Stressed and overwhelmed? Find out how to relax at work!

  • December 21, 2020
  • by Ola Rybacka
  • No comments

Let’s face it: the modern world requires being focused and ready to fulfill the duties 24/7. That insane pace and living under pressure make us overwhelmed and stressed. It causes serious damage to our mental health and affects how effective and productive we are. But even in this negative environment, we can create a stress-free bubble and keep a peaceful mind. It sounds like an oxymoron. Let’s dive into the subject and find out how to relax at work properly.

Biology is the key

First and foremost, we need to understand that it’s impossible to work for 8 hours a day continuously. Our brains and bodies need breaks to regenerate. But speaking about breaks, we don’t usually don’t mean jumping into social media as soon as the break starts, checking the notifications voraciously. This approach still keeps our minds occupied and highly focused. Some of us also use breaks to catch up on the less important but piling up assignments.

Let’s ask ourselves, what’s the point of the breaks?

What I mention above leads straight to forget that the true meaning of breaks is broadly understood relaxation. Cambridge Dictionary defines it as:

a pleasant activity that makes you become calm and less worried

But as many people are in the world, as many definitions of pleasant activity exist. That’s why I’d like to share some of the activities people who are overwhelmed with job find the most relaxing. Try the ideas below and find out if some way works for you!

Hint: Find out how to deal with technostress as well!

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How to relax at work?

Yoga at desk

A lot of professions require sitting at the desk most of the time. Such a position affects our backs and, generally bones, negatively when staying too much time in it. But here comes the first idea on how to calm down more at work – stretching!

Physical exercises, especially yoga, which becomes more and more popular last time, have a blessing effect on our bodies, tired of sitting for a few hours straight:

  • improve blood flow pressure, lowering it to the acceptable rates,
  • improve the blood supply of the brain and affects the thinking processes positively,
  • stretch the muscles and reduce pain caused by sitting position,
  • soothe headaches.
  • free us from stress because they affect the body and the mind (a least for a moment).

A few months ago, we recommended to you some of the easy yet satisfying yoga positions. Give them a try, exercise, and find out how they can help you relax throughout the day!

Going for a walk

At work, breaks usually take 15 minutes to half an hour. It’s a perfect timeframe for a short walk, e.g., around the place we’re working in (or living in, when it comes to remote workers). We need to breathe, and sitting 8 hours straight in the same room doesn’t favor it. Going outside, taking a solid inhale of fresh air is relaxing, calms the mind, and reduces stress. There is only one condition: smoking isn’t allowed, so don’t even try to ask your co-workers if it’s time for a smoke ;).

Reading books or mangas

We all know that reading broadens the mind. Books and other stories are often used to treat anxiety therapy (as a part of art therapy). There isn’t one common type of story we should read to achieve a relaxing effect because each of us defines a pleasant story differently. One likes crime novels or romantic stories, and the other feels relaxed reading horrors – different strokes for different folks. But no matter what we read, it’s indisputable that reading improves concentration and reduces stress by allowing us to experience whole new adventures.

Many people find reading comics relaxing as well. They also cover amazing stories but are enhanced by the visual content. The special type of comics are mangas, written by Japanese authors. They’re published as single chapters and then in volumes (tankōbon). Luckily, they’re translated into many languages, so you don’t have to know Japanese to read them! Browsing them, you can not only read an inspiring and sometimes breathtaking story but also admire the illustrations showing the drawing skills of mangakas and their teams. If you ever see someone reading a manga in the office, don’t be afraid and ask them for recommendations!

Closing eyes and calming the mind

Yes, you don’t have to do something complicated or requiring high activity to reduce work-related stress. One of the proven ways to relax (no matter if it’s in the office or the private environment) is meditation. Even if finding a quiet place for relaxation is unreachable, put your earphones on, play your favorite music, and just close your eyes as long as the situation allows.

Massage your temples or scalp a bit. Don’t think about work-related issues; try to focus on something that makes you happy and pleases you. Chill out your body a bit – who knows if the break will turn into a little mind-refreshing nap? Let your mind float somewhere for a moment!

Playrooms/ workout rooms at work

Many companies invest some money creating open space playrooms for their employees. Usually, it’s quiet, but sometimes chill out music plays there. There are usually two types of these spaces:

  • fitted with exercise equipment for workouts,
  • mind-relax oriented, packed with board games and amusement machines or places for taking a nap.

No matter the type it is, having this kind of space in the company is somewhat pleasurable. It allows us to calm down and holds the team together, being a place for casual conversations. Recovering in the playroom also prevents from bothering the co-workers – lying at the desk during the working hours might be misunderstood.

Crosswords

As a child, many of us probably drew mustaches on the crossword magazines’ covers. Over time, we became more content-oriented, browsing inside and looking for the easiest to solve. And now, solving puzzles can be one of the easiest ways to relax! It broadens horizons by learning new information and helps us become more focused and success-oriented. Who among us doesn’t like the taste of guessing the clue?

Chatting with teammates

Spending many hours at work with the same people can be too much for many of us, so it’s understandable sometimes we’re not into making stronger bonds with them. But talking about work-related issues only is really boring and doesn’t allow us to find out our co-workers’ real nature. During the coffee break, try to join the conversation to get to know them better – who knows, maybe they share your passions, and you’ll find a soulmate there?

Playing with pets

It’s scientifically proven that spending time with animals affects mood positively. This kind of amusement significantly reduces stress and changes our life attitude. Petting a dog or a cat makes us calm and relaxed, brings down anxiety, and helps us focus on a single task more. Many companies allow bringing our pets to work with us. There is also a special date for this occasion: National Take Your Dog to Work Day (in 2021, 25th June). There’s also a hashtag for it: #takeyourdogtoworkday if you might want to share it on Instagram or Twitter.

Remote workers are in an even better position! They can always take their pets to work and enjoy their soothing companion going for a walk or playing with them in a free time.

Or, if you don’t own a cat or a dog, try watching the funny videos with them at least. Luckily, Youtube is full of amusing content!

Eating

Food wasn’t meant to be just for nutrition. Eating also comforts us, especially when reaching for the meals we find the tastier. Some of us use food as a weapon when it comes to fighting anxiety and high-stress level (of course, it doesn’t mean I glorify eating disorders, they’re not relaxation methods and need medical treatment). But when we’re overwhelmed with our job, consuming our favorite food during the break can be deeply relaxing.

The same goes for cooking! Preparing food works best for our concentration and improves the focus because we need to follow the recipe’s instructions. On the other hand, it allows us to be more creative in creating our own recipes. So, instead of buying a cheap, greasy sandwich, try to prepare your meal the day before and take it to the office. It’s actually more simple than you think and saves you a lot of money! Getting a bento box is also a good option; the internet is full of fancy offers. Make it in the morning or the evening the day before, take it to the office, and enjoy the tasty, healthy meal during the break!

PS. If you’re a remote worker, check these 5 tips for making your home office work more enjoyable ;). 


I hope you found some of the ways above useful! Relaxation isn’t a tough job, one we should do is to find something we really enjoy.

Do you know other ways that work for you? Please share them in the comments!

Ola Rybacka

Community Manager at TimeCamp, Ph.D., and speech therapy student, full-time otaku. よろしくお願いします!

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