Powering through a to-do list might seem like the only way to get things done at work. But it’s not.
Instead, give yourself a break. You deserve it – and it’ll make you more productive. Going full-steam without at least a few minutes to slow down is like running an engine full speed without letting it cool off. Soon enough, it’ll fall apart. So might you – and then you can’t get anything done.
“A lot of demands and information come at us at work and in our personal lives,” says Laurie Mitchell, Unum’s assistant vice president of global wellbeing and health management. “It’s easy to become overwhelmed. We need tactics to manage it all effectively, maintain balance and feel like we’re accomplishing things.”
A great way to feel your best on the job is to do something every workday that dials down stress and dials up your body’s feel-good hormones. Here are three simple workplace stress relievers:
Laugh: This might mean a phone call as short as five minutes to someone who’s sure to make you smile. If you have a funny video handy, pull it up. Studies show laughter lowers cortisol and releases endorphins. A hearty belly laugh might even increase your tolerance to pain (take that tough work day!). Or check out cute cat videos. Really. Recent studies in Japan and the U.S. show they make you happy and more productive.
Listen to music: Hearing music you love for just 5 to 10 minutes will lift your mood. Tracks that use hemi-sync metamusic, which synchronizes the brain’s two hemispheres, will calm your nerves too. Listen to anything on “Octaves of Light” by Eluv, especially the title track. Other ambient tunes that soothe: “Ripple FX” by Pure Sounds, “Know Some Things” by R.O.U.D.O.S., “Something Stronger” by Saru, “Edge Hill” by Groove Armada, “Le Monde” by Thievery Corporation.
Leave for lunch: You need to eat, and eating already feels good when you’re hungry. To mentally recharge as well, fuel up in a space where you don’t normally work. Simple as that. Best bet is leaving work altogether. Otherwise, sit in a different room, even at a different desk. If you can be outside in nature, even better.
Journalist Mitra Malek writes about wellness, fitness and innovation. She has taught yoga regularly since 2006 and was a senior editor for Yoga Journal magazine. Learn more at mitramalek.com.