Unless you are a yoga instructor, your job is stressful. It is a fact of daily life. Look around you and you will likely find coworkers staring blankly at the computer screens or holding their heads in their hands or better yet, curling up in the fetal position under their desks rocking back and forth and chewing on their hair. One of these people might be you. Before you pull a Milton on the place and run out with your Swingline, turn to some stress relieving techniques to help you get through your work day. After all, it sure beats arson charges.
If you lack the creativity to come up with techniques of your own, turn to the Internet and research stress relieving techniques. Finding a way to soothe your soul is possible, and we are happy to offer you a few tips to make getting through your work day that much more tolerable.
Go to your happy place
The imagination is a powerful tool. Want to go to the tropical islands or dream of holing up in an Irish pub? Blanket your cubicle with pictures of your dream vacation. It beats Dlibert or Cathy cartoon strips any day. If you find yourself wishing you were at any place but work, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and picture yourself on a beach sipping an ice cold Corona with lime. Granted, this plan could potentially backfire on you in the event realizing you are not in this amazing location only depresses and stresses you out more. This method only really works on those who are capable of dealing with reality, but it does work. So close your eyes and go to that happy place. Do not worry if your coworkers look at you like you are crazy. They are just jealous they are not in their happy places, too.
Coffee is your best friend
Coffee has often been called the nectar of the gods, and arguably it is. Sure, caffeine is considered a drug and is not always the best for everyone, but these are desperate times, calling for desperate measures. Most offices have a coffee machine of some sort, and if not and you have your own office, bring your own machine. The smell of that percolating goodness should be enough to take some of that stress off of your shoulders. Feel your shoulders relax and that tension disappear, even if momentarily, when you take that first sip. If you cannot stand the taste of coffee, find that non-alcoholic beverage of choice, whether that is Diet Coke, green tea, or Mountain Dew. Not only will that boost of caffeine increase your productivity, it will improve your mood for a short period of time. It might even take you to your happy place.
Talk a walk
Step away from the desk. I repeat, step away from the desk. Everyone is entitled to a break, and that includes you. Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to get rid of some of immediate stress. If you work in an area where you can actually go outside and take a nice stroll, do it. Fresh air does a body good, and they say Vitamin D is a good thing or at least that is what we are all told. Clear your mind, take a break and get a little exercise. We are not talking mall walker exercise, but it is better than being sedentary all day.
Work it out
Some employers even offer gym memberships for their employees if a gym is located on the premises. This amenity is most common in bigger cities and skyscraper-type offices. If you are one of the fortunate few, who have this luxury, take advantage of it. It could be the perfect way to start your day, get rid of some of that stress during lunch break, or end the day with a nice, aggressive run. No crying, though. However, if you work in a smaller environment, this does not mean you cannot get some form of exercise. Do it from home or get a gym membership. Find trails near your office, and take a jog after work. Exercise has been proven to improve your mood by boosting your endorphins; plus, it is a really good way to stay in shape.
Sometimes all you need to do is just breathe as Faith Hill says. Those short and fast breaths you are giving right now because of your stressful situation do not count. We are talking big, deep, belly breaths. Think yoga. This step could even be associated with going to your happy place if you would like. All you have to do is simply close your eyes, take a deep breath in, hold it for a second and slowly let it out. Do this a few times, and you will be amazed at how much better you will feel afterwards. Do not do it when you are in the middle of a conversation with your boss or coworker. Then you quite possibly will be considered crazy, and no one wants to be the office crazy person. Be sure you are alone first.
Let it all out
You see those car commercials all the time where someone is in their car, blasting loud music, and you cannot hear anything from outside the vehicle because the car blocks out noise so well. Whether these commercials are actually demonstrating real life has yet to be seen, but why not test it out? Take a brief break, walk to your car, sit down and just let out a scream as loud as you can. It might be wise to test this out at home with a friend standing outside your vehicle in the event your car does not insulate noise as well as others. You do not want someone calling security thinking that a person is being kidnapped or murdered in the parking lot. However, letting out that primal scream can be quite therapeutic. All of that pent up stress you feel inside is not good for mental or physical state so let it all out. It beats snapping in the office and going off on a coworker or even worse, your boss.
Tear it up
This one is a little different, but it works. Take a sheet of paper and just tear it into shreds. Granted, you should probably not doing this in front of coworkers, and do make sure that what you are tearing is not an important work-related document. One idea could even be to write down the things that are currently stressing you so that when you are tearing the paper, you are tearing up your worries. Does it work? Go get a piece of paper and give it a try. After all, it is company paper so you really are not losing any money, right?
Vent to yourself
One huge mistake people make when they experience work stress is to vent to coworkers. While it is fun to bash on the boss in the break room, you will be doing nothing but putting your career in jeopardy for several reasons. One, at least one person in that group will be a mole and will run straight to the person you are venting about and then you know what happens from there, especially if that person is your employer. Two, you do not want to become the Debbie Downer in the office. If all you do is complain around your coworkers and are constantly stressed out, you will soon find people just do not want to be around you. Complaining to friends and family is good in small doses, but even then you are running the risk of seeming like a negative person all the time. You do want friends, after all. So what is the solution? Pull a Doogie Howser and journal. Write out your feelings. If you have a personal laptop and do better typing, type them out. Do not, I repeat, do not type these feelings on your work computer. Nothing good will come from that. If you prefer to handwrite and have the urge to buy one of those cute little journals from the bookstore, then do that. The point is to write out your feelings. Get it out on paper so you do not lose it in front of the entire office. No one wants to see that.
Stress free is the way to be
Keep in mind that you are not receiving this advice from a medical professional. I am just someone who has experienced stress and has used some of these techniques to cope with the inevitable. Work is stressful. Life is stressful. It is all how you learn to deal with it that makes getting through the work day that much easier. If, at the end of the day, you need more than just simple techniques to handle your stress, it is always recommended you speak with a medical professional. For those of us who just need a good scream or to go to our happy places, take a deep breath and let it all out. After all, it is all going to be okay.