How to de stress from work

21 relaxation techniques to relieve stress at work

While it may be common knowledge that work often causes stress, the ways to relieve that stress are less well known. Discover a few great ways to chill out here, as well as the importance of workplace stress management and practicing relaxation techniques.

If you’re currently feeling stressed, anxious, or simply wish to feel a little calmer, carry on reading for plenty of ways you can unwind and relieve stress at work.

Why stress relief at work is important

At Calmer, our aim is to support all types of worker - from entrepreneurs to freelancers, CEOs to start-up founders, small business teams to large co-working groups - in managing their mental health and wellbeing through preventative methods. And our work is much needed: stress is the leading cause of physical illness, with over 25 working days lost per person each year in the UK (according to Mental Health Foundation).

Relaxation in the workplace is one easy way to lower stress levels, reduce absenteeism, and improve productivity. While it may not be possible to always avoid stressful situations, finding solace can certainly ease the mental and emotional strain that may be felt.

21 relaxation techniques to relieve stress at work

Discover how to reduce your cortisol levels, and excess tension in your body, through these simple relaxation techniques that you can use at work.

Just like exercise, finding the right mental health exercises and relaxation activities can take a few tries. We’re all different, and enjoy different experiences, so give a few of these a go the next time you’re feeling stressed.

Many of these relaxation techniques can be done at your desk, or in your break out area, in a couple of minutes:

1. Read a book or magazine for a few minutes

Pick up your favourite fiction novel, glossy magazine, or get inspiration from the Calmer Community’s book club. Getting lost in another world can provide a welcome distraction from a stressful situation, and return you to a calmer state.

2. Make yourself a cup of tea

Step away from your work and make yourself a cup of tea - this could be followed by a tea meditation, or simply having a chat with a coworker who’s also on a tea break.

3. Focus on your breathing

For most of our day, we don’t think about breathing - our body breathes for us. However, we tend to breathe more shallowly when we don’t focus on breathing, so a simply focus on the intake of air, holding, and exhaling can bring more oxygen into our bodies, and calm our thoughts. For more, follow guided breathing techniques in the Calmer Community.

4. Run an errand away from your desk

If you have an errand that involves leaving your usual work space, now may be the time to do it. Taking a letter to the Post Office, or running a USB stick to another department, can provide a welcome distraction and a change of scenery for a few minutes. Plus, you’ll have ticked another item off your to-do list!

5. Pour yourself a glass of water

According to the NHS, we should all be drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. How many glasses have you had today? Drinking water will also improve your productivity and reduce your chance of developing a headache.

6. Get off social media

Unless your job entails working on social media, closing all social media apps can provide instant stress-relief. Studies have shown that regular social media usage can have a negative impact on an individual’s wellbeing, so a simple fix is to limit your time on social media when at work.

7. Take a walk around the block

If you work in a position where you can leave your workplace, take the opportunity to walk around the block once or twice. Walking - and being active generally - can improve your mood, and boost your mental wellbeing.

8. Look for a local exercise class or gym

Similarly, you could take a few minutes to find a local exercise class or gym to try out. You could also explore the range of online classes that are available, if you prefer a home workout. Adults are encouraged to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week to stay in good health, and this can reduce your stress levels too.

9. Practice mindfulness at work

With bluechip companies like Google and Facebook rolling our mindfulness schemes for their employees, it’s clear that practicing mindfulness at work can improve how you feel, and boost your productivity too.

10. Doodle for a few minutes

If you have a pen and paper handy, doodling can provide a welcome distraction from your current situation, and give you a different activity to focus on. The pleasure gained from doodling can reduce your stress levels, and enable you to take a different approach when you return to working.

11. Listen to your favourite song

A 2013 study found that listening to music reduced the stress levels in participants, and in fact it’s quite easy to feel that same effect when listening to your favourite songs. Give yourself a moment away from your desk and enjoy listening to relax.

