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You probably have a lot on your plate. Juggling multiple responsibilities while managing tight deadlines leads to a lot of built-up stress and negative energy. Without proper leadership and stress management practices in place, HR professionals – as well as the workforce they are there to help – can succumb to the dreaded ‘employee burnout’.

While a little bit of stress can help you meet deadlines and even improve job performance, chronic stress can have huge consequences on mental and physical health, including increased risk for heart disease and higher cholesterol.

Based on self-reports, the Labour Force Survey 2015/16 estimates that 11.7 million working-days are lost due to work-related stress, anxiety, and depression. Is stress costing your company more than you can afford? Consider encouraging de-stressing exercises or initiating an Employee Wellness Program.

If you’ve already tried those, here are another 8 easy ways for anyone to relieve stress at work:

 

  1. Find a dog (or cat) to pet.

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Lucky enough to have a dog-friendly office? According to this
2012 Virginia Commonwealth University Study, employees who brought their dogs to work experienced an 11% decline in stress levels while those who didn’t have a furry pal near them saw their stress levels rise up to 70% by the end of the day.

Don’t have a pet friendly office? That’s okay, you can always pull up a Youtube video of baby animals. Researcher Hiroshi Nittono at Hiroshima University found that looking at pictures of puppies, panda cams, and grumpy cat videos at work not only improved mood, but also increased productivity😸

 

2. Smile at Yourself
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According to this NBC News Report, science has shown that simply smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, and boost our immune systems. Dr. Sivan Finkel adds, “Even forcing a fake smile can legitimately reduce stress and lower your heart rate.” Don’t want to fake a smile at your desk? Find a private space, and use that time to simply smile. 😊

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3. Find Some Trees to 'Bathe In"
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Research shows that the practice of spending time in a wooded area (also known as ‘forest bathing’) lifts your mood and is good for your body. You can do this at a park, in a garden, or anywhere with some greenery. Irina Wen, Ph.D., clinical director of the Steven A. Military Family Clinic at NYU Langone Medical Center says, “Nature can be beneficial for mental health… It reduces cognitive fatigue and stress and can be helpful with depression and anxiety.” 🌲

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4. Stay Hydrated
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Drinking water is not only good for your body, but it’s also good for your mind. In a recent study titled Habitual total water intake and dimensions of mood in healthy young women” by Coleen Muñoz, it was found that there was a correlation between how much water a participant consumed and their mood state. If we are what we eat, then we are what we drink, too. Be like water. 💧

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5. Take a Break Have a (Healthy) Snack
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Stress eating can get the best of us, but luckily some snacks are better for us than others. Instead of energy-sapping sweet treats, transform your stress-eating habits by choosing fiber-and-nutrient-rich snacks, which satisfies hunger and enables more focus.

If you need some ideas on what to make, here are 121 Easy & Delicious Healthy Snacks For Every Type of Snacker. Bon appetit! 🍌

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6. Find Some Alone Time, Anywhere
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As a way to de-stress, solitude is underrated. If your job involves interfacing with many people and helping them with their problems, solitude can be an effective way to disarm your stress. Although many businesses don’t always provide a space where you can be alone, you can find solitude anywhere. When you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, try finding a spot (yes, even the bathroom or your car) to be alone for a few moments.

Another tip: For true “deactivation”, try not using your phone during your moment of solitude. 😌

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7. Invite A Workmates to a New Lunch Spot
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Boring lunches can have a dampening effect on your mood. Spice up your routine by trying a new lunch spot. Better yet, invite a coworker you typically don’t eat with to join! That’s just one way to de-stress during your lunch break... here’s 10 more things to try at lunch🍔

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8. Catch The Sunset

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Sitting still, meditating, or watching the sunset sky can all have a calming effect on our minds. Research has found time and time again that feeling connected with nature improves our emotional well-being. Here are a few other ways showing  “How Admiring the Sunset Changes You for the Better”. 🌅


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Janice Chang

Janice Chang is an illustrator/designer from Los Angeles who graduated from Art Center College of Design. You can find her in her shared studio/home in LA creating characters, people watching, painting, and eating a lot of kbbq.