We have all been there at one time or another. Sometimes you know that taking a step back and heading outside for a breath of fresh air, a drink of water or a snack would help you power through the day, but you are stuck at your desk waiting for a call, or you have a meeting starting in six minutes, or you just can’t seem to leave.
This is when you have to opt for a right-where-you-are destresser.
Here are five quick and easy tips to reduce your stress right at your desk.
- Give Yourself an Ear Massage
This may seem like strange workplace advice, but this practice from traditional Chinese medicine has been proven to work! Medical studies have shown that an ear massage (or auricular acupressure, if you are feeling professional) relieves stress and anxiety in pre-op and post-op hospital patients.
The trick is to massage your ear gently, right in the middle of the upper third of your ear. This spot, called the Shen Men point, reportedly decreases stress and boosts energy—just what you need on a trying day.
If you have trouble finding the particular spot, start by massaging your earlobes then working your way up and around the outer shell of your ear. This should produce much the same effect as Shen Men.
- Workspace Reset
Your parents were right when they told you to clean your room. Your mindset is reflected in your space and vice versa. It is very difficult to focus and accomplish much in a messy environment, Even if you are swamped with work, take the time to put empty wrappers and scrap paper in the trash, tidy up your workspace, and clean out your digital desktop so that what you need is easier to find. Most importantly, when you have re-organized your desk and your computer and reset yourself, you can kick your energy up a notch just by sitting up straighter.
- Hand Massage
If you want to give your hands themselves a break (sore wrists from constant typing are real), first pay attention to your thumbs. Start by lightly pinching the muscle between your thumb and index finger and massaging it in small circles. Remember to keep it firm yet gentle, to relax the muscles. You will feel your hands, shoulders, and neck start to relax, and, in no time, you will be ready to start working again. You might also want to get a mouse pad with a wrist support pad so that you will not tire as quickly.
- Breathing Technique for Relaxing
Before you say that you already know this one, hear me out. While taking a deep breath is the oldest trick in the book, you can enhance the calming effect of this simple tip with some basic body mechanics. It is simple: When you breathe in, imagine the air inflating your stomach instead of your chest. Push your stomach outwards to draw the air down, then pull it back in so you can really empty your lungs of air. Put some muscle into it for three breaths, then fall back into your normal rhythm newly relaxed, and ready to take on your work with a new focus.
- Progressive Relaxation or Meditation
This meditation technique is used to combat anxiety and stress and is a fast way to reconnect with your body without going anywhere. Start at your toes, tensing, and slowly releasing the muscles. Work your way up your body, tensing and releasing the muscles in your feet, your legs, torso, arms, neck, and even into your face. It doesn’t take long to work all the way up your body and you will finish feeling energized, ready to tackle the workday anew without having left your desk!
Stress in the office feels inescapable, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember: Take the time to care for yourself, and you will reap the rewards with smoother workflow, better focus, and increased productivity.