We hear it over and over again -- Americans work too much, don't use their vacation days, stay attached to the office all day and night and spend too much time at their desks. Today, on National Relaxation Day, we're calling on all of you to stop and take a deep breath. When the daily grind becomes too much to handle, try one of these simple stress relievers to bring peace and productivity back to your day.
1.) Take a walk outside.
It seems like every day, someone else publishes research about the dangers of sitting at a desk all day. Get up and go outside for some fresh air; the combination of sunshine and exercise will do wonders for your body and spirit. Need a little extra incentive? A recent study from the American Psychological Associatio n found that taking a walk may lead to more creative thinking than sitting, so you'll be able to come up with better ideas and problem-solving solutions as well.
2.) Leave the office for lunch.
According to a 2011 survey by human resources consulting firm Right Management, 65 percent of employees either eat at their desks or don’t eat at all. This needs to stop -- in fact, there are multiple reasons and a variety of research that fully explain why you shouldn't be skipping your lunch breaks. Take your full hour, head out of the office (with or without coworkers) and enjoy your well-deserved break time.
3.) Clean your desk.
A clutter-free workspace can help keep you focused and organized, reducing the stress of searching for something in the future. Your desk is more than just a landing place for unnecessary paperwork; it's actually a huge source of germs, as well. Grab the cleaning solution and a paper shredder and reorganize your workspace. Our advice? Try putting your daily-use items on top of your desk and filing away the things you use monthly. Toss everything else!
4.) Browse the internet.
Take a 15-minute break from a particularly stressful project to have a bit of personal time. Check your Facebook page, respond to a couple of personal emails or check out a viral video. A study from Loma Linda University suggests that laughter (like the kind that comes after watching a cat video on YouTube) can improve mood and immune function and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, so we suggest you do it for your health!
5.) Hit the gym.
Stop sweating about that deadline and start sweating in the gym. Hit up the office exercise room, try some squats at your desk, take a bike ride, or toss a frisbee with a coworker. A little exercise will increase your heart rate and get your blood flowing, making it easier to return to your desk with renewed energy.
6.) Take a snack break.
If you're feeling stressed and sluggish, try taking a look at your snack habits. Skip the caffeine, sugar and processed foods and opt for a cup of green tea of a handful of almonds. Not only will it provide a mental break from your work, but it will also help fuel your body when you go back to your project.
Take an emotional chill pill by practicing deep breathing exercises and focusing on positive thoughts. Numerous studies have proven that meditation at work can lower stress levels and boost productivity and efficiency.
8.) Plan your weekend -- or vacation.
Looking forward to the upcoming weekend, or better yet your vacation time, can easily cheer you up and take your mind off of the immediate work day. Take a minute or two to visualize an event you're looking forward to.
9.) Run an errand.
Head out of the office for a bit to run to the bank, post office, grocery store or local mall. Not only will it allow you to take a proper break, but it also means you'll have one less thing on your personal to-do list.
10.) Listen to music.
Spotify has a great selection of playlists by mood, so you can choose tunes that will help boost your mood or your productivity. Whether you're looking for ambient music to help you focus or happy music to lift your spirits, we're sure you can find something to suit your current feelings.