There is no single effective method to managing stress. There are many stress relief tips and techniques that can be effective. And using a mixture of immediate “crisis” stress relief practices alongside ongoing, regular stress-relieving habits may have the greatest impact on mitigating stress in your everyday life.
If you don’t have a stress management plan already, creating one will go a long way to help you reduce the effects of daily hassles and build a healthy lifestyle that supports overall good health in the long term.
But where do you start? Creating new and healthy habits can be a challenge in and of itself. But if you hire a coach or therapist to help you reduce stress in your life, they will quickly tell you that the best way to form new and lasting habits is to attach the new desired habit to something you are already doing in your life.
When you look for what is already naturally occurring, you can find valuable opportunities to make incremental changes towards your health goals. Then, fitting in new habits doesn’t feel like such a challenge after all.
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Why You Need Stress Relief at Work
For a lot of people, stress is an expected part of the work environment. The most effective strategy for dealing with stress at work often boils down to which strategy feels like it is in your control. If you take walking breaks with your co-workers or eat lunch with the group every day – even though you’d rather not – then these techniques will not go very far to relieving your stress at work.
Doing something of your choice that you truly enjoy – and doing that thing alone – may actually support your stress relief goals better than simply participating in the usual office gatherings. Of course, if socializing on your breaks is refreshing and enjoyable, then this is also a good choice for stress relief provided you don’t feel pressured to do so.
When I am coaching clients who have difficulty making healthy lifestyle changes, one thing that often comes up is how and where to fit in the new habit. And oftentimes we look for “windows of opportunity” within their day. One of the largest windows is usually lunchtime. Most of the time – even if you work a busy or demanding job – you are taking lunch at some point during the day. So lunchtime is a great space to fit in stress relief practices. It also provides a nice midday checkpoint and an opportunity to purge some of the stress that has built up since the morning.
There are many different stress relief practices that you can fit into your lunch break. Here are some activities that can become habits to help you build stress resiliency at work. This is not a comprehensive list, but a place to get started. The key is to choose activities that are enjoyable and that you can stick with for the long term.
Easy Ways to Relieve Stress at Work During Lunchtime
1. Eat a Healthy Lunch
Self-care is a great way to relief stress at work. And an easy way to do this is to make sure you are eating a healthy lunch to nourish your body and replenish energy during the day. Having a healthy, balanced lunch will fill you up both mentally and physically, helping you to remain energized and focused for the second half of the day.
In addition to a balanced lunch, remaining hydrated also boosts energy and focus. Waiting too long to take lunch or skipping lunch altogether can lead to becoming overly hungry or “hangry” at work, leading to intensified feelings of stress.
If you’ve fallen into the habit of buying fast food at lunch for convenience, search for healthier restaurant options or better yet – start packing a healthy lunch at home so you can enjoy a nourishing meal and more down-time on your lunch break rather than scavenging for food.
2. Squeeze in Some Exercise
Exercise is an easy and effective way to manage stress. This does’t have to be a full workout. Even a short, brisk walk can do the trick to relieve some stress during your lunchtime. And it can be fit in in as little as 5 to 15 minutes during your lunchtime. Keep a pair of walking shoes at work.
If you’re short on time, here are some ideas to get moving inside the office:
- Do lunges.
- Flex and tighten muscles in your abs, glutes, and calves.
- Walk, jog, or run in place.
- Pretend you’re jumping rope.
- Do calf raises.
The key here is to move. Doing this will do wonders to wean stress out of your workday.
3. Enjoy Music
Listening to music can be a mood enhancer and stress reliever. Energize your body while de-stressing your mind by listening to music on your lunch break. This is a truly passive way to program stress relief into your day. Music can often sway us (literally) to feel one way or another. Fast paced music may energize and motivate you, while slow music may help you to calm down and relax in preparation for the next half of the day. Pop in some earbuds and tune in to music for stress relief during your lunchtime.
4. Seek Solitude
Sometimes getting away to a quiet place is all we need to unwind and let go of stress. So removing yourself from the workplace can be another great stress relief option. Find a quiet place such as a nearby park or uncrowded area near your workplace where you can sit and enjoy scenery or nature. This can help you to feel more connected and grounded, and help stress to dissipate.
5. Practice Yoga in the Office
Yoga doesn’t have to be done exclusively at home or the studio. There are some simple yoga moves that you can do in the office to help reduce stress during your workday. Doing a few simple poses or stretches is a quick way to relieve tension in your mind and body.
6. Write in a Journal
Dump your thoughts in a journal to relieve stress at work during lunchtime. Whether you simply keep a record of your thoughts or are intentional about keeping a gratitude journal, getting your thoughts down on paper can be very cleansing and help reduce stress. This can cause a ripple into your overall mood and mental well-being.
7. Listen to Something Motivational
If you are working in a stressful environment it can be quite motivating to listen to something positive or inspirational to offset the stress. Download an app and listen to some of your favorite podcasts during lunchtime.
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