12. Get to know your stress

Stress manifests itself differently in each of us, so it may be worth reading up on stress and how to manage it effectively. The simple act of understanding how you feel, and how to cope, can provide welcome relief.

13. Meditate for a minute

Meditating can provide a moment of solace within a busy work day. Join the Calmer Community to receive our One Mindful Minute newsletters, and get a meditation prompt straight to your inbox each week.

14. Recall a previous holiday or peaceful place

Similar to meditating, try remembering a previously relaxing moment or place. This could be a holiday, your comfy armchair at home, or even curling up with your pet. Even the act of recalling a distant, peaceful memory can help relieve tension and stress.

15. Use a relaxation spray or rollerball

The nose and memory are closely linked, so using a relaxation spray or rollerball can help you to create a pattern of mindful moments, and you’ll instantly feel a little bit better each time you smell that familiar scent.

16. Make your own self-care plan

While you might not be able to sneak away from work to run yourself a bubble bath, creating a self-care plan can give you the tools to get through stressful experiences at work, and reward yourself too.

17. Get inspiration from the This is Calmer book

Have a thumb through the This is Calmer book to find inspiration and courage in your work and life.

18. Talk about mental health

If you’re open to it, try talking about mental health with a coworker. Sharing how you feel can provide relief, and also create an open culture that enables everyone to express how they feel and improve on it collectively.

19. Join the Reignite Project

If you find yourself feeling stressed or close to burnout regularly, sign up for free to The Reignite Project. This is a Calmer-led project, created to support 600,000 entrepreneurs and business teams in reducing stress and burnout by 2023.

20. Book a massage or spa treatment

While it may seem a little indulgent, a massage or trip to the spa can provide welcome relief and relaxation in the mind and body.

21. Practice yoga - at your desk

No matter your flexibility, you could take a few minutes to try practicing yoga at your desk and see the benefits in reduced physical and mental tension.

Discover more tips with Calmer

Explore our range of new Mindfulness Ecourses to inspire good mental health in all aspects of your life. Choose from Sleep, Stress Relief, Daily Kindness or Daily Mindfulness and enjoy a collection of audio meditations, breathwork and movement videos, book recommendations and more.

14 Ways to Manage Work Stress and Avoid Burnout

Work-related stress can get the best of us all. Emails, Slack messages, phones ringing off the hook, your co-worker dropping by for an impromptu meeting — it’s enough to make anyone frazzled.

Feeling some tension is normal, especially if you’re facing a looming deadline or challenging assignment. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can end up affecting both your physical and emotional well-being.

Experiencing work strain is unavoidable — even if you love what you do — but there are steps you can take to keep job stress to a minimum.

This might sound overly simple, but it’s easy to underestimate how much stress effects you. Take note if you find yourself emotionally exhausted and pessimistic by the end of the day.

Long-term exposure to unmanaged stress can take a toll on your body and mental health, and recent research suggests a potential link between work-related burnout and depression and anxiety.

Signs of stress

Here’s a look at some of the subtler signs of stress:

  • low energy or fatigue
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • changes in appetite
  • digestive issues
  • rapid heart rate
  • sweating
  • low self-esteem
  • loss of sex drive
  • frequent illnesses

Identifying and recording stressful situations can help you understand what’s bothering you. Some of these can be subtle sources of tension, such as an uncomfortable workspace or a long commute.

Keep a journal for 1 week to track your stress triggers and your reactions to them. Make sure to include the people, places, and events that gave you a physical, mental, or emotional response.

As you write, ask yourself:

  • How did this make me feel? (Afraid, angry, hurt?)
  • What was my reaction? (Did I visit the vending machine afterward or go for a walk?)
  • What are some ways of resolving it? (How can I find solutions to this stressor?)

Taking even a few minutes of personal time during a busy day can help prevent burnout.

Listening to an interesting podcast in between meetings or watching a funny Youtube video can give you relaxing pauses throughout the day.

It’s also important to take breaks from thinking about your job by not checking work-related emails on your time off or disconnecting from your phone in the evenings.

