10 creative ways to reduce stress at work and feel healthier
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Experiencing stress at work is a common problem for many people, and it can have negative effects on both your physical and mental health.
Fortunately, there are plenty of creative ways to reduce stress at work while still getting the job done. From taking your lunch break to making time for self-care activities at home, here are some stress relief ideas you can use to stay productive and relaxed in the office.
5 stress relief activities at work
1. Decorate your workspace.
Since many people spend 40-plus hours every week at the office, it’s essential to have a workspace that helps you focus and stay relaxed.
Brightening up your workspace with soothing colors and a few personal items can create a stress-free work zone while greatly improving your mood.
Be imaginative and try decorating with:
- A few photos.
- A small plant or two.
- A colorful canvas.
- An inspiration board.
It's easy to get bogged down by the many responsibilities you have at work.
2. Organize your tasks.
Break down your workload into manageable chunks and focus on what needs to be done first by:
- Assessing when your projects are due.
- Creating a weekly to-do list.
- Blocking out time on your calendar to work on your tasks.
Having an organized plan for how you’re going to tackle your tasks can help give you some peace of mind.
3. Listen to music.
Whether you prefer classical or pop, soothing melodies or upbeat tunes, music can have a calming effect on the mind and body. In fact, studies show that listening to just 30 minutes of music a day can have a significant impact on reducing our stress and anxiety levels.
So the next time you’re working on a project at work, try to unwind by putting on your headphones and listening to your favorite artist or playlist.
4. Take a lunch break.
Carving out some time in the middle of the day to step away from your desk and enjoy a meal can do wonders for your stress levels.
There are many things you can do during your lunch break, including:
- Going for a walk.
- Reading a book.
- Running some errands.
- Grabbing coffee or food with your coworkers.
Taking a lunch break gives you a chance to recharge, whether you want to take some time to yourself or socialize with your peers.
5. Practice breathing techniques.
If you start to get overwhelmed at work, take some slow, deep breaths to help relax your muscles. Try:
- Inhaling through your nose.
- Holding your breath for a few seconds.
- Exhaling through your mouth.
Repeat these steps until you start to feel more calm.
5 stress relief activities at home
Make sure you’re taking time for yourself outside of the office, too. Doing so can help you decompress after work and feel more refreshed the next day.
6. Start journaling.
Incorporating journaling into your daily routine could be the key to reducing your stress both in and out of the office.
Not only does writing down our thoughts and feelings provide an outlet for processing our emotions, it also allows us to identify patterns and triggers that may be contributing to our stress levels.
7. Unplug from social media.
While social media can be a great way to connect with others, it can also cause unwanted stress and that feeling of missing out.
When you’re at home, consider setting a 30-minute time limit for scrolling through social media. This can help free up some mental space to focus on the present.
8. Create something.
Whether it be through art, food or music, finding a creative outlet can help reduce daily stress.
Being creative can look different for everyone, but some ideas include:
- Drawing a picture.
- Painting a canvas.
- Sculpting pottery.
- Knitting or crocheting.
- Scrapbooking photos.
- Building furniture.
- Cooking or baking.
- Playing an instrument.
9. Keep your mind busy.
If being creative isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to keep your mind busy and help you recharge for work the next day. Consider:
- Playing mind puzzles like crosswords or Soduku.
- Playing card games like Solitaire.
- Putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
- Reading a book.
Research has shown that regularly playing games can help reduce stress and boost productivity.
10. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
When you’re thinking about how to reduce stress at work, you may want to think about adding exercise into your daily routine. Studies have shown that even 30 minutes of exercise a day can improve your mood, reduce anxiety and increase cognitive function
Some stress-reducing fitness activities can include:
- Walking outside (take your dog with you if you have one!).
- Hiking on a nearby trail.
- Swimming at your local pool.
- Practicing yoga or pilates.
- Riding your bike.
- Participating in recreational sports.