Stress permeates many workplaces. Depending upon the industry and the level of stress that goes with the job, the amount of stress workers experience varies from place to place. A floor trader’s stress, for example, is different from a kindergarten teacher’s stress, but it is stress all the same.
Whether you are a neurosurgeon or an administrative assistant with a demanding boss, stress on the job is a very real phenomenon, and increasingly, studies show that ignoring your stress level can lead to serious health consequences for you.
6 Ways To De-Stress At Work
Regardless of your source of stress, here are six ways to lower your stress level at work:
You don’t even need to leave your desk to practice this one technique. Just remember to BREATHE. We tend to breathe shallowly when we feel stressed. To counteract the oxygen deficit that occurs when you breathe too shallowly, stop for a moment, check in with yourself, and take some deep, cleansing breaths.
Put one hand on your chest, put the other hand on your stomach. Breathe deeply while keeping your eyes closed for a count of six to ten seconds. Feel the air as it enters into your diagram. Breathe out slowly through your mouth. Do this three times in succession, and feel the muscles in your shoulders and neck relax as the result of taking this mini time out.
Do this as often as needed throughout the day. The more stressful your job, the more often you can do it to help yourself maintain a sense of calm and equilibrium.
2. Engage your sense of smell
The sense of smell is the one that is the most connected to your emotions. What that means is that if you can change what you smell, you can change how you feel…in an instant. Some suggestions for smells that have been proven to have a relaxing benefit and are almost sure to soothe you when you are feeling stressed include lavender, green apple, coconut, peppermint, and chocolate. I personally enjoy the scent of vanilla.
You can create these scents right at your desk with potpourri pouches of dried flowers, using a variety of oils, or burning candles that exude your favorite scent. You can even purchase aromatherapy diffusers that emit the scents that help to calm you.
3. Look out the window
Researchers say that the color blue has a calming effect on us. When you are feeling stressed, stop for a moment and simply stare out your window for a moment or two. In addition to the naturally calming effect of the blue sky as you gaze at it, the image of gently floating clouds, according to some researchers, will remind your subconscious of the importance of staying “light.” You may also interpret the image of the infinite skies as a reminder of infinite possibilities. (If it’s a gray and rainy day, try wearing something blue, and stay away from the windows.)
4. Listen to music
Classical music can calm the mind and the spirit and may help you think more clearly. Playing music softly in the background may have a calming effect on you. On the other hand, if you feel down in the dumps, listen to your favorite upbeat song or group of songs for inspiration. They will work to pump you up and make you feel stronger and more confident…perhaps even more creative.
5. Take a walk
Sometimes, just getting away from the phone and walking away from the clutter on your desk for ten minutes can re-set your mood allowing you to come back feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle the mound of work waiting for you. If going outside isn’t possible, take a break long enough to walk down the hall and back. Stop by the water fountain. Check in on colleagues. Just catching up with them and taking a moment to get outside your own head can make a difference.
6. Go out for lunch
You need to take care of yourself which means pacing yourself throughout the day. Go out for your lunch break. Eat your bagged lunch in a nearby park if it is a pretty day. Sit outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Reconnect with friends or co-workers over your lunch break when you can. The work will still be there when you get back, but you will return to it feeling more refreshed and able to tackle the rest of your day.
About the author
Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT is a Certified Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach and is an ICC at CareerHMO. Visit her coaching page here.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CareerHMO coach. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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