How are you doing today? Take moment to check in with yourself before you continue reading.
Are you stressed, burnt out, or overwhelmed? If so, you're not alone. According to Gallup, employees across the globe are more stressed than ever—with 44% reporting a lot of daily stress. And, while people everywhere are feeling the burden of stress, working women in the U.S. and Canada were among the most stressed employees globally. Another study reported that 76% of respondents agree that workplace stress affects their mental health. (FlexJobs)
Your mental health matters. Read that again. Finding ways to relax and destress has to be a top priority in your life because if it's not, your mental health suffers. And when your mental health suffers, every other aspect of your life—your health, work, and relationships—suffer as well. So, take a deep breath. It's time to spend the next few minutes making a list of all the ways you can relax and destress.
Here are our teams list of favorite ways to unwind:
Exercise. The harder I push, the more I sweat, the more I sweat, the more I feel like I have done something good for myself. During the worst of the pandemic I walked so many miles I had to buy a new pair of shoes every 6 months. I just made laps around my neighborhood. (Angie) I have found the best way for me to positive and present for my family, and not mired down in the events of the day, is to work out as soon as I get home. It gives me the the physical and mental space to work through the days events without taking it out on anyone else - then compounding the stress problem with spouse guilt, mom guilt, and everything else! (Sarah)
Spend time with people outside of your work life. My family and friends have no idea who I am at the office or even what I do. So we talk about everything but work. I love hearing about the things that are important to them. It puts my work into perspective—work is work—and just one thing that defines me. (Angie)
Watch your favorite TV show. I watch an obsessive amount of the Food Network, HGTV, or the Travel Channel. There is something simple and relaxing in watching someone prepare something yummy, or make a space that didn't work be more functional and beautiful. I also love to travel so seeing where I could go to get away from all my problems is so much fun for me. (Angie)
Tap into nature. Looking at or being near water is my favorite thing to do to relax. Even if its on your desktop, a nice photo of a large body of water can really bring serenity. (Lynne)
Use an app. I really like the Calm app. It really helps me focus and be mindful, settle myself and center. It depends on the person but for me, it really helps me take my mind off of the whirling and spinning and allows it to focus on one thing. (Lynne)
Work on a hobby. Do a jigsaw puzzle, needlepoint, crochet, read a book, something with your hands but clearing your mind! (Lynne)
Phone a friend. You can both use a break! a good chat, a bit of laughter and connecting with someone you love is a welcome relief from a stressful day. (Lynne)
Pause. Take a deep breath and zoom out for perspective. Oftentimes, I find that stress starts to close in when I'm mired in the minutia of a project or overwhelmed with the details of many projects converging at once. Zooming out allows me to see the big picture and remember to tackle each step one at a time to reach the finish line. Being close to the mountains, my favorite thing to do is physically zoom out by getting outside for a hike. It's a great way to reinvigorate my body and spirit and a good reminder that the world around us is bigger and filled with more wonder than the computer screen. (Matthew)
Disconnect. Sometimes it helps just to put the phone down, tuck it away (maybe even turn it OFF -- gasp!), and focus on life happening right in front of us. Our constant connectivity and the associated deluge of information overload are a common stressor that just sort of lurks in the background. Taming the need for a dose of adrenaline those incoming notifications offer is a helpful way to lower the baseline stress level we carry with us daily. (Matthew)
Read. I like to destress is by reading an article or a few chapters in a book that IS related to my work. In the grip of stress, it's easy to lose sight of why I'm doing all of this in the first place. Checking out new industry research or a thought-provoking blog can help recharge and refocus my brain, providing a spark of needed motivation to get back at it! (Matthew)
Listen to music. A well-curated sound track gives you a great outlet for anger, sadness, fear, frustration and any other mood you may be in—positive or negative. Pairing music with your favorite hobby, physical activity, or sitting by your favorite body of water will help give you the extra boost you need to destress. (Sarah)
Find a small task that you can easily complete. Maybe it’s going through the snail-mail piled up on your desk or deleting emails from your inbox. I like a project where I can clearly see the beginning, middle, and end, and none of the steps depend on other people’s approval or response. Finishing projects or tasks like this gives you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment and—perhaps more importantly—helps take your focus off of stress. (Jan)
These are just the few of the ways our team likes recharge. What are your favorite ways to relax during stressful times? Share your thoughts in the comments below.