We may liken ourselves to the Amazons of Themyscira but we don’t have indestructible bracelets or superhero stamina. We need efficiency breaks. Here are our Top 10 picks for combatting stress throughout the day—and yes, chocolate made the list.
Find your inner child and put your hands in the air. Then wave ‘em like you just don’t care. If you aren’t one for freestyling, then go back to basics and do ten jumping jacks. Try it during your next spreadsheet session and you’ll find yourself powering through those logic functions!
CHUG CHUG CHUG
…some water! We try to follow the “drink half your bodyweight in ounces per day” rule in our office. Sometimes it takes some self-bribery with a bubbly LaCroix or ultra-hydrating alkaline water. It also helps to tote it around in a cool bottle—S’well®, Hydro Flask, or some swanky crystal vessel. Of course, you can always make it into a competition to boost hydration and company culture. Let the games begin!
Meditation, even for just two minutes, helps you be more mindful throughout the day. Chade-Meng-Tan, Chairman of the ‘Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute’ explains the importance of doing less than your limit when meditating; it shouldn’t feel like a chore. If your max is five minutes, try sitting in mindfulness for just three or four. Do it the next time your “5-minute” calendar reminder pops up before a client meeting!
Stretch It Out
Our bodies aren’t made to sit for 40 hours each week. Take inspiration from our four-legged family members and stretch throughout the day. Fold your upper body down, drop your head, unclench your jaw, grab each elbow, and let yourself sway the “computer hunch” away. This is especially helpful for those who have essentially taken up residence in the Creative Suite.
Have A Tree Chat
Close the office door and go complain to a tree. Seriously. Maybe checkfor passers-by first, but then it’s no holds barred for at least 15 minutes as suggested by Marina Abramović, the ‘grandmother of performance art’. If you can’t bring yourself to talk to a plant, just go look at one! Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing” is a Japanese technique in preventative medicine to help relieve stress. Don’t live in a forest? An urban space with tree-lined streets will work just fine.
Lavender essential oils aren’t only for bedtime, they work well for the “in the moment” stress you get when you can’t leave your keyboard. Using a roller, massage a small amount into your wrists and temples. Your amygdala, the neural center of emotions, will thank you.
Walk Around the Block
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche.
If it’s good enough for Nietzsche, it’s good enough for us. Walking allows you to make space for new thoughts and ideas that are otherwise stifled by stagnation. As Austinites, we’re also just big fans of Vitamin D.
Funk It Up
We try to live up to our name and maintain a fairly chic office setting, but individual spaces call for something a little funkier. I have a Buddha Board and anytime someone comes to talk, they pick up the brush and start painting. It has a calming effect plus it’s fun to see everyone express themselves! Our other funky-accessory faves? Illana’s Rick and Morty Mr. Meeskees box and Adam’s “X-Ray Charles” postcard.
If you’re tempted to snack throughout the day, try bringing your own prepared bites to keep your energy up instead of reaching for sugary sweets or potato chips. Studies have shown that consistently eating a piece of dark chocolate or drinking a cup of green tea reduces stress levels within a two-week period. So, keep calm and sip or nibble on.
Grab your keys, get in your car, and scream. It’s cathartic, therapeutic, and lets you truly get things off your chest. It’s amazing how we manage to hold so much in and not feel we have the freedom to let it all go. When your done releasing your inner banshee, roll the windows down and let the breeze take the bad vibes away.
Choose an “Office Jam”—the pick-me-up song that, when played, demands an office-wide dance party. Dancing for five minutes gets your blood pumping and lets you pick up some rad dance moves from your co-workers. Here’s ours:
Now, put it to practice! Like many of you, I’m at my desk all day—so one of the easiest and most effective options for me are stretch breaks. You may be more the type to keep a few water bottles by your side for marathon design editing. Figure out which tips work for you in becoming a stress-combatting warrior and you’ll be well on your way to Amazon status. We just can’t promise the building-leap level quads.