Career Woman

8 Easy ways to take a quick break at work


Today, 60 percent of people cite work as a major source of stress. Are you one of them? If so, it’s worth it to practice relaxing activities throughout the work day to reduce your stress levels and boost your productivity. Check out these ways you can easily relax at work.

  1. Take your lunch break

While federal law doesn’t require employers to offer lunch and coffee breaks, it can benefit you to take the breaks when they’re offered because lunch breaks can help you relax. Get the most out of your break by seeking out relaxing activities, such as practicing yoga or meditation in a quiet room, working out at the gym, or even talking casually with co-workers. Avoid eating at your desk since you’re more likely to continue work-related tasks and not really get in the break you need.

  1. Go for a short walk

When you have the opportunity, go for a short walk. A quick break every 90 minutes is ideal. This can be as simple as heading to the bathroom or water fountain. Aim to walk during your lunch break, too. One government study showed that “lunchtime walks improved enthusiasm, relaxation, and nervousness about work.” You might consider teaming up with a co-worker or two to establish a habit of going on walks together during your lunch break.

  1. Breathe deeply

You’ve long heard that deep breathing can help reduce stress, but have you actually tried it? While controlled breathing can take a bit of conscious effort, it is something you can do at your desk without interrupting your work tasks. However, you may find deep breathing more effective when you’re not distracted, so try it out the next time you’re on break and see how much it helps you unwind.

  1. Try progressive relaxation

Progressive relaxation is another relaxation technique you can use at your desk, but feel free to test it out on your break, too. To do it, start by squeezing muscle groups and then relaxing them, such as by raising your shoulders to your ears, holding for five seconds, and then letting down. Then, consciously relax your muscles, starting at the toes and moving toward the head. Focus on particular problem areas, such as the neck and face. Progressive relaxation like this has been shown in scientific studies to significantly reduce anxiety and improve quality of life.

  1. Chew on gum

Not only is chewing gum tasty, but it can also have a stress-relieving effect! One government study showed that regular gum chewing can help reduce anxiety, depression, and fatigue. So feel free to stash your favorite flavor in your desk and enjoy a piece or two per day. Just remember: chewing should be silent and never public.

  1. Keep a “done” list

You probably have a decent-sized “to-do” list sitting on your desk, and it may be nothing more than a stress-inducing reminder of what’s to come. The alternative is to keep a “done” list handy as well. This gives you time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, instilling a level of confidence in yourself that your to-do list may fail to inspire. In a way, it’s like a sort of short-form journaling that helps motivate you and reduce your stress.

  1. Take a digital mini-break

Find a stress-relieving game that you can use for a few quick minutes to decompress. This could be a strategy challenge, sim gaming, indulge your love of bingo or even visual puzzles. Whatever your choice, use it to ‘refocus and refresh’ your mind for a few minutes — leaving you ready to better deal with your workload after even just a five-minute break. Think of it as a ‘micro vacation’ for your brain!

  1. Talk with a co-worker

Talking with a colleague can be a great way to reduce your stress levels and quickly relax. The trick is to limit the small talk and engage in more meaningful conversation as this has been shown to improve well-being.

While work can be stressful at times, thankfully there are small ways you can relax that produce a huge impact on how you feel — and help you to work much better.

About Karli Cowan'

Karli Cowan has for decades been one of the all-too-few women in the automotive industry, and is committed to helping women better negotiate the male-dominated industry.

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