Impending deadlines, increased workloads and demanding managers are just a few of the variables that can start to make you feel overwhelmed with responsibilities throughout your workday. The key to success in these types of situations is knowing how to manage this stress and not let it negatively affect you. We at Murray Resources, a leading Houston recruitment firm, have compiled a list of 5 techniques to help you relax and unwind at work.
1. Remember to Breathe
Studies show that when we are stressed or anxious, we tend to take shorter breaths. While it may not sound like a big deal at first, did you know that this irregular pattern of breathing can lead to light-headedness or headaches? Deep breathing is an excellent technique for calming the nerves and clearing the mind. Here’s how to do it:
- In order to take long, deep breaths that fill your lungs with air, allow your diaphragm to push out and down as you breathe in slowly. As you exhale, pull your diaphragm in slightly.
- Inhale through your nose for a slow five count, and exhale through your mouth for a slow five count. With each exhale, envision all of your tension, stress, and negative energy leaving your body.
- Continue breathing in this fashion for one to two minutes.
- Repeat this process at least three times throughout your day, more frequently in times of heightened stress.
2. Listen to Classical Music
Studies have also shown that classical music and piano compositions can help people relax by engaging their brain in a different kind of analysis. By focusing on the intricacies and complexities woven throughout a piece, the mind works to place and predict each note, while you can let your other worries dissipate. If classical music isn’t to your liking, there are a number of other soothing styles of music that can help to lower your stress levels through the same process of mental distraction: jam bands like Explosions in the Sky compose lyricless ephemeral music; instrumental cuts of bluesy electric guitar riffs from Eric Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughn can be relaxing; there are even soothing electronic pieces in genres like trance or dubstep that can help to ease your stress levels. Rather than starting your day listening to the morning news in your car, try listening to the relaxing music of your choice instead. You can even bring your iPod to work and listen to a track or two on your lunch break.
3. Massage Your Neck
Mounting stress can manifest itself in the form of tense muscles in the neck and shoulders, leading to headaches and general discomfort. Counteract these negative side-effects by stretching and massaging your neck and upper back muscles while at your desk. At least three times a day, use one or both of your hands to massage your neck muscles for about 60 seconds. If things are really tight, consider getting a massage every two weeks or so to relieve built-up tension.
4. Take a Walk
The professionals at our Houston recruitment firm will tell you that this is one of the best ways to relax in the middle of a stressful workday. Spending hours on end sitting in the same position staring at a computer screen is neither healthy nor productive. When you have the chance to take a break or go to lunch, go for a brief walk (music optional) to clear your mind. If possible, get outside for some fresh air. Going for a leisurely stroll helps to relax muscle tension and get your blood pumping, making you feel more alert and energized.
You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, right? Well, researchers agree that taking a moment to laugh is a great way to keep stress at bay. Take a break in your day to swap stories with your office neighbors about something funny that happened over the weekend. Or, if you’re feeling a little anti-social, the Internet is a great place to find a quick laugh. There are tons of websites that post funny images (Imgur and Buzzfeed) or satirical articles (The Onion and Cracked) that can lighten your mood, or you can always browse through the millions of cute kitten videos on YouTube!
Regardless of your position in a company, chances are you’re going to encounter stress at work. Our five tips offer ways to cope with that stress while maintaining your own productivity and mental focus, proving to yourself and those around you that you can perform under pressure.
Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?