Technically, National Relaxation Day is today—Saturday, August 15th—and we encourage every ninja out there to fully kick back this weekend. Seriously—dig out the lawn chairs, put a little paper umbrella in a frosty drink and CHILL. OUT.
But keep in mind that having big plans to do nothing doesn’t preclude you from incorporating little moments of relaxation into your time at the office. Stress can mess with your health and ultimately make you less effective at your job. Try embracing workplace serenity with these five simple suggestions.
Get Your Greens + Vitamin D
We’re not talking about sipping on a smoothie (though, that’s not a bad idea). We mean escaping the confines of your climate controlled office and getting a dose of nature and sunshine.
According to this New York Times article, which covered a study by the National Academy of Sciences, a stroll in the park can reduce “brooding” and improve your mood. See if you can step outside for your mid-morning coffee break or eat your lunch under a tree.
Schedule Lunch with Your Most Calming Friend
We all have those friends and coworkers who star in the leading role of their own personal soap opera. We love these people dearly, but navigating their endless supply of drama is exhausting and can negatively influence our own stress levels.
Give yourself permission to avoid your more high maintenance contacts for 24 hours and interact only with people who have a knack for helping you feel grounded and at ease.
Stock Up on the Essentials
Essential oils, that is! Our sense of smell is SO powerful. Cinnamon and nutmeg can make us nostalgic for Christmas in the middle of August, while coconut-scented sunscreen can conjure beach dreams in the midst of a blizzard.
Scents like lavender and chamomile are known for reducing anxiety and reducing tension. Keep a small bottle or roller of your favorite stress-reducing essential oil at your desk and apply throughout the day. (21 Drops makes blends like “Calm,” “De-Stress,” and “Carry On.”)
Temper Your Afternoon Pick-Me-Up
We’re not going to suggest ditching caffeine all together—we live in the real world. But, it’s possible that your afternoon cold brew or latte is more about comfort or habit than necessity. Maybe you’d be just as happy with decaf or a cup of herbal tea? Try something that’s more soothing than stimulating and see how you feel.
Practice Box Breathing
If you’re feeling the need to focus or slow down your breathing, try box breathing. Think of your breath pattern as having four equal sides (like a box):
Inhale for a count of 4
Hold your inhale for a count of 4
Exhale for a count of 4
Hold your exhale for a count of 4
Box breathing is a super handy tool because, unlike meditation or chanting, you can do it at your desk, in a meeting, or on a phone call. (Though, if you have the uncontrollable urge to start chanting in the middle of a meeting, we wholeheartedly support that.)
Don’t wait for quitting time to relax! Start reaping the benefits of a Zen workstyle today.
What’s your favorite tip for relaxing on the clock?