Deep breath. We all experience our fair share of stress at work. You may have even gotten to the point where you want to tear your hair out, wrap it around your elbow, rip your arm out, and throw it at Nina from corporate accounts payable for telling the 5600th person that it’ll be “just a moment.”
We’ve all been there, but that doesn’t mean you should keep letting all that stress get to you. Sometimes, we need to learn how to relax, particularly in shorter spurts within the office environment. It’s not like it is practical for you to take a spiritual sabbatical for months at a time every year. That’s not practical and that can’t be good on your checkbook.
Listed below are eight relaxation techniques that should help to get you through the work week. You need a real break from work; constantly peering over your shoulder while playing Minesweeper isn’t a real break.
To be fair, it’s probably not going to be all that relaxing if you crank it up with some Marilyn Manson, but music can seriously work some wonders. And the best part is that Grooveshark is completely free. This streaming media site has a huge library of tunes that is completely legal. Cherry-pick your songs and escape to your happy place.
In the interest of not disturbing the people in the other cubicles (“I was told I could listen to my music at a reasonable volume”), as well as in the interest of you blocking out the rest of the world, I’d highly recommend you get a good set of noise-cancelling headphones too. Whether you go with earbud-style or DJ over-the-ear style is up to you.
The Quiet Place
For me to describe The Quiet Place to you would almost be to ruin its real experience. It’s a rather unique web project that really must be explored on your own time and when you have the time to dedicate to it.
In the Quiet Place, there are no Facebook notifications, no shocking noises, no jolts to action. It’s just a quiet place where your mind can finally find some peace. Check it out.
Wii Fit Plus: Yoga
When it comes to relaxing, yoga in its various forms comes highly recommended from a number of health professionals. However, it might not be all that practical for you to hit up an hour-long yoga session in the middle of your work day.
However, and this will depend largely on your workplace arrangement, you may be able to get in a solid 15 or 20 minutes on Wii Fit or Wii Fit Plus. The yoga exercises in there are fun and refreshing, which can be a great way to get past those midday blahs.
LiveJournal, Tumblr, WordPress…
Sometimes, part of the reason why you’re feeling all tense and stressed out is that you aren’t very clear with what it is that is causing all that tension and stress in the first place.
There is absolutely something very cathartic about putting your experiences into words, defining both your stresses and your joys through the written word. Thanks to technology, you don’t need to buy a paper journal anymore. There are so many free journal, diary, and “blog” tools out there for you on the web and, if you don’t want everything to be so out there, most of these utilities also provide the ability to maintain private posts. Take a break from work and release your stress through your fingers onto the keyboard.
Go for a Walk, A Real One
Many people never take real work breaks. They think they are taking a break from work, but they still have the BlackBerry on their hip. They think they’re relaxing, but the laptop is close at hand. You need a real break and this means physically taking yourself away from the desk and into the great outdoors.
Disconnect. You could bring your smartphone with you, for emergency’s sake, but turn off all of the notifications and let that part of your life be cast aside. Be present in the moment. Stroll through a local park. Breathe in that fresh air. Remind yourself of what it is that makes life worth living in the first place.
Kindle (for Tablets and Smartphones Too)
Sometimes, the best way to relax is to escape, even if it is only vicariously. Great books, both fiction and nonfiction, can offer that means of escape and they’re a great way to spend your lunch hour. However, carrying around the book might not be quite as practical, especially if you want to read more than one thing.
That’s why the Kindle and other e-book readers are so great. The e-ink display is easier on the eyes and it does away with other distractions like e-mail notifications, but you could use the Kindle application on tablets and smartphones too. I’d still recommend the dedicated device, though, whether it’s a Nook, Kindle, Kobo, or whatever else.
The Office Play and Relaxation Area
Work hard, play hard, even if it’s in the same place. In fact, we don’t want you to leave. We want you to live, breathe, eat, and sleep all without ever leaving the office. This is fundamentally the attitude that you find at companies like Google and Electronic Arts.
They don’t have offices. They have campuses, filled with all sorts of other rooms that have virtually nothing to do with work. They have gyms, relaxation pods, video game rooms, quiet rooms for napping, showers, the whole nine yards. It’s debatable whether or not this works, but if you can truly relax (working out at the gym is great for raising your mood… and your heartrate), then this is a great idea.
White Noise Meditation Podcast
You’ll really be amazed at just how effective white noise can be in grounding yourself and finding that place of relaxation. I mentioned Grooveshark for music earlier, but you might that the music can be more distracting than relaxing.
That’s why you might want to check out the White Noise Meditation Podcast and others like it. This will sound a little silly in the beginning, but go ahead and give it a listen with those noise-cancelling headphones. Close your eyes and let your mind drift away from your office and toward your happy place. You don’t even need to really meditate, per se. The great thing with the podcast is that you’ll never grow tired of the white noise; it changes up every once in a while without jarring you away from the core purpose. That’s pretty relaxing.
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