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8 Stress Management Techniques to Try Out While Working at Your Desk

18 July 2023

Workplaces can be stressful. Even the employees that work in an ideal work setting and do their favorite job may feel overwhelmed at work from time to time.

Whether it's the demand for pending emails in your inbox or persistent pressure from your co-workers or managers about the meetings, or you are struggling to get your work done before the end of the day, workplace stress is inevitable. And before you realize these minute stressors accumulate and reflect in health concerns such as tension headaches, fatigue, stress eating, and sleeplessness.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage workplace stress, and the good news is that you can try out these stress management techniques without actually leaving your desk.

Here are eight easy stress management techniques to help you deal with everyday workplace stressors while working at your desk. But before we get into the details, let's take an insight into why managing stress at work is critical.

Stress Management – A Critical Aspect of Employee Well-Being

We all experience stressful situations in life and not being able to find a way to manage stress is a recipe for disaster. Persistent stress can take a toll on your mind and body and reflects several psychological and physiological symptoms.

Since stress increases the body's production of cortisol (stress hormone), it can cause many health conditions, including hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, digestive troubles, and other physical ailments. Moreover, chronic stress is a leading cause of anxiety, depressive symptoms, and other mental health difficulties.

Given that stress is a leading cause of physical and mental health conditions, it is a concern for organizations as it significantly contributes to lost working days. Moreover, it also has negative implications for employee productivity and the quality of output produced. Furthermore, persistent stress can also take a toll on an individual's social relationships, which can negatively impact a person's quality of life.

Given that there are so many negative implications of stress, it is critical to incorporate stress management techniques, especially at the workplace, because often workplace stress affects all other areas of life.

Let's look at some of the stress management techniques that you can try out while working at your desk.

Stress Management Techniques to Try Out While Working on Your Desk

Learn how you can manage your stress level and its implications on your mind and body through these simple stress management techniques that you can try out while working at your desk.

Similar to a physical workout, finding the right stress management activities that produce the best results for you can require some patience and practice, so give yourself some time before you can begin to experience the effectiveness of these stress management techniques that you can try at your desk.



1. Try Out Progressive Muscle Relaxation

When your body experiences stress, your brain is directed to produce the stress hormone, cortisol. Production and release of the stress hormone into the body results in increased tension in certain muscles of your body.

Over time, as your body continues to experience persistent stress, you may stop noticing the tension in your muscles. However, it leads to muscle soreness, especially in the neck and shoulder muscles.

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that helps relieve tension in your muscles.

The two-step relaxation technique revolves around the idea of slowly tensing a specific group of muscles and then relaxing them. Starting from the toes and gradually working up to the neck, you focus on a specific group of muscles at a time. The practice helps ease muscle tension and gradually increase the awareness of your body. Over time and with practice, you will learn when your muscles are tensed and can try out this technique that will help you let go of that tension.

2. Take a Break from Your Screen

From the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed, most people are constantly glued to the screens. Whether it's the smartphone, tablet, television, or computer monitors, screens are increasingly used in both personal and professional life.

Prolonged use of screens is linked with several physical and mental health conditions ranging from eye strain to neck and shoulder pain and even increased risk of depression and anxiety.

If your job requires you to spend at least 1/3rd of your day in front of your screen, it can take a toll on your physical and mental health and contribute to stress. Hence, there is a need to consciously unplug from your screen as part of an effective stress management strategy.

While you are working and are feeling overwhelmed, take a break from the screen to manage stress. Turn off your smartphone or your computer screen and let your eyes relax. You can take a quick walk or make yourself a cup of your favorite hot beverage, or you can read a book or a magazine for at least 10 minutes before you resume your on-screen task.



3. Deep Breathing

All humans are constantly breathing, but when was the last time you gave enough attention to your breath?

You won't likely remember.

Becoming aware of your breath and practicing deep breathing exercises can be a natural stress management technique. Deep breathing is so effective that it is also considered one of the best stress management techniques you can try out anywhere. After all, when you take a deep breath, the supply of oxygen in your blood increases, and when your brain gets more oxygen-rich blood, it helps promote the restoration of a calm mental state.

Moreover, deep breathing can help you become more aware of your body which is why deep breathing is also a part of most mindfulness practices.

You can also combine deep breathing with some other stress management techniques like visualization and immediately experience stress relief without getting off your desk.

4. Give Yourself a Good Laugh

You must have heard that laughter is the best medicine, and it really is.

Give yourself a hearty chuckle and see the wonders it can do for your mental state. When you laugh, your body produces happiness hormones known as endorphins that create a feeling of relaxation. Moreover, it also helps stimulate blood circulation, which aids in soothing muscle tension.

Hence, when you laugh, it serves as a natural stress management technique that you can conveniently try out while working at your desk.

Wondering how to give yourself a good laugh while working?

Keep a box of funny jokes under your desk or have a folder filled with your favorite funny photos from your childhood. If your workplace doesn't allow for under-desk storage, invest in a pegboard that you can use to place certain items that will give you a good laugh.

FlexiSpot offers a pegboard that serves as convenient storage for all your workplace accessories. Apart from keeping your workstation neat and tidy, a pegboard can also serve as a place where you place things that can induce giggle at times when you need it the most.



5. Enjoy a Healthy Snack

This one is a recommended stress management technique, but don't confuse it with stress eating as it involves indulging in an unhealthy treat as a way to combat negative emotions, including stress.

In fact, it serves the right purpose when you eat a healthy snack; it provides your body with the appropriate nutrients that optimally elevate blood sugar levels, which also helps give a quick boost to your mood and productivity.

And while you take a break to consume a healthy snack, don't forget to slow down and enjoy every bit of it.

6. Don't Forget Hydration

While you enjoy a healthy snack, use this time as an opportunity to provide the hydration that your body needs.

Your body needs at least 8 glasses of water every day, but most people are so occupied with work that they often forget to provide the much-needed hydration.

Providing hydration to your body serves as a way to manage stress and boost your productivity while reducing your risk of developing a headache or experiencing fatigue.



7. Look Out of the Window

If your workstation provides a view of the outside world, take a few minutes off from work to gaze outside the window and relax.

When you observe nature, it aids in relaxing your body by lowering your heart rate and serves as a way to manage workplace stress.

8. Enjoy the Magic of Doodling

If you have a desk job that requires persistent use of the screen, you can give yourself a break by having a pen and paper handy. Use these basic accessories for doodling that serves as a stress-relieving distraction from your everyday work activities.

Final Words

Stress is an inevitable reality of life, but there are some great ways to manage it. And if your workplace serves as a source of stress, you can try out any of the above-mentioned stress management techniques that you can even try out while you're working at your desk.

However, when you get started with these stress management techniques, know that you will require some practice and a lot of patience before you can actually get to see the results.