With remote work, children, lockdown restrictions and our own mental health, it can get pretty difficult to cope with the everyday stress we are subjected to. Perhaps you find it difficult to concentrate at work, maybe you’ve had sleepless nights, or maybe your headaches just don’t leave you alone.
These may be warning signs that you might not be prioritising yourself as best you can. But, we’ve got your back. Here are some office-approved stress-relieving activities that will calm your mind and relax your body.
#1 Breathe deeply
Relieving stress is all about relaxing your mind. And one of the best ways to relax your mind is to do some deep breathing. Close your eyes, concentrate on relaxing your body while you inhale and then exhale. Deep breathing slows us down in a good way, gets our heart rate back to normal, increases the supply of oxygen to our brain, and leads us to a calm state.
#2 Laugh it out
Yes, you heard us right. Laugh it out, even if it is forced. A good chuckle can benefit your heart health tremendously. When you laugh, your heart rate increases, and you take many deep breaths. This means that more oxygenated blood is circulated through your body – improving circulation and soothing any stress that you may have. Read a joke, scroll through memes or watch funny cat videos – trust us, it will help!
#3 Treat yourself to the right kind of snacks
We all love snacking on things during the day. But our choices may not always prove to be beneficial for our health. What if we told you that there are snacks out there that not only are wholly delicious but also lift your mood? Dark chocolate has been known to decrease the stress-related hormone, and foods like blueberries and yoghurt can give your blood sugar a boost and improve your overall energy!
#4 Look through old photos
Our family, friends and pets make us happy. But did you know that pictures of them could have an excellent effect on our moods too? Looking at photos of people and events that you remember fondly are proven to help reduce anxiety and stress. When we are stressed or anxious, we question our safety and doubt if we’re going to be okay. These snapshots of our loved ones act as a reminder that we are loved and cared for. You can also call a friend and reminisce about those days together.
#5 Sleep well
Only 20% of Irish adults think that they are getting enough sleep. Adding to this worrying statistic, being stressed just increases your chances of not getting the right amount of rest every night. Being well-rested is crucial to our physical and mental health. If you feel like your mind is hopping off at 100 kilometres an hour, pay attention to your evening habits. Start by switching off on time, avoiding caffeine after 7 pm, drawing a warm bath or meditating right before bed.
#6 Do some desk yoga
This one is a no brainer – exercise is great when you want to clear your head. But did you know that walking or stretching can have the same effect? Movement, in general, can get your endorphins flowing and help you feel refreshed. You don’t even have to own a yoga mat. Performing stretches from your desk or even going for a simple walk around your house can be incredibly soothing.
#7 Take a look outside
Taking a walk outside and being one with nature is probably the best way to reduce and even eliminate feelings of stress. But with lockdown restrictions, we might not be able to do this. Open your windows when you wake up in the morning and take a look at the sky. Take a few deep breaths while you’re at it, and you’ll see how you feel better instantly.
#8 Challenge your brain
Our focus is to get the focus of our mind off our stressors. What better way to do it than giving it a problem to solve? When your brain is stressing about something, it keeps spinning, trying to overcome this problem. Fun tasks like a word game, sudoku or a puzzle is a great way to engage your mind so that when you’re finally done solving the puzzle, you will be in a better position to deal with your problem and see it clearly.
#9 Clean your office desk
If your stressor is more mental than physical, you might feel your mind looping around itself. The best way to combat this experience is to give yourself a discrete task like organising your space. The average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. So why not start by cleaning out an area that you spend upwards of 8 hours in? Turn off your laptop and remove any external devices like pen drives and SD cards. Wear disposable gloves, dampen your microfiber cloth with an alcohol-based disinfectant and wipe down your gadgets. Do not allow any moisture to get into the keyboard, speakers, or USB ports, as this can damage your laptop. Dispose of the gloves in the bin and wash your hand with soap for 20 seconds. Simple and very comforting!
#10 Take one thing at a time
We know that this particular tip is easier said than done, but it’s an important one. Instead of sitting and getting sucked into the downward spiral of all the things that stress you out, grab your notepad and make a list of the things you would like to accomplish today. Then focus on one thing at a time, strike it off your to-do list and move on to the next task.