Read about more ways to recharge.

Sometimes, feeling overwhelmed by work comes down to how organized you are. Try setting up a priority list at the beginning of your work week by preparing tasks and ranking them according to importance.

You can also beat procrastination by setting aside specific time blocks for deep concentration work.

Being available around the clock will easily burn you out. It’s important to create clear boundaries between your work and home life to help you avoid potential stress.

Part of this means setting aside time for socializing and establishing rules for when you’ll check emails or take phone calls.

When you’ve experienced worry and chronic stress for an extended period of time, your mind may tend to jump to conclusions and read into every situation with a negative lens.

For example, if your boss doesn’t say hi to you first thing in the morning, you might react thinking “they’re mad at me.”

Instead of making automatic judgements, try distancing yourself from your negative thoughts and simply observe.

Keep in touch with trusted friends and family members to help cope with stressful work situations.

If you’re struggling with an especially challenging work week, try asking parent friends if they can help out with carpooling your kids to school on certain days.

Having people you can rely on during the tough times can alleviate some of the built-up tension.

Setting aside time for self-care is a must if you regularly find yourself feeling overwhelmed by work. This means prioritizing sleep, setting aside time for fun, and making sure you’re eating throughout the day.

Feel like you don’t have the time? Keep in mind that you’ll likely be able to tackle work issues more effectively when your core needs are being met.

Purposefully slowing down and being conscious of your surroundings can keep you relaxed throughout the week. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness all work to calm your anxiety.

Start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on being present and enjoying a simple activity — whether that’s a short walk around the park or appreciating a meal at your desk.

Make it a habit

Here are a few other ways to build mindfulness into your daily routine:

  • Pause for a few moments before starting your workday and set your intention.
  • Download a meditation app you can use when feeling excessive pressure at work or during your commute.
  • Schedule in a 5-minute break to try breathing exercises.

Workplace conflict can take a major toll on your emotional well-being. Try to avoid participating in gossipy situations.

If you know that one of your colleagues is especially prone to gossip, find a way to spend less time with them or steer the conversation to safer topics.

Some other strategies for staying out of the fray include:

  • emphasizing the positive (“Tom has been juggling a lot lately and handling it really well.”)
  • ignoring the conversation and changing the subject to something unrelated
  • walking away (“Sorry, I have a huge deadline due after lunch and can’t stay and chat.”)

If you need to get that presentation just right or find yourself working extra hours perfecting a report you finished days ago, it may be time to take a step back and reflect.

While perfectionism has some positive benefits, it can also be highly stressful and lead to burnout.

Try to keep your high standards in check by focusing on the effort you put into a project and not personalizing failure when you make a mistake.

Being able to disconnect or “switch off” from responsibilities and job-related activities can help you relax and unwind like no other.

You don’t have to jet set across the world, either. A work-free staycation or trip a few hours out of town can still help you reset.

Getting support from your boss can significantly alleviate feelings of burnout.

Set up a quiet time to talk with them and calmly discuss feeling overwhelmed by challenging tasks. Approach the conversation from a place of problem solving, rather than listing out complaints.

For example, you could say that you want to revisit what’s expected of you outside of working hours because things feel a bit overwhelming right now. The point is to find a resolution that helps reduce strain.

If this task sounds daunting or you don’t have a good relationship with your boss, consider reaching out to someone in your company’s human resources department (if available). They can help you navigate the conversation and offer troubleshooting tips.

You don’t need to have a mental health condition to try therapy. Feeling overwhelmed at work is a perfectly valid reason to reach out for additional help and support.

Working with a therapist can help you better identify the sources of your work stress and help you come up with ways to better navigate them. They can also help you develop strategies for decompressing and taking care of yourself.

Not sure where to start? Our guide to therapy for every budget can help.

