Work-related stress is a very real and serious thing. According to a study by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 40% of workers reported their job “very or extremely stressful.” In a study conducted by Yale University, 29% of workers feel that they are “quite a bit or extremely stressed at work.”
Stress can lead to high blood pressure, depression, heart palpitations and other serious conditions. Below, we’ve documented some quick and easy ways to get you relaxing at the office, right at your desk.
Reorganize Your Setup
A messy desk leads to a messy life. If your desk is cluttered, get rid of it by adding in more filing cabinets and other organizational tools. Take a look at your workspace set up and see if there’s anything in its arrangement causing you unnecessary stress. Is your chair comfortable? Do your eyes strain due to the proximity of your computer screen? Do your wrists hurt from your keyboard? Is your phone too far away for you to easily reach it? If any of these things ring a bell, talk to your supervisor about rearranging or upgrading your workspace.
It’s an oldie, but it works. A stress ball or stress toy can give you the opportunity to release tension in your body through hands-on physical exertion. Keep it handy and nearby.
Change the Light
Amazingly, light can dramatically affect our day-to-day moods. If you have your own office, consider turning off the fluorescent lights and bringing in table and floor lamps that will project softer and more relaxing illumination. If you are in a shared space, place a few flameless flickering candles to set a mood, or invest in a small light box that mimics our natural sunlight.
Yoga at Your Desk
There’s no need to “downward dog” in front of your coworkers, but when you’re feeling overwhelmed, take some time to sit in your chair and practice some yoga breathing exercises. Restorative yoga breathing emphasizes pulling in your breath through your nose, from the diaphragm up, while exhaling through your mouth. Avoid moving your upper body or breathing in through your chest. With each breath try to lengthen your inhalation and exhalation.
Keep a Journal
Keep a small journal at your desk or on your computer. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, write down your immediate feelings. Make sure you are open and honest in your writings, but do keep the journal or computer file in a safe and protected place.
Talk to Someone
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your manager or fellow coworkers when you’re feeling stressed. Sometimes just a quick email or phone call to a trusted confidant is enough to relieve some of the tension.