Do back stretches
Our bodies hold a lot of stress when we’re slouched over our keyboards all day – often in office chairs that don’t provide sufficient lower back support. Relieve tightness by doing back stretches.
Try this one: Cross your leg over the other, with your ankle resting on the opposite knee. Keeping a straight back, lean your upper body forward. You should feel a stretch along your hamstrings and back. Repeat on the other side.
Practice deep breathing
Belly breathing boosts your oxygen intake, which helps reduce stress. Sit with your back straight and place one hand on your abdomen, the other on your chest. Inhale through your nose. You can count four seconds, or simply inhale until you’re unable to take in more air. Your abdomen should rise as your lungs fill. Then exhale slowly through your mouth, completely pushing out all the air. Your abdomen should flatten as you breathe out.
Do neck exercises
When we’re stressed, we tend to work in strained positions with our heads protruding and our shoulders tense. Poor posture could lead to fiery neck pain, especially when we’re sitting for prolonged periods and overstretching our necks in front of a screen or allowing our heads to droop while poring over desk tasks. Here are a couple of neck exercises to help alleviate stress:
• Neck extension: Tilt your head back and look up at the ceiling. With your chin up the entire time, move your head from side to side so that your chin moves a bit to the right and then to the left of the center line. Perform ten times per side.
• Neck rotation: Start by looking straight ahead. Then turn your head far to the right and hold for a few seconds. Next, turn your head far to the left and hold for a few seconds. Perform ten times per side.
Put pen to paper
If you’re feeling burned out or unproductive despite your best efforts, quit whatever program you’re in (Excel, Photoshop, Word, etc.) and take a screen break. Put pen to paper instead. Start doodling or free writing, even if it’s on something completely unrelated to the project you were working on to give yourself some distance while still allowing your creativity to flow.
Spray face mist
Is your mounting workload causing you to turn into a skin-picking anxious grease ball? Face mist to the rescue. For an instant pick-me-up to de-stress both you and your skin, spritz your face with soothing face mist. It’s essentially an on-the-go spa experience that calms and revives the skin. Combat stress-related skin issues like redness and irritation with a face mist that contains nourishing, anti-inflammatory ingredients such as lavender, chamomile, aloe vera, rosewater, and other essential oils. As a bonus, you’ll get that fresh dewy glow.
Tie your hair back
One of the most annoying things when you’re on the verge of a panic attack is having hair fall in your face. Especially in front of your eyes. You’re getting squint-eyes from being forced to peer out from underneath stray strands. Clip your bangs and feel your eyes relax immediately. If you’re sporting long hair, tie it back and you’ll instantly perk up. The point is to get hair out of your way so that you’re not twisting, pulling or playing with it. The oil from your fingers will transfer to your hair, and then it’s hello greasy bangs (or worse, stringy bangs). Feel a surge of “get down to business” energy as soon as you fix your mane in a secure ponytail or top knot bun.
Clear your desk
Okay, there are two kinds of tidying up: the careful, delicate stowing away of objects in their rightful places, and the lightning-fast “just get it out of my sight” technique. If you have time, you can organize meticulously and be all precise about it. But if you need to de-clutter your desk (and your brain) pronto, go with the second technique– which is to say, dump everything somewhere you can’t see, like in your filing drawer or the darkest corner under your desk. Of course, you’d be wise to go back and organize everything properly once you finish your Important Things and your heart rate regulates, but in the meantime – just a clear workspace where you can at least see the surface of your desk will reduce stress significantly
Visualize the process of completing the task
It’s Friday and there’s only an hour left before you bust out of the office to start the weekend. You’ve basically already checked out when your boss drops a last-minute assignment on you. You could not feel more crushed and unmotivated. In just a few seconds you go from chill-out mode to The Scream.
Close your eyes. Lean back in your chair, get comfortable, and visualize yourself carrying out the steps to finish the deed. Taking a minute to mentally walk through the process from beginning to end will streamline what’s to come, and improve your attitude about tackling the project.