13 Ways to Quickly Relieve Stress and Increase Productivity in the Workplace

Even if you love your job, you probably feel like a lemon from time to time. New messages are pouring into your inbox, managers and colleagues are demanding an account from you, you are forced to search for the necessary information on the network, and at the same time, even more important and urgent matters are constantly being found. Even the level of light and air temperature in the office can become sources of additional stress. All these factors overlap, and now you are already suffering from a headache, seizing anxiety and tossing and turning from side to side at night, unable to sleep.

But no matter how easily stress builds up during the day, you can just as easily resist it from the comfort of your desk. Try these 13 ways to help reduce stress, improve your mood, and increase productivity at work.

1. Write down your concerns

Whether you're anxious about preparing an important presentation or the results of a future project, simply writing down your concerns can help reduce stress and improve productivity. Worrying about an evolving situation impairs short-term memory by draining your brain's "processor" power. By writing down problems, you stop replaying them over and over again in your head and identify the true sources of stress. As a result, your short-term memory resources will be freed up, and you will be able to perform more efficiently when the need arises.

2. Watch funny videos

Laughter not only helps to unwind and clears the mind, but also reduces the stress response. It reduces blood pressure and pulse rate, improves blood circulation, relaxes muscles and promotes the production of endorphins. And it not only helps fight stress, but also enhances creativity and productivity.

3. Turn off the monitor for 10 minutes

Computer and smartphone monitors, TV screens attract our attention from the moment we wake up until we go to bed. The resulting computer vision syndrome leads to eye fatigue, headache and neck pain, nausea, and increased anxiety and depression. So try to switch off as often as possible - literally. Instead of checking out social media during your break or texting a friend, turn off your monitor, close your laptop, and let your eyes rest. Read a book or magazine, go for a walk (don't play Pokemon Go!) or make yourself a cup of coffee and chat with a colleague.

4. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This relaxation technique relieves muscle tension resulting from stress. You need to tense and then relax the main muscle groups for five seconds each. This will help slow your breathing and heart rate, stabilize your blood pressure, and help you relax.

5. Pet the dog (or go to a dog park)

Playing with your dog helps lower blood pressure, releases good mood hormones like oxytocin, and reduces the stress hormone cortisol. By the way, dogs are great listeners, so you can safely share your worries with them without fear that they will judge you.

6. Snack but don't


We are often advised not to stress eat, but sometimes you can treat yourself to a treat without harming your figure. In fact, a healthy snack contributes to a slight increase in blood sugar and, as a result, a good mood. The main thing is not to reach for a box of donuts, but to choose foods that have proven to be effective in combating stress, such as berries, nuts, dark chocolate and oatmeal. Also, do not forget to eat slowly, enjoying every bite, and not chew on the run.

7. Breathe deeply

You don't have to go to a yoga studio to experience the benefits of deep breathing, which can lower blood pressure, help you relax and calm your nervous system. Plus, it's a great way to relieve stress—quickly, efficiently, and discreetly, even in a crowded office. Just inhale for four counts and then exhale for four counts.

8. Listen to music

Music, especially classical music, is a powerful tool in dealing with stress, helping to lower heart rate, blood pressure and levels of harmful stress hormones. It also improves mood and self-esteem. (I offer for example my personal stress-relieving playlist. Share your playlists in the comments!)

9. Take up meditation

Recent studies have shown that a few minutes of meditation a day can have a significant impact on stress levels. What's more, meditation improves attention and mental performance, and even increases the density of gray matter in the brain. You can download a free meditation app like Calm, listen to meditation podcasts on iTunes, or watch YouTube videos to carve out a few moments of peace right at your desk.

10. Look out the window

Take a few minutes to just look out the window and mark. Admiring nature (real nature, not the picture on the monitor) helps to relax and slow down the heartbeat, and by dreaming, you unleash your creativity and can find an unexpected solution to the problem.

11. Remember what is important to you

Do you have a gratitude journal? Don't be too quick to dismiss the idea — keeping a gratitude journal reduced stress levels by 27% in a group of Stanford University students, and recent research from Yale and Columbia University found that using gratitude journals increased attention, receptivity, and energy, as well as boosting the immune system. system and reduce anxiety.

