Summary: Having a toolbox with healthy ways to tackle stress when the pressure builds up is a great way to make sure your workweek isn’t miserable. Here are six different ways to manage stress in just five minutes during the workday.
Everyone gets stressed at work sometimes. There is no shame in feeling under pressure from upcoming deadlines, demanding situations, and disruptions to workflow. That’s why knowing how to destress is such an essential tool for your work performance and well-being. Small boosts to help you anchor yourself and build resilience can make a huge difference in how your day goes. They may even help you turn them around completely and end on a high note. So try out these tips below the next time you’re stressed and see which works best!
5 Minute Meditation
Most people have an opinion one way or the other about meditation, but it’s been proven repeatedly as a great tool to increase well-being. Guided meditations can be a great way to focus your mind on peace, and you can find ones like this that are only 5 minutes long. This will be hard to do if you don’t have headphones or somewhere you can listen quietly without disturbing your colleagues. Another option is to encourage your coworkers to join you during an appropriate time of day to help bring stress relief to the whole department!
Take a Walk
Get out of your head by moving your body. This will be extra helpful if you can get outside and enjoy the fresh air. The goal of this walk isn’t fitness or to get your steps in. Instead, wander without a destination and let your mind explore the world around you. You can even combine this tip with the last one and do a walking meditation. The big point here is to ensure you aren’t turning a nice walk into stressful pacing while you ruminate on the problems. It’s supposed to be a break, so make sure you’re actually taking one!
Take an “Active Break”
Sometimes it’s harder to go from full steam ahead to a gentle rest, especially if you only have a short period. If you struggle with calming your thoughts, try focusing that energy elsewhere instead. Avoid the temptation to work on something related to your stress or to grab your phone and start scrolling. Instead, find a neutral task, such as tidying your desk, and work on that for 5 minutes. Try to find something that is not digital so that you are engaging your body and working hard to focus for that entire time. You may not feel as rested as you would have from taking a quiet break, but working on something you have more control over can help boost your mindset for the other things that feel a little overwhelming.
Connect With Your Colleagues
This is even better if those around you are also feeling pressured. Find a work buddy on campus and see if they have time to chat for a moment. The important thing to remember here is that this is not a vent session for discussing the things that are stressing you out. That certainly won’t help you detach and destress; it will keep you focused on the problems at hand, and you and your conversation partner will likely walk away from the interaction feeling worse than before. Instead, try to chat about topics that you both find fun and engaging. Get to know each other a little better to boost your relationship. Try ending on a high note of encouragement or with a compliment. A little friendliness can go a long way when we are struggling.
Check-in with Your Body
When we get tunnel vision at work, we disconnect from our physical needs. Take a moment to check in with your body. Do you need a snack or a restroom break? When was the last time you stretched (especially your wrists and neck if you work at a computer all day)? Are you hydrated? Take care of your body to ensure you don’t fall apart in the middle of the workday or immediately crash when you get home. You may even find that one of your unmet physical needs made your situation much harder to deal with than you realized.
Getting out of Panic Mode
Sometimes we don’t realize we need a break until it’s too late, and we’re going into a full-on anxiety meltdown. So, if you’re starting to feel like you’re hitting the point of no return (or if you’ve reached it already), take some deep breaths and answer the following:
- What are five things you can see?
- What are four things you can hear?
- What are three things you can touch?
- What are two things you can smell?
- What is one thing you can taste?
This is an excellent tool for anchoring you and returning from the edge. It’s definitely a good idea to try and follow up with a restful break after doing this, but keep it in your back pocket when things get too overwhelming or if you can’t step away.
Most importantly, understand that whatever work matter arises, you can handle it. Chances are, you’ve endured worse before. Give yourself a little pep talk and remember your past achievements. Then remember that stress is your body’s way of preparing you to act, so channel that energy into action and knock it out of the park.