Eight ways to de-stress at your desk
Advice by Health Assured CEO and workplace wellbeing expert David Price
We spend a lot of time at our desks, and don’t always have the opportunity to go for a long walk to reduce the stress that builds up during hard work. How can we try to de-stress a little, while staying in the same place? Here are some ways:
- Mindfulness breaks: the practice of living in the moment and experiencing your senses full, mindfulness is a great de-stressing tool—and you don’t have to move to use it. Sit, breathe, concentrate on your senses.
- Breathe: concentrating on your breathing, taking time to regulate the way you take in air, helps slow a racing mind and prepare you for tasks ahead.
- Take time away from the desk: ok, sometimes you do need to get away. Spending too much time at your desk doesn’t help when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Taking five minutes to go and get some tea, walk around the office or catch up with a co-worker can help. You don’t need to commit to running 10K at lunch in order to get the stress out—just moving about a little bit will do.
- Be creative: spend a little time doing something other than work. Obviously, not too much time, but breaking up tasks with something enjoyable helps. Origami, drawing, or building miniature models are great ways to use your hands and brain, and concentrate on something other than the stresses of the working day briefly.
- Decorate your desk: adding a personal touch—family photos, decorations and drawings—makes your desk a more pleasant place to be. Just make sure you don’t make it too cluttered. Speaking of which…
- De-clutter your desk: it’s impossible to work well when your desk is covered in seemingly random bits of paper and coffee cups. Clear your desk. Completely. Then work out the things you need to have at hand, and stick with those. When your desk is clearer, your mind will follow.
- Stretch: sitting for hours, hunched over your screen, stresses the body and mind. Take five minutes to stretch your arms and back, stand up and stretch your legs. You might feel a little conspicuous while doing it, but stretching will make your muscles feel a lot better. You’ll be able to relax—and that’s what de-stressing is about.
- Decaffeinate: drinking highly caffeinated drinks is a way to get a temporary boost and get things done, but too much caffeine is physically harmful. Cutting down on caffeine—or getting rid of it completely—goes a long way to reducing the stresses of the working day.