Best Stress Relievers in the Workplace
By Rachel Woods
Everyone can agree that work can be stressful at times. It takes a lot of energy and focus to go to work every day, meet deadlines, and produce satisfactory product. Plus, there is the added pressure to be a “model employee” and get caught up in the hyper competitive hyper achievers’ club. This is not realistic because everyone has a life outside of their job. There are many ways to find stress in the workplace, so now it is time to focus on how to relieve that stress in the busy office environment. One article recently discussed a company that installed a “cat library” where employees could “check-out” cats and kittens to play with at their desk for an hour. Clearly not every office can use this method, so here are a few other ways to relieve stress in the workplace.
It is important to note that one of the reasons humans are so stressed is because it is built into our genetics. Our minds and bodies are still locked in fight or flight response which means under stress we are mentally and physically preparing to run or fight. This can lead to health issues as well as interpersonal conflicts. When an employee becomes stressed in the workplace, it is hard to find a way to relieve those fight or flight instincts, so they need to find an outlet that can do that.
One of the best ways to handle stress in the workplace is to find time to take a walk. This could mean taking a lap around the floor, walking outside and around the block, or just going up and down the stairs. Anything that allows your body to walk away from the situation and be in “flight” mode. If a short walk is not enough, try going for a run during your lunch or jogging in the morning before work. Do anything to keep your body from feeling stuck.
The “fight” instinct can be even harder to deal with because no one wants to get in a fight with their coworkers or take the chance of snapping at their boss. When you feel the “fight” kick in, walk away from your desk and go find a quiet private place. This could be an abandoned conference room or the bathroom and do some pushups or boxing moves. Anything that that is physically stressful to your body.
To try and prevent stress before it starts to really affect you, get a stress ball for your desk or some silly putty. When you feel a bit an anxiety coming on, pull out your ball and start squeezing. This is a small enough item that you can pull it out in a meet or conference and no one will notice. Also buy some chamomile or other relaxing teas and leave a few bags in your desk. Caffeine will just increase any anxious feeling, so make yourself a cup of tea and try to relax.