Picture this: You’re reclined inside a private chamber with ambient noise lulling you into restfulness. As your naptime concludes, a refreshing white light grows brighter and soft vibrations gently call you back to the day. You feel rested, rejuvenated, ready. Are you imagining yourself at the office? Perhaps, only if you work for Google.
Several years ago, the search engine giant began offering nap rooms equipped with pricey “Energy Pods” to help its staff members relax. This top employer, consistently named the number one best U.S. company to work for, understands that when employees are less
stressed, they are more focused, more confident, and more productive. By giving them space to unwind and relax at work, Google has created a calm and satisfied workforce.
Unfortunately, we don’t all have access to such on-the-job sleep technologies. But that doesn’t mean you can’t relax while at work. In fact, since a person’s stress level directly impacts her ability to excel at her job, it would benefit you to do so.
Below are 11 Simple Ways to Relax at Work and Increase Your Professional Performance
1. Keep a pair of sneakers and socks tucked in a desk drawer. At midday, take a brisk walk around the building to get your blood flowing. Computers, phones, and other technologies drain your energy, but spending even 10 minutes away from the screen can recharge your batteries. Experts say that three 10-minute spurts of physical activity throughout the day earn the same benefits of one 30-minute session. Use this time to check off a third of your daily exercise requirement!
2. If your office is large enough, spread out a yoga mat and stretch for 10 minutes with simple poses you can achieve even in a suit. Stuck in a cubicle? Many moves can be performed right in your desk chair. A quick Internet search for “office yoga” yields numerous workday yoga sequences for relieving neck and back strain. Think of this as the home stretch when done in the late afternoon.
3. Place your feet up on a stability ball or padded ottoman tucked discreetly under your desk. If your office environment permits it, kick off your shoes and wiggle and point your toes. Another way to treat your feet? While seated at your desk, roll your bare soles over a golf ball or rolling pin placed on the floor.
4. If your company is cool with it, take a power nap. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, a brief catnap during the day “may be a useful strategy to improve not only mood but also job satisfaction.” If you have 15 minutes, why not run out and take a quick nap in your car.
5. Engage your senses while letting your mind slip away with a mini-meditation session. Light a candle in a soothing scent such as lavender, which alleviates stress headaches, anxiety, and fatigue. Listen to ocean or rain sounds (such white noise can be streamed online). Then close your eyes, breathe deeply, and allow your thoughts to slow for a few minutes. Candles prohibited in the office? Mix four drops of lavender essential oil with a half cup water in a spray bottle and spritz in the air.
6. These days, we are multitasking machines. Give your mind a breather by tuning out distractions for one hour and focusing on just one task. Close your email inbox, turn off your phone’s ringer, close extraneous windows on your computer, and shut your office door. You’ll be amazed how easily you can complete a project!
7. If you work on a laptop, switch up the scenery by shifting outside or to nearby coffee shop. A change of venue may help you move past creative blocks and can keep your mind fresh. Plus, your body will appreciate a dose of Vitamin D from the sun — or a dose of caffeine from that latte! If you can’t leave your office, ask to work in the conference room or a different office with sunlight and maybe a view.
8. Set a timer for 15 minutes, then curl up on an upholstered chair in the corner and take your mind off work for a bit. Read a good novel, leaf through a magazine or write in a personal journal. Afterward, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to wade back into tedious projects and reports.
Eat & Drink
9. Make yourself a cup of hot tea — ginseng is energizing and chamomile is soothing. As you sit and sip, wrap both hands around the mug to warm your palms, and then place them on your neck and shoulders to ease built-up tension. Breathe deeply and allow the steam to enter your nose.
10. Take your full lunch hour away from your desk. Perhaps meet a friend or ask a coworker to join you (just steer clear of office talk) for a healthy meal. Your body gets a welcome boost of nutrients and your mind benefits from the mental holiday.
11. Is your desk or cubicle a mess? Can you find the files you need on your computer? If your immediate surroundings are a wreck, your daily work life can feel unmanageable. Devote a few hours to organizing everything into a place and make a point to keep it that way, and you’ll be less likely to get stressed out in the first place.
What are some of the ways you relax at work so you can get more done?
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