Stress and anxiety in the workplace are nothing new. Yet, over the last year or so, workers at every level have experienced tension and uncertainty at increasing rates. So whether you are a stressed-out employee or an employer looking for ways to reduce stress for your team, learning creative ways to reduce stress at work can be beneficial to you both.
First, let’s look at some creative ways employers can help manage stress at work, and then we’ll move on to some unique ways that employees can manage their stress as well.
5 Creative ways employers can help reduce stress for their employees
1. Game Tables
Nothing blows off a little steam like a friendly competitive ping pong game. If you have some space that will accommodate, put a few game tables in the break room and let the fun begin. If space is limited, there are plenty of small size games that will serve the same purpose.
Encourage your employees to take mini-breaks to recharge, refocus and manage stress.
2. Walking Meetings
Who says meetings have to occur around a table in a stuffy room. If you don’t have to use a computer or any other electronics, why not take the meeting outdoors. Or even to the halls of your workplace.
Walking is not only great for the body, but it’s also a great way to burn off a little stress.
Okay, this might seem over the top, but I’m not talking about an hour-long massage session with low lights, music, and candles.
No, I’m thinking more along the lines of a 10-minute therapeutic neck or shoulder massage right there in the office. (Ahh, can you imagine?) So, where do I sign up?
Studies show that even a quick 10-minute massage may help stressed-out individuals. Now, I admit, this might be the most creative way to reduce stress at work, but I’ll bet it would increase your chances of receiving the employer of the year award.
4. Flex Time
With so many uncertainties and pandemic pressures on the workforce today, why not give your employees some wiggle room in the hours they have to work. If it is feasible and their work is getting done, does it really matter what time they are doing it?
Allow them to flex their schedule to fit the other demands in their life right now. Giving your employees a little freedom to control their work schedule will help manage stress levels.
5. Hand out stress-relief toys
Using stress-relief toys can be a great mindfulness technique that aids in releasing negative energy, improving moods, and helping employees think more clearly.
There’s everything from budget-friendly stress balls to the latest gadgets that can help your employees build, spin, fling, stretch and doodle their way to reducing stress and increased productivity.
5 Creative ways employees can reduce stress at work
1. Get artsy
Did you know that the average person has about 60,000 thoughts in a day?(Remember, I said, average. Because I know you immediately thought of someone that would make that statement disputable.)
Anyway, creativity can calm the overthinking brain and reduce stress and anxiety. Simple acts such as crafting, adult coloring books, painting, or drawing can help you productively manage your negative emotions.
2. Organize employee group walks
Exercise is a tried and true stress reliever. It can bump up the production of endorphins (the feel-good chemicals) in the brain that are your body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
So think about organizing one or more groups of co-workers to participate in short walks during the day at work. You could even make it a friendly fitness competition for teams with fitness trackers. And to make it fun, perhaps the winning team could get rewarded with a treat supplied by the opposing group.
3. Take a comedy break
When you laugh, physical changes occur that affect you mentally. For example, laughter increases your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and releases endorphins from your brain.
Of course, you can’t watch a full two-hour comedy during work. However, you can have some simple items on hand, such as photos, comic strips, or greeting cards to make you laugh when you need a punch of humor. Or, during small designated breaks, you can always pull up humorous clips online.
There’s nothing like a good hearty laughing session to keep the anxiety at bay.
4. Blow on your thumb
Yes, I know, it sounds crazy.
But our thumbs have their own pulse and have a direct impact on what’s called the vagus nerve. This nerve runs from the brain and sends signals down to all the major organs and tissues.
So when you blow on your thumb you stimulate the vagus nerve, which can regulate your heart rate and lower your blood pressure, thereby helping you calm down and de-stress.
There’s a couple of different methods to do this, but here is an easy one that won’t be too conspicuous. First, take a deep breath for seven seconds. Then hold it for three seconds. Now blow on your thumb for seven seconds, and repeat.
If you want to learn more methods, be sure to click on the link above.
5. Gaze at fractals
Fractals are geometric figures which contain similar repeating patterns. And, they are all around us, although we rarely pay attention to them. But researchers have found that looking at fractals can reduce stress levels by 60%.
So you might be wondering, where in the world do I find these fractals. Well, an excellent place to start is in nature. For example, look up at the clouds as they pass by. Or inspect the structures of flowers. Also, look for fractals in art, technology and architecture.
Now, understandably so, if you are at work, it’s not convenient to go lay out on the grass and gaze up in the sky. However, there are plenty of videos online where you can experience the stress-reducing effects of fractals.
There’s even a Frax app you can download so you can play around with computer-generated fractals.
Don’t we all wish we could eliminate stress from the workplace? But, unfortunately, that’s as far as it will get—a wish.
What is factual, however, is there are ways to reduce stress at work that, at the same time, can be fun and unique.
So, whether you are an employer looking for ways to help your team or an employee looking for ways to reduce stress, I feel confident that you will find one or more of the above ways helpful.
Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or make an appointment online. I look forward to working with you as you learn new ways to manage your workplace anxiety and help you feel more comfortable and confident in your job.