“I don’t have time” is a frequent excuse for not taking regular breaks during the workday but what if there were some effective things that you could do to manage stress in a short amount of time? While taking longer breaks is great, you won’t always have 20 or 30 minutes to unplug & recharge. The good news is that you are about to learn some tools for your stress management toolbox that you can use in just 3 to 5 minutes. These are accessible things that you can incorporate in between calls or in between meetings, which can help you feel more relaxed and more productive.
- Body Scans – Having tight clenched muscles is one way that our bodies let us know that we are stressed and it’s time to take a break. Whether you clench your jaw, raise your shoulders or squeeze your belly, we all have different areas that tense up when we are under pressure. Taking a few minutes to bring awareness to all of the different areas of your body, from the tips of your toes up to the top of your head, relaxing muscles as you go, is a great way to release tension, come back to the present moment and relieve stress.
- Meditation – Our minds can become overly active during the workday. Taking some time to calm down our nervous systems by focusing on our breath with meditation has the potential to make a significant impact. Research has shown that mindfulness practices, which incorporate meditation, can have a positive impact on well-being and can help reduce stress.
- Movement – Exercise is an incredible stress reliever. Regularly taking time during the workday to get up to move your body, to go for a walk, or to do some yoga can help make the workday much more enjoyable, while also promoting optimal health. Think about setting a reminder to get up to move every 30 minutes.
- Getting a Change of Scenery – A fresh perspective can make a world of difference! Taking time to get out of your work space to go outdoors is a great way to de-stress and boost creativity. If you are feeling overwhelmed or struggling with a challenge at work, instead of trying to push through it, try to get outside for a few minutes or go into a different room and look out the window. You may find that when you get back to your workspace you feel less stressed and new ideas may even have emerged.
- Listening to Music – Have you noticed how hearing your favorite song can result in an instant mood boost? There is growing research about the positive effects of music interventions for stress reduction. Music is powerful and it has the potential to impact our stress response & how we feel. Incorporating breaks throughout the workday to listen to music that soothes you and brightens your mood is an easy way to add in more relaxation and fun.
- Breathing Techniques – Square Breathing is one quick and easy breathing technique that can be used amid the workday to de-stress. It begins with slowly exhaling and then breathing in for the count of 4 through your nose, holding your breath for the count of 4, breathing out through your mouth for the count of 4 and then holding your breath for the count of 4. This is repeated 3-4 times.
When you are trying to incorporate new stress management practices into your workday, try to make it easy and fun which will make it more likely that you will stick with it. Starting with a short amount of time and building from there can be a great way to make it easier to commit for long-lasting results.
Disclaimer: The information shared in this article solely represents the opinion of the author and is meant for informational and educational purposes only. This is not medical advice or treatment recommendations. Always seek the guidance of your healthcare provider when you have any questions regarding your specific health, changes to diet and exercise or any medical conditions.
By: Kristel Bauer, Sponsored by Reaction Club