Working in marketing almost always comes with a hefty serving of stress. Whether it’s a conflict with an internal stakeholder, a looming deadline, or major business changes…rarely does a day go by without a little hair-pulling. You might think that de-stressing is for the weak or the unmotivated, and that working right through your lunch break is “being productive”, but over-working can actually do more harm than good in the long run.
If you don’t give yourself a chance to at least manage workplace stress, you’ll be too tired to even reach that deadline. So, here are 11 ways to de-stress at work without sacrificing productivity.
11 Ways To De-Stress At Work Without Sacrificing Productivity
- Use Your Lunch Break Wisely
- Give Yourself Mini-Breaks
- Block Social Media
- Exercise on the Job
- Use a Standing Desk
- Give Yourself a Hand Massage
- Put on Your Headphones
- Keep Snacks at Your Desk
- Get Involved at Work
- Finish the Harder Tasks First
- Create a To-Do List
1. Use Your Lunch Break Wisely
And no, we don’t mean use your lunch to finish work! You get only one lunch break, so make sure that whatever you’re doing on that lunch break is de-stressing you in some way.
Going outside would be an awesome choice. Also, hanging out in the lunchroom with your fellow employees is a great way to unwind. Why? Socializing regularly can increase your level of oxytocin which is responsible for decreasing anxiety levels and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. This boost of oxytocin is known to help people cope with stress.
Use that half-hour to the best of your ability…avoid using it to check Facebook or continue working on your computer as you scarf down a sub. Make it your goal to come back from every lunch break refreshed and ready to hit the desk with high energy.
2. Give Yourself Mini-Breaks
In addition to your lunch break, taking mini-breaks every 90 minutes or so is another one of the great ways to de-stress at work without sacrificing productivity.
Staring at a screen all day can really start to drive a person crazy, so set a timer that goes off automatically whenever feels best for your schedule and use that moment to grab some water, get a snack from the kitchen, go to the bathroom, or strike up a friendly conversation with a co-worker.
If you find yourself lost in your work and amazed at the time, it may help to use a timer. Online pomodoro apps or Tomato Timer can gently remind you to take a moment to breathe, without needing to install anything extra.
Doesn’t really matter what you do, just get up and move around a bit. This will keep you loose and will break up the day, making your job seem fun and keeping your personal morale high.
3. Block Social Media
It’s bad enough that the project you’re working on is stressing you out, so try not to check your social media accounts while you’re working.
It’s just “one more thing” that’s taking up space in your mind. Even though you know that responding to your friend’s tweet isn’t urgent, it’s still a distraction and can bother you without you even knowing it.
Promise yourself that you won’t check social media until work is through, or better yet, download an app that will block social media from both your phone and your desktop computer from 9-5. Apps like Freedom are great for this very purpose. Unless you’re a social media manager, you don’t need to be checking it throughout the day and you’ll find that your mind is able to stay clear, stress-free, and laser-focused on the task at hand.
4. Exercise on the Job
There are so many ways to sneak in some exercise throughout your workday. Something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to get your blood pumping and release those coveted endorphins!
Another one of the best ways to de-stress at work without sacrificing productivity is to invest in under-the-desk exercise equipment. Sit on an exercise ball or buy an under-the-desk cycling system. Put the pedal to the metal while you get closer and closer to hitting that final deadline. You’ll be burning off stress while staying engaged with your assignment.
5. Use A Standing Desk
Standing desks are all the rage these days and if you have your own office, you can easily bring one into replace your traditional sitting desk. Sitting for long periods can actually have a negative effect on both your physical health and your mental health. A recent study found that those who spend most of their days sitting, in a sedentary position have a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Staying on your feet appears to be crucial to preserve brainpower!
6. Give Yourself A Hand Massage
Being a desk jockey and everything…your hands can rack up some serious tension throughout the day. With all that typing and writing…it’s a wonder you can even still move them! Take a minute every day to massage your hands, including your forearm. The area right below your elbow is a great place to rub to relieve tension brought on by typing. If you were to wear a watch and then slide it all the way up to just below your elbow, the watch face would be where you’d massage.
You’ll feel a release all the way down your arm into your fingers! It really does work and helps to loosen your hands up. Try it on your next mini-break!
7. Put On Your Headphones
If music doesn’t distract you too much, try listening to some music while you work —it’s one of the best ways to de-stress at work without sacrificing productivity. Classical or ambient music has a naturally calming effect on the brain, but anything that makes you feel “in the zone” is fair game. Even if it’s heavy metal, if it helps you focus, throw it on!
8. Keep Snacks At Your Desk
Not only will regular snacking give you something to look forward to throughout the day, it will also keep your blood sugar balanced. If you’ve often wondered why you feel so tired at the end of the day, it could be that you’re not eating enough or not eating the proper foods. When you don’t eat at regular intervals throughout the day, your blood sugar will “crash”, leaving you with nervousness and mood swings. When you don’t eat enough, your body overcompensates by pumping adrenaline, which adds to the stress that’s already on your plate. Avoid all of this by keeping healthy snacks at your desk. Slow-burning carbohydrates like whole grains, low-sugar fruits like berries and apples, nuts and beans are great for keeping your blood sugar (and stress level) in check.
9. Get Involved At Work
Turn your workplace into something more than just “boring old work” and give yourself something exciting to-do while you’re there. Join the party-planning committee, organize a bowling tournament, or plan a weekly outing to a nearby pub. If there’s some sort of extracurricular activity going on, join it! It’ll give you something else to talk about with people besides your looming deadlines and you’ll find yourself actually looking forward to going to work more often than not.
10. Finish The Harder Tasks First
It might be tempting to tackle the easy, fun stuff first…but you’ll feel so much better if you get it out of the way as soon as possible. If you pull up and do the most difficult task at the beginning of the day, you’ll be able to take that deep sigh of relief and then take it easy with the simpler tasks for the remainder of the day. This way you won’t be spending all of your time thinking about it. You used your time wisely and now you’re sitting (or standing) pretty.
11. Create A To-Do List
You probably already do this…but checking off a to-do list is a great way to organize your thoughts and to feel like you’re in control despite your heavy workload. If you write all of your tasks down in a concise list, you won’t have to spend time thinking about all the things you need to get done and you can save that energy for something more important. Also, your task list might be a lot more do-able than you had previously thought and you probably wouldn’t have known that unless you wrote it all out.
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Cubicle Ninjas helps take off some of that extra pressure, so you can focus on what you love. Design. Development. Motion. Even Augmented and Virtual Reality. Get more done with less stress. Ready to start a project? Contact us to learn more!
Or check out our other articles on the 10 signs you need a website update or our tips on how to run an effective meeting. These may help make life a bit brighter!