The stressors at work are everywhere, pulling us in different – and often opposing – directions. They start as minor distractions at best and can lead to frenzy and long-term overwhelm over time. This in turn impacts our focus, performance, and satisfaction at work. We go home frustrated, tense, and short-tempered, unable to be present to our families and friends. All this, only to go to bed, wake up, and do it all over again.
How can we Zen ourselves back to calm throughout our workday, for our sake and for those around us?
How do we deflect the stressors? How do we restore our serenity?
Here are 7 tips to bring you back to tranquility several times in your day so that you can execute at work with purpose and creativity, and head home in the head and heart space to enjoy your evenings:
1. Go for a walk
When the going gets tough, the tough gets moving. Stepping away from your desk gives your brain a break and your body an outlet to release the stressors. By taking yourself out of your immediate surroundings, you distance yourself from the pressing issues just long enough to regroup and reset. It does not have to take a long time and it does not have to be a long walk. Get a drink. Refill your tea. Take a lap around your office. Find reasons to leave your desk. You will return with a new perspective and new energy to tackle your task.
2. Talk to a friend
If the walk didn’t work, get up again and walk right over to a coworker with whom you can commiserate. Verbalizing our stressors has an amazing way of reducing their charge. That clears the path for brainstorming and problem-solving. Or use your colleague as the more active distraction you need to put your thinking on pause and recollect yourself. If not in your office, pick up your phone and phone-a-friend. For bonus points, walk while you talk!
Sitting is the new smoking so be sure to give your body regular stretch breaks. Done proactively throughout the day, this will actually fight off the fatigue you feel after a full day sitting at a desk. Aim for an hourly break to stretch your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, waist, legs, and ankles. There are apps available which alert you to stretch break time and guide you through simple stretches, or set your alarm and give yourself an hourly 3 minute break. Whatever you do, be consistent and don’t blow it off. Your body will thank you!
Meditation is the ultimate practice to quiet the stressors. With your feet planted on the ground, hands on your knees, palms up, close your eyes, roll your shoulders back and take a few deep breaths. Keep your focus on your breathing – that will keep you in the present moment, not regretting the past or fretting about the future. Take a break from the fast-paced thinking by allowing your thoughts to pass without reacting to them. While this habit takes time to develop, you will find its benefits to be immediate and long-lasting.
5. Create a music moment
Replace the words swimming in your head with those of your favorite song for an instant escape. Tap your foot, snap your fingers, chair dance, or get on your feet and stomp out the stressors. Shift your attitude with the right song that delivers just the right message you need to return to your happy place. Create a playlist and celebrate an hour of work with a song and dance. If you can, play the music that connects you to your soul in the background while you work to create an ongoing zen-like state.
If the requests are coming in faster than you can address them and you have so many thoughts buzzing in your brain, then quiet it all down by getting it on paper. Release the stressors through the power of your pen and watch as the chaos gradually comes to order. List what is on your mind, all of the tasks at hand, and how you are feeling. You will slowly begin to feel calmer and you may just find a solution to better your day.
7. Essential oils
Essential oils can instantly lift your spirits and redirect your energies. You can find them in your local natural food store. You can dab them on your wrist or under your nose to keep their potency contained to you or share with nearby workers by diffusing them throughout your office. Lavender is great for relaxing and calming your mind. Lemon will increase your alertness and productivity. Peppermint can rejuvenate and revitalize. Experiment with blends and find the ones that you love.
Work can be crazy. The days can be long and unforgiving. The only way to have the inner peace is to create it continuously throughout your day. These are a few ideas. Pick a couple, try them, and see what works for you. Then observe yourself when you are at your best and find creative ways to recreate that environment at work. In doing so, you will introduce more serenity to your work life and your home life – and both will thrive!