8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Feel Less Stressed at Work
Sure, work environments are often fast-paced and can contribute to anxiety. But there are lots of things you can do to make your time spent at work more relaxing and healthful. Here are eight things you can do today to make your work a less stressful place!
Weather permitting, break times can be used for walking outside, perhaps while listening to soothing music or nature sounds through earphones. My favourite spot in Halifax? The Public Gardens! Of course, it helps that my office is two blocks away from the gardens. I love taking a few meditative minutes there. Is there green space near your work that you can enjoy at break time?
At work and at home I recommend taking several deep-breathing micro-breaks throughout the day, every hour if possible. Just close your eyes for a moment and breathe using the 7-11 breathing technique. If you’re not familiar with 7-11 breathing, get in touch with me for a free lesson!
Wear shoes that you can slip off while at your desk. Or keep some very comfortable slippers to wear at work. Natural leather moccasins are my favourite. Millbrook Cultural and Heritage Centre (formerly called Glooscap) has a good variety of Canadian hand-made moccasins for sale.
Indoor environments tend to be low in oxygen and high in volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde. A plant at your desk can help clean the air and provide oxygen. Golden Pothos is an easy-care genus that tolerates artificial light well; it’s one of the best oxygen producers tested by NASA for the International Space Station. These are what I use to naturally oxygenate the air in the relaxation centre.
De-clutter your work space, including your drawers and briefcase. Studies at UCLA and Princeton University have suggested that clutter can raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol and can also negatively affect your focus and your productivity.
Here’s a clever aromatherapy trick. Put a drop of high-quality lavender essential oil on a paper towel and give your phone handset a wipe with it. Phone conversations are often a source of stress, but lavender has a calming effect without being too overpowering. Seafoam Lavender Farms (at the Seaport Farmer’s Market) is a good source for quality lavender oil.
If you are in front of a computer screen all day, avert your eyes once each minute and focus on something in the distance.
If you have control over it, avoid listening to the radio or TV at work. Bring your own music that doesn’t have commercials or newscasts (both of which can have a negative effect on mood). Baroque music has been shown to be good for boosting attention and memory. Nature recordings can also create a relaxing ambience at work.
Author: Colin Stone
Professional Relaxation Therapist (MASC, BSYA) and founder of the Relaxation Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Using guided imagery, therapeutic music and aromatherapy to relieve stress in the most relaxing room on earth!