Plus, sometimes taking a moment to exhale doesn’t come easy as sneaking away from your desk or the workload — even if for just a short second — isn’t always possible for many. Don’t fret: here are some great tips, provided by The Global Furniture Group, to help you relax at your desk, so you can be a little more productive, feel a bit more focused and catch your breath before you hit those spreadsheets again:
Move Your Muscles
Loosen up! Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can tighten your muscles. Get up, stretch and move around. Allowing yourself a chance to shake off the tension with short bursts of stretching can help you avoid sore muscles in the neck and shoulders. If you carry your tension in your jaw or face, a quick trip to the restroom to splash warm water on your face can feel invigorating. Or, if you can handle a little chill, take some ice cubes from the office fridge and rub them over your eyes for about 30 seconds. Staring at the computer screen all day can be very stressful, and this little trick can perk you up with the cold. Guaranteed: all the stress will melt away instantly!
Shoot and Score
Can you dunk? It may not be the most mature or ‘adult’ way of de-stressing but taking a moment to shoot some hoops with the trash bin in your cubicle is a great way to relieve stress. Think about it: it’s making a very short game of something as every day as throwing out a document or scrappaper, and gives you a chance to be whimsical at the office. We take our jobs so seriously, so any moment to be juvenile — especially when no one sees — keeps us from being too serious or strung-out by end-of-day deadlines.
Make Picasso Proud
You may have been underestimating your drawing skills until now, but grab a pen and doodle the biggest heart, stick figure or abstract shape you can think of! The chance to relax your brain with drawing can boost creativity and again, be very relaxing. Fun game, try drawing for 60 seconds without lifting your pen. Or, create a flipbook of a short animation. Unleash the artist in you and do your best to make yourself laugh.
Walk in the Woods
Nature offers a better connection than WiFi. Shake up your work ritual by putting your computer to sleep, ditching the phone and going for a walk. The key point is to get a little cardio, fresh air, and remove distractions such as texts, calls and social media for some quality you-time. Go to your happy place, or even think about things that make you happy: your next vacation, plans for the weekend, or even plans with friends. Get lost for a while in your head.
This is a personal favorite of mine. Take a plate, put five drops of water on it and drag your fingers through your water to make shapes, doodles and figures. The sensation of running your fingers through the water will be a tactile sensation and can be soothing in the same way drawing, or doodling can be. The big advantage is that if you’re writing at work all day, or typing on a hard keyboard, this gives your hands a bit of a break as it’s an activity that doesn’t require a lot of energy. Plus the ceramic of the plate and the wetness of the water can be soothing. It’s a short exercise, but with tremendous calming effects.
Breathing exercises can be easily overlooked, but they will be the most effective way to relax. Sit upright in your chair, put your computer to sleep, clear all distractions and close your eyes. Inhale slowly, hold your breath till the count of 4 and then exhale gradually. You should be able to feel the calming effects of taking deep, and concentrated breaths almost immediately. Even 5 minutes of deep breathing every few hours can work wonders for relieving stress, reducing tension, and over time, improve mental health.
Have an office friend that always knows how to make you giggle? We are aware that laughter is the best medicine, but we forget that sometimes we don’t need to go too far to find someone to crack a smile with. Grab a glass of water or tea to hydrate, but then pay a visit to your office mate. Chat and find a moment to smile at each other. If you’re a lone wolf at the office, pull up YouTube on your smartphone and search for the latest, funny viral video to take your mind off work. It might be only 4 minutes, but it’s enough to remember there’s plenty of funny to keep the daylight and easy.
Try Office Yoga
While a downwards dog pose might be a little too obvious (even in the privacy of your office), there are various small yoga techniques and poses aimed at relaxing tense muscles of the neck and shoulders, eyes, ears, etc. Yoga stimulates blood circulation in the body, rejuvenates senses and eases those muscles — so get those shoulders shrugging!
Admire a painting
Art is known to be very relaxing given its beauty. How often do you look at the pictures on your office wall? Perhaps you just glance at them while moving around, or you only consider them as props to give the office character. Next time, slow down. Look at them, or even admire them, more carefully. The texture, colors, and patterns can make for excellent mental relaxation.
When was the last time you didn’t do anything? We are so used to being busy that ‘doing nothing’ almost sounds like a luxury. This may seem super easy, but believe me, it is one of the toughest things we can accomplish. For a few minutes at your desk, try doing nothing physically as well as mentally. No thoughts on deadlines, but just a moment to breathe and recognize your body is present and you exist.
Stress management does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. Most of these tricks focus on ways to just take a moment — even five minutes — to give yourself a new perspective or think about things you look forward to in the coming future. Learning to relax is the best way to deal with daily stressful situations, and can be very rewarding to your work output, as well. Which tip will you try first?