Midday Stress-Relief Tips, Tricks and Tools

We’ve all been there: an overflowing inbox, a major presentation looming, an unfortunate flub in need of rectifying, or a co-worker’s vacation somehow landing you in the role of juggling their work on top of your own. Workplaces are battle grounds for stress and, as science will tell you, it’s crucial for your health that you are armed and ready. Here are the latest trends to help you combat stress during your workday:
  1. De-stress Your Desk

Setting up an environment that brings you peace is a no-brainer. While clearing clutter may be an obvious way to set yourself up for success, there are a few additions to your space that can help with day-to-day stress. Flowers A recent study from the University of North Florida investigated the benefits of flowers and found: “People who lived with flowers in their homes for just a few days reported a significant decrease in their levels of stress and improvements in their moods.” Buddha Board Trade your old stress ball for this peaceful desk décor: “The Buddha Board is equipped with a bamboo brush and Japanese-style water tray/stand, to help users be able to create their artistic expression with a single brush stroke by 'painting' on the board with water and watching their creation come to life. The art will slowly disappear as the water evaporates, leaving the user with a clean slate and clear mind.” Essential Oils The benefits of aromatherapy are plenty and widespread, as our sense of smell has been proven to affect everything from our productivity to our sleep patterns. Consider storing a small tincture of the following stress-relieving oils: lavender, bergamot, jasmine, ylang ylang, and orange. A slight dab or inhale can instantly bring you a sense of calm.
  1. Create an Emergency Procedure

Causes of stress are sometimes unexpected or sudden. Crafting a step-by-step tactic for how to deal in those moments is like having a well-planned fire escape route. These experts offer their top stress-busting techniques: CEO of Peerfit Ed Buckley recommends, “Get up, grab a cold glass of water and go on a 5-minute walk. Taking these actions will change your disposition and stress more than almost anything you can do when dealing with midday stress.” Similarly, Todd Whitthorne, Dallas-based health and wellness speaker and author notes, “The quickest and easiest solution is to step away. Change your immediate environment by going for a walk (inside or outside), connecting with a trusted colleague, listening to music, or grabbing a coffee or lunch. Simply heading to a breakroom and doing some deep breathing and simple stretching will also help instantly change your physiology. Intentionally focusing on what brings you the most joy will also lessen the stress and help prioritize what’s important.
  1. Tote a Tranquil Tool-kit

Sometimes stress hits while stuck in rush hour traffic or at a far-off conference. For on-the-go relaxation, download the following to your device: A meditation app Learn how to meditate in the palm of your hand, the award-winning app Headspace “is backed by science and is one of the only meditation apps committed to advancing the field of mindfulness meditation through clinically-validated research on [the] product. In 19 published studies… Headspace has been shown to have favorable outcomes of interventions including reduced stress, improved focus, increased compassion and decreased aggression.” A peaceful playlist While listening to music you enjoy is a useful stress-relief tactic, consider adding in songs specifically designed for relaxation such as the world’s most relaxing song by British band Marconi Union, “Weightless.” The band actually collaborated with sound therapists to create the song which, according to a study by Mindlab International, led to a 65 percent reduction in participants' overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates.
  1. Add Relaxation to Your Work Routine

Making time for yourself and your mental health at work is critical. That way you associate the office with more than causes of stress, and you reap the long-term effects of these great anxiety-fighters. Seek out these opportunities or establish them at your workplace: Workout with your co-workers Buckley advises, “I know that being able to go to different fitness experiences with your co-workers is one of the most impactful things you can do for both your physical, mental and emotional health, which ultimately reduces stress along the way.” Office yoga classes or swapping out a long lunch break for a Zumba class with the team can work wonders for decreasing stress. Midday massages Sometimes the best option is to bring in the professionals. According to Boston Chair Massage, “Massages at work are a win-win for employers and employees, as many companies with massage programs report the following: an increase in employee productivity and accuracy, an increase in employee loyalty, morale and retention, an improvement in overall health and ability to manage stress, and a higher job satisfaction level that has led to higher employee retention.”