deck, then you should definitely do so. Many companies today encourage their employees to do so by creating outdoors conditions for work like tables, benches, and shade. Some even like to have meetings outside or brainstorm since being exposed to open space can boost creativity and bring new ideas to the table.
These are all positive inputs that mitigate stress and keep the atmosphere in the workspace constructive and encouraging. Additionally, some companies like to incorporate nature in their outdoor space which can bring even more affirmative behavior from the employees. Sound of water from the nearby Zen garden, flower beds on the rims or a small vegetable garden provide some of the relaxing environments to work in.
2. Use apps to manage stress
There is actually a quick way to relax at work and keep stress at bay and it’s at the tip of your fingers. Namely, you can try one of the many smartphone apps intended for reducing stress and keeping you focused. For example, you can use apps to exercise diaphragmatic breathing, muscle relaxation, monitor your heart rate and do mindfulness training.
Of course, there are apps which offer games designed by psychology and neuroscience professionals which are intended to lower the stress levels, like Personal Zen. Also, tracking your mood via an app will help you identify the stressors so you can manage the situations where they appear. There is even an app that serves as a virtual rubber duck called Squeeze and Shakes which is great for anger and stress management.
3. Organize your workload
No matter how much work you have, organizing your plans, goals, and activities to achieve them will help you deal with unexpected and unforeseen issues. Basically, it all comes down to creating your schedule so you have enough time to appropriately dedicate to work and deal with possible problems. This may be something that will take your time to do, but once you organize your workload, you will feel more relaxed at work and lose some of the pressure.
However, this organization shouldn’t be limited to your daily tasks, but rather include long-term projections. And so, create plans for the whole project on weekly, monthly and yearly level so you would know exactly what to expect and how to deal with obstacles on the way. It will also give you a clear picture of what lies ahead and remove most of the unknown factors in your plans.
4. Participate in team-building activities
Team building activities are a popular way to keep morale in the company high and allow employees to have fun. The type of activities vary from luxurious vacations to participating in sports events, and it’s easy to pass on an opportunity if something doesn’t make you feel comfortable. However, there are many other ways you can participate in team-building activities without actually having to be the star.
For example, if you are not into sports, then create a cheer group for your colleagues and organize other coworkers to give the team support. Namely, come up with a cheer song, slogan and create matching clothes that will visibly say you are cheering for your colleagues’ team. It will boost their confidence, create camaraderie and make everyone feel included in the team building activity.
5. Use stress-relieving desk toys
Those who spend a lot of time at their computer screens could use some time off from electronic devices. So, this means that instead of using apps, you will have to try some of the analog stress-relieving methods. Namely, desk toys specifically designed to keep you relaxed at work and chase the stress away.
Rolling Chinese meditation balls between your fingers will calm your nerves and clear your head both because of trying not to drop them and for the soothing sound they make. Playing with putty may seem like something for kids, but it’s actually quite beneficial when you have to get your anxiety in check especially before the big meeting. On the other hand, game toys like mini magnetic fishing and mini desktop arcade are a perfect way to have fun and rest your eyes from the computer and smartphone screen.
6. Stretch and walk from time to time
The sedentary position is considered nowadays as one of the main reason for developing a wide range of health conditions. And also, it will keep you in one place and overly exposed to immediate stressors. So, getting up and stretching from time to time is not only a good idea but also encouraged and welcomed.
Moreover, consider making more breaks that will inspire you to walk like going for a coffee or using the stairs instead of an elevator. Sometimes, even the smallest change of scenery and state is enough to relax and take your mind off of stressful topics. That way you will more easily come up with solutions and new ideas without having to overtire yourself.
7. Respect your free time
If you constantly surround yourself with work, you will burn out and lose the strength to deal with everyday tasks. This is the reason why you should leave your workload at the office and the moment you clock out, dedicate your free time to relax and socialize. Although stress at work comes from the office environment and behaviours developed there, some of it you also carry from home.
So, if you don’t respect your free time, you will start neglecting your personal life, loved ones, and interests which can have a burdening effect on a person. You will probably have to work overtime here and there, but don’t pressure yourself into working all the time. That way you will find the strength in your personal life to deal with the challenges of your professional one and be more successful at dealing with stress.
8. Socialize with colleagues during breaks
Socializing at work is very important to feel accepted by your peers and share daily stress with others who understand. This is why companies invest in coffee machine rental, high-end water dispenser, comfortable chairs and build game corners in recreation rooms for their employees to relax and socialize. If you are new to the firm, this is a good way to start building relationships over a cup of coffee and having casual conversations.
Some companies even go out of their way to order food catering during lunch hours so employees wouldn’t stress out over hurrying to the restaurant and back. This way you will get to know your coworker better which will make collaborating with them more comfortable and easier. Also, it will establish healthy communication that will be useful when there is a conflict of ideas, giving and receiving feedback, as well as establishing dialogue over sensitive matters.
9. Give yourself a massage
If you have a stiff neck or numbness in your hand, you probably will feel uncomfortable to work and be less focused on your tasks. Furthermore, the daily dose of stress will only add to your troubles and quickly you can become agitated creating so an unfriendly environment. But, there is an easy solution for this problem and that is to give yourself a massage.
Hunching over a computer can cause muscles on your neck and shoulder to stiffen so you need to apply pressure on each side with your hands. Rub your neck up and down and try to reach the area between the shoulder blades where you should apply some circular moves. Start with one side and repeat the moves three times and then tend to the other side.
10. Have 20 minutes of pre-work exercise
Exercise is not only good for your health but will also release feel-good hormones into your body that will boost your mood. Just 20 minutes of exercise every day before work can wake you up and give you the energy to seize new challenges of the day. However, it’s important to choose the type of exercise that is right for you and which you really like.
For example, yoga will help you stretch your muscles and get to a relaxed state of mind through breathing techniques and meditation. HIIT is an intense training which will elevate your heart rate and help you sweat out the worries so you can start the day fresh and ready for action. It may be hard, in the beginning, to wake up earlier only to exercise, but after only a couple of days you will start feeling immense benefits, so be patient.
All in all
Even when you can’t avoid stress, you can still find a way to control it and live with it in a healthy and productive way. These ways to feel relaxed at work will help you with that, and also give you strength and courage to face whatever challenges the day holds. Just keep an open mind and be ready to make a leap of faith.
Author: Emily Wilson
Emily is a business psychologist with a passion for marketing. Searching, exploring and writing are her favourite things to do. Besides that, she loves animals and travelling.