12. Call friends

When you communicate with a close friend, your body's production of the stress hormone cortisol decreases, and talking with a loved one can trigger the so-called "relaxation response". So the next time you're worried about signing a new client, call a friend or mom.

13. Take up a soothing hobby

Solve Sudoku, spend ten minutes knitting, read a chapter of a detective novel, take care of a bonsai plant - whatever your hobby, it helps you take your mind off work and focus on your favorite activity, which means it is an excellent opportunity to reduce anxiety and stress levels.

The all-in-one way to reduce stress

Instead of fighting stress, reduce it in any way possible by organizing your workflow. Try Wrike project management software to increase your productivity at work and get your projects done on time without stress.

10 ways to relieve stress at work and increase your productivity

FinExecutive Russia 2022-10-29

Even if you are lucky enough to find the job of your dreams, sometimes you feel like a squeezed lemon. An endless stream of incoming messages, a burning deadline and new tasks that require your attention unsettle you and cause stress. To cope with it, it is enough to slightly correct established habits ...

How to relieve stress and increase the productivity of your work? Believe me, it is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance. We bring to your attention 10 ways from which you can choose the most effective for you.

  1. Uninstall an app that distracts you too much. If you're having trouble reducing your to-do list, try reducing the time you spend playing games or browsing social media feeds. This takes not only your time, but also the strength and energy that you can spend more productively. Remove this application from your smartphone for at least a week and you will see how your life will change.
  2. Write down your problem. Whatever your concern, this simple step can help you reduce stress and increase productivity. By writing down the problem, you stop constantly scrolling through it in your head. By doing this, you free up your short-term memory and begin to act more efficiently.
  3. Watch a short positive video. Laughter and positive emotions help distract from current problems and reduce tension in any stressful situation. In addition, they enhance creativity and increase your personal productivity. Even after a short relaxation, you will feel a surge of vivacity.
  4. Turn off your computer and disconnect your smartphone. Gadget screens constantly grab your attention. The result is computer vision syndrome, which causes headaches, eye fatigue, and exacerbates depressive symptoms. So instead of spending your entire lunch break on social media and texting, turn off all electronic devices and give your eyes a rest. Sip a cup of aromatic tea, chat with a colleague or just take a walk.
  5. Drink more water. This is the simplest, but, nevertheless, a very effective way to increase working capacity. Make it a rule to always take water with you wherever you go. Have one bottle in your bag, a second in your car, and a third at your workspace.
  6. Snack but don't stress eat. Try to cope with a stressful situation without harm to your own figure. Nutritionists say that a healthy snack slightly raises blood sugar levels. In turn, this contributes to a good mood. Just don't confuse healthy eating with chips or donuts. Give preference to those products that have already proven themselves as an effective way to deal with stress. First of all, we are talking about dark chocolate, berries, nuts and oatmeal. Also remember that food should be chewed slowly, enjoying not only the taste, but also the process itself.
  7. Listen to your favorite track. Pleasant music is the most powerful means of dealing with overvoltage. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure, and inhibits the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. And your favorite melody cheers up and positively affects self-esteem.
  8. Meditate. Research shows that just a few minutes of meditation a day can significantly reduce stress levels in the body. In addition, spiritual practices improve mental abilities and help to concentrate on work processes. You can use a free app (such as Calm, Happify, Headspace, etc.) or watch meditation videos on YouTube. You won't need much time for this. In addition, simple exercises can be performed directly at the workplace.
  9. Call a loved one. Even a short conversation brings positive emotions and triggers your body's relaxation response. It reduces anxiety, relieves internal tension and increases the ability to withstand stress. You will feel a surge of energy and become more efficient.
  10. Spend a few minutes with your favorite hobby. This could be reading a detective story, knitting, doing crossword puzzles, or taking care of office plants. Choose an activity you enjoy that will help you relax and de-stress.

Do not fight stress, but organize your work processes correctly and reduce cortisol levels by all available means.

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