Did you know that 45% of entrepreneurs report feeling stressed? On average, business owners and managers have higher levels of stress and worry than their employee counterparts, which we think makes a lot of sense. We live in a hustle culture that rewards being on the clock 24/7 and often penalizes self-care (you get how few vacation days?!).
Working yourself to death isn’t doing your business or your body any favors. In fact, research shows that de-escalating stress improves motivation, productivity, and focus.
If you’ve been feeling stressed or burned out at work, it’s time to take a breather. Here are a couple of our favorite ways to destress in the midst of even your most chaotic workday.
Destress Tip #1 - Eye exercises
We stare at screens all day between your laptop, phone, TV, iPad, video games, and more. The constant barrage of blue light is a nightmare for your productivity and even has a negative effect on your body like causing eye strain, a stiff neck, and headaches.
If your eyes feel tired and dry, you can strengthen them with some quick eye exercises. Go through this sequence to refresh your eyes at least once a day:
Keep your head still and look right, then left.
Keep your head still and look up, then down.
Blink multiple times.
Look far away and then look closely.
Now it might feel weird or even uncomfortable at first but stick with it! Just like going to the gym, you shouldn’t go big when you first start but keep with it and you’ll see a noticeable difference.
P.S. If your eyes still hurt, consider blue blocker glasses which protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to harmful blue-violet lights. Did you know that blue light is emitted not only from digital devices but also the sun and fluorescent and LED lighting? Learn something new every day.
Destress Tip #2 - Go outside… without your phone
Our bodies need fresh air and sunlight, and being trapped inside all day every day (hello pandemic) just isn’t good for them. If you’re feeling constantly anxious or grumpy, make it a point to go outside. Research suggests walks in nature improve positive thinking and reduce stress. Vitamin D is produced in your skin when it’s exposed to the sunlight, which is needed for bone growth, bone healing, and absorbing calcium, and immune system function. You only need about 15 minutes a day but don’t forget the sunscreen if you’re in strong sunlight or for an extended period of time!
A walk in nature or light hike is ideal, but going outside even in an urban environment is better than nothing. Leave your phone at your desk or in your pocket and go outside.
If your schedule doesn’t allow for a daily walk, try holding meetings or phone calls outside a few times a day or have lunch outside when the weather cooperates. You could even get a kick ass pair of noise cancelling Bose headphone to cut down on ambient noise if that’s an issue where you’re at.
Destress Tip #3 - Meditation and Deep Breathing
You don’t need to do a 60 minute meditation to feel relaxed! All it takes is a 3 minute break from what you’re doing to refocus. We’re willing to bet you can spare just 3 minutes to destress and take control of your mental health.
Apps like Calm, Headspace, and Aura are great for guided meditation. They can even send you reminders throughout the day to meditate so you won’t forget.
But you don’t need to buy an app for meditation. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath in then exhale it out, and tune out of the bustling office (or kids yelling in the background of your home office) for a few minutes. If you’re worried about meditating for too long and missing an important meeting, set a timer on your phone for peace of mind.
As Inc. reports, according to Neuroscientist Sara Lazar “the results showed that those with a strong meditation background had increased gray matter in several areas of the brain, including the auditory and sensory cortex, as well as insula and sensory regions.”
When was the last time you filled your lungs completely with air? Shallow breathing is when you take small sips of air at a time and it happens frequently when you’re stressed. The first step is being aware of the shallow breathing, then remind yourself to breathe fully, and make the time to do it. Long term results of deep breathing practice have been shown to lower the stress hormone cortisol, which regulates your metabolism and your body’s immune response. So it benefits you mentally and physically!
Destress Tip #4 - Stretch or try chair yoga
Deep breathing leads us to our next tip - yoga! Sitting for long periods of time have contributed to a host of physical problems like lower back pain, headaches, obesity, and shoulder aches. The Mayo Clinic concluded that people who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking. So that includes not only sitting at work but everything - eating breakfast, driving, watching TV, etc.
You’re certainly free to do a full on vinyasa flow at work, but you might not have time for that. Fortunately, moving your body even a little bit can help you destress and reset your frame of mind.
If you’re trapped in meetings all day, try chair yoga in between calls. Very Well Fit demonstrates 11 chair yoga poses you can do quickly, which are very close to the standing yoga versions. Chair Cat-Cow, Chair Forward Bend, Chair Eagle, Chair Savasana - they go over them all in detail, which can be helpful if you’re a beginner. Just tell Nosey Nelly at the office to stop staring at your flow.
We like yoga because it pairs breathing exercises with simple but effective movements, but if that’s not your thing, a few simple stretches will do the trick too.
Bend over and touch your toes
Reach above your head
Pull your arm to the right then left
Shrug your shoulders
Stretch your legs out in front of you and roll your ankles
Destress Tip #5 - Laugh!
They say laughter is the best medicine, and they’re not wrong! Even a chuckle or giggle can soothe anxiety and stop your body’s stress response.
Go to YouTube and watch a comedy routine from your favorite performer. Comedy Central has a video for the 12 Comics You Need to See, which is a good place to start. Even making goofy faces at yourself in the mirror can do the trick or tell yourself a joke.
Do pickles enjoy a day out? Yes, they relish it!
What kind of tree fits in your hand? A palm tree!
Where do mermaids look for a job? The kelp-wanted section!
The bottom line
Stress doesn’t have to be a part of your workday routine. While it’s impossible to avoid all types of stress in the workplace, you can destress with these 5 stress-busting tips throughout the day: Eye exercises, go outside, mediation, stretch or chair yoga, and laugh. One of the hardest parts is recognizing you’re stressed and taking the time for yourself, but you deserve it.
But we know stress also comes from having too much on your plate. If you need heavy-duty help promoting your business, trust Thrive Marketing Consultants to take that stress off your plate with Facebook ads, Google ads, influencer marketing, or SEO services!