No matter where you work, office stress can occur when things get hectic. Whether it’s a looming deadline or a packed schedule, these daily issues can make you feel anxious and can hurt your productivity. Stress can also have a negative impact on your health, and it can even lead to substance abuse and addiction. While this stress is common, there are things you can do in the office to help lower your stress levels. From fun desk toys to office parties, there are creative ways to feel better and get through your day with less anxiety.
The Importance of Stress Relief
If you’re used to job-related stress you might not realize just how impactful it can be. Stress can impact your productivity in the office and lead to more stress and panic. More so, too much stress can cause weight gain, harm your sleeping habits, cause headaches, and even lead to anxiety disorders and depression. It’s important to combat stress whenever you can before it cripples your ability to work or worse impacts your health. To help battle back against stress consider these 10 creative ways to relieve stress at work.
Creative Ways to Relieve Stress at Work
Even if you have the type of job where your downtime is limited there are things you can do around your office or even right at your desk to help you get a little relief. Please note, some of these ideas might involve other people in your office so if you don’t have control over things like team outings or office parties, talk to your manager and suggest that some of these things be implemented to help battle stress in the whole office.
Games and Toys
Having little toys or desktop games at your desk can really help you relieve stress at work. For example, there is a miniature darts game that works with magnets that you can keep near your desk. When you’re feeling stressed and need a release, pick up the darts and toss them at the board. The aggressive force of the throw and the concentration it takes to hit the target can help clear your mind even if only for a few minutes.
You can also keep a small set of building blocks at your desk and focus on building something to relieve stress. There are also mini arcade games, small puzzles, re-usable bubble wrap sheets, and old-fashioned brain teaser books that can give you an entertaining break. If you are a manager, consider adding a larger table game, like a foosball table or pool table, for employees to use on their breaks to unwind.
Doing fun things around the office for special occasions can help keep morale up and work as a stress reliever during busy times. If it’s within your power, organize a holiday decorating contest and have everyone decorate their desks or cubicles offering a prize for the best one.
Or organize a simple ice cream party in the summer when working in the heat can cause too much stress. Scavenger hunts are another fun office activity that can keep spirits high and stress low. Hide a specific item in a different place each day and have everyone actively look for it during the day. They can return it for a small treat like a candy bar or can of soda.
Take Small Breaks
Stepping away from your work may not always be possible but it’s important to try to take a small break or two when you can. This allows you to collect yourself and gives your mind a chance to slow down. If your office has a break room, use it. Simply getting up from your desk and changing your environment can make you feel better.
Set an alarm for as little as a minute if you’re worried about losing track of time. Similarly, taking a few minutes to call a personal friend (not a co-worker) and talk about something else other than work can help you feel better and more refreshed.
Organize Team Outings
Getting out of the office as a team for a fun trip can relieve stress and help everyone bond. Suggest a group trip to a local baseball game or schedule an after-work happy hour get together. Going out with co-workers can help you vent frustrations to each other, too.
Hearing other employees’ work-related problems can help you feel less burdened because you realize that you’re not alone in your stress and frustration. When you’re back in the office the renewed feeling of comradery can help everyone be more positive and productive in the office. This by itself can decrease stress back in the workplace.
Dress up Your Office Space
Decorating your desk, office, or cubicle in bright colors or fun patterns can help keep your spirits high. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. You can buy colorful pens, use multi-colored sticky notes, or use notepads with interesting designs or pictures on them.
Having a photo or two hanging up can help keep you happy during the day, too. If you have a little more leeway with decorating your desk you can have a vase of fake flowers out to add some cheer to your space.
Stress Relief Gadgets
There are a lot of little handheld gadgets that you can keep in your desk drawer and pull out when you’re feeling stress build. Squeezable stress balls are a tried and true way to relieve stress without stopping what you’re doing. You can be on the phone or sitting in a meeting and squeeze the item to get some stress out of your body.
They can be found in funny shapes and designs which can bring you some laughs whenever you use them, too. There are even stress balls that connect via USB to your computer and simulate your movements. Similarly, meditation balls and scalp massagers are other gadgets that you can use to physically relieve stress at your desk.
Start Fun Office Challenges
Company challenges like weight loss challenges or walking challenges (who tracks the most steps) can be a great way to relieve some stress. You can create teams and have everyone track how much they walk with the winning team getting a prize. You can also start a fantasy sports league in your office. Focusing on any kind of friendly competition can help keep stress at bay since it takes your mind off of current tasks briefly and adds some levity to the office.
Listen to Music
Putting on a pair of headphones and turning on your favorite song can help you feel better instantly. Whether it’s soothing classical music or high-energy dance music that boosts your mood, music can really help decrease your stress level in a short amount of time. If music isn’t your thing you can try other audio clips like nature sounds (ocean waves, birds chirping, thunderstorms, etc.) which can also lower stress levels.
Draw or Color
Coloring books have recently become popular thanks to their ability to help lower stress levels. Keep one in your desk drawer along with a set of colored pencils or crayons and take it out whenever you need a breather. Similarly, doodling mindlessly or scribbling aggressively on a notepad can work by shifting your attention to something besides work.
Finally, old-fashioned relaxation techniques can help you lower your stress levels and help you feel better. Deep breathing exercises, ear massages, and stretching your limbs are all common ways to release tension in your body. You can also try looking away from your computer screen, phone, or tablet for a few minutes. Limiting the stimuli from those can help calm your mind. Sipping herbal tea is also a popular stress reliever.
Lowering your stress levels is important for your productivity, office morale, and your health. Finding simple tricks to calm yourself down will help you in the long run and make you feel better about going into the office day after day. Try out some of these methods the next time you feel anxious at work.