A More Peaceful Workspace: Ten Ways to De-Stress at Work

On 07.05.13, In News, by Blake Houser

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 75% of all doctor visits are attributable to stress related illnesses. Stressors related to our jobs, life as a teenager, financial problems, relationship difficulties, and our dietary choices are causing thousands of stress related illnesses every day. Understanding the effects of stress on your body, and effective ways to manage your daily stress are both very important.

Effective stress management at work is not only important because of the amount of time we spend on the job each day it’s also a way that we can reduce and eliminate stress that can carry over into other areas of our everyday lives away from work. Here are ten simple methods that anyone can use to reduce and eliminate stress at work before problems arise.

Manage Muscle Tension Regularly:

Generally, most workdays are filled with problems, pressures, and demands, with little time to think about incorporating new found relaxation skills. Stress builds and much of that stress takes the form of tension in your muscles.

Stiff neck and shoulders, or lower back pain are common complaints for all age groups and can be instantly reduced or eliminated by reducing stress and anxiety.  Muscle tension is probably the cause of all stress headaches.

Drain that tension before it becomes more of a problem by trying some relaxed breathing.

Move Around:

Get out of your chair and walk around the office. Get water or make copies to reduce muscle stiffness and help circulation throughout your body. Take a quick walk outside of your office building during your lunch break.  Stand up while talking on the phone, and if you have a cordless model, walk around to use different sets of muscles to interrupt tension buildup.

 Employ Simple Stretching Exercises:

Often, our workdays are characterized by long periods of sitting at a desk or stuck in a cramped work area, interrupted only by trips to the coffee or copy machine. Other folks are on their feet all day. In either case, stretching is a great way of releasing any tension that has accumulated in your muscles.

Use Sound to Calm Yourself:

Listening to calming music at your work station can help reduce tension and stress. If possible, have a radio, tape or CD player, and some appropriate music to listen to during the day in order to promote relaxation. Classical music, especially Bach and Mozart, works nicely. If these music genres are not your thing, try one of the “lite” radio stations. Just keep the volume down, or use a headset.

Use Adequate Light:

Although you have little control over the lighting in your work place, adequate lighting can reduce eyestrain and make your environment a more pleasant place to work. Go for soft and indirect lighting, and utilize a desk lamp to enhance the light at your desk. Just make sure that you have enough light.

Create Visual Resting Spots:

Give your eyes — and your mind — a break with photos, artwork, or a plant. At regular intervals, look away from your computer screen or paperwork and focus on a distant object to “stretch your eyes.” You can also create stress relief in your office by utilizing a few tricks. For example:

Organize your desk:

Studies have shown that a neat desk can help reduce stress. The source of many types of stress stems from a feeling of being out of control, of being overwhelmed. If your work area looks like a tornado hit it, tension and stress will grow. And when you can’t find the files or documents you need, your stress level soars even higher. By organizing your workspace, you get a sense that there is some order in all the chaos.

 Utilize Ergonomics:

Tension and stress can build for other reasons besides workspace disorganization. The human body was not designed to sit and work in one place for long periods of time. When sitting in a stationary position for long periods of time, your muscle groups contract. The blood flow to these muscles may become reduced, resulting in oxygen-deprived muscles. This can lead to pain, strain, muscle aches, and fatigue.

Adequate Nutrition is Important:

What you eat while at work can make a big difference in your stress level. Eating the wrong foods, or even eating the right foods, but in the wrong amounts, and/or at the wrong times can make it harder for you to cope with the stress in your life.

When you eat poorly, your body doesn’t work as efficiently as it should. This means that you’re not in the best position to handle all the pressures and demands you must face at work.

Work it out:

One of the better things to do on your lunch break is to do some low impact exercise. Taking a brisk walk, doing some stretching exercises, or other aerobic activity will help reduce tension and stress.

Blake Houser

Client Relations Manager at The Wells & Drew Companies
About the author:
Blake Houser is Client Relations Manager at Wells & Drew. In addition, he is the third generation in this family-owned speciality printing business.