Workplace stress is often associated with high-pressure careers such as those in emergency medicine, aviation, and law enforcement fields. Professionals who work in an office, including lawyers, can also experience high levels of stress throughout the day. Knowing how to relieve stress at your desk can help you reduce some of your physical pain while also improving your mental health.
Most Stressed Employees
A recent Gallup poll has found that workers in the US are some of the most stressed in the world. The survey data combined results for US and Canadian workers but found that they ranked highest for daily stress levels out of all the groups participating in the survey. Approximately 57% of US and Canadian workers reported feeling stress daily. This number was an eight percentage point increase from the prior year. Globally, 43% of workers reported feeling daily stress at work.
Gallup’s chief workplace scientist, Jim Harter, says that the rates of daily stress as well as sadness, worry, and anger have been on an upward trend in workers in the US since 2009. Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, financial insecurity, and racial trauma have also been factors in the stress level during the past year and a half.
Women Experiencing Stress Spikes
In the past year in particular, the stress levels for women in the workplace have spiked. The poll found that 62% of working women in the US and Canada feel daily stress in their job, compared to 52% of men. During the pandemic, added stressors for women have included ongoing childcare challenges and “gendered expectations for caregiving” in the home.
Relieving Stress at Your Desk
Whether working from home or in the office, a professional position that requires you to sit at your desk for hours on end can be very stressful. You are faced with deadlines, client demands, and the need to constantly produce quality work with very little opportunity to get up and move around. Physical movement is quite beneficial to your mental health, particularly during a stressful workday.
Take some time today to try these quick stress relievers at your desk:
Progressive muscle relaxation to let go of tension. When you are stressed, you tend to tense your muscles. Doing this consistently can actually cause you to stop noticing that your muscles are tight, which could lead to sore muscles and pain in your neck and shoulders.
To help relieve stress at your desk, start by slowly tensing and then relaxing sets of muscles throughout your body. Start with your toes and work up to your neck. After doing this several times, you’ll start to become more aware of when you’re tensing your muscles throughout a stress-filled day.
Visualization. Take a quick mental vacation when you cannot physically leave your desk. Visualize a relaxing scene, such as a beach or a mountain retreat. Close your eyes and imagine that you are there. Focus on your senses, engaging your sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to truly take in the relaxing scene. This brief mental retreat can help you relax your mind and your body.
Deep breathing exercises. The American Institute of Stress has called deep breathing exercises the “best stress reduction technique.” The exercise can increase the supply of oxygen going to your brain and promote a sense of calmness within you. Deep breathing exercises can be as simple as taking a few slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm. Focus on your breathing as you do the exercises. Becoming more aware of how you breath can produce a natural relaxation response.
Activities that engage your senses. Whether listening to music or looking at family photos, engaging certain senses for a few minutes can reduce your stress by refocusing your attention. Try putting scented lotion on your hands or even eating a favorite piece of candy. Experiment to find the sensory activity that works best for your stress relief at your desk.
A hearty chuckle. Yes, laughter can be the best medicine, particularly for stress. A hearty chuckle can stimulate your circulation, relieving some of the physical symptoms of stress. Laughing can also increase the endorphins that are released by your brain, which produces a more relaxed feeling throughout your body.
Share a funny story with a co-worker or read the cartoons in the newspaper. Remember, also, that being able to laugh at yourself can serve as a reminder that you shouldn’t take life so seriously. That can do wonders for your stress level.
Outpatient Treatment for Professionals in Philadelphia
At Providence Treatment, we understand that, as a professional, you experience chronic stress. When your stress leads to drug and alcohol use, it is time to get help for your mental and physical health. When you are ready to get outpatient addiction treatment in Philadelphia, we are ready to help you. Our expertise is in serving high-profile clients and licensed professionals like you.
Don’t let mental health issues or an addiction to drugs or alcohol take over your life. You can overcome addiction with outpatient treatments at Providence Treatment. If you need help getting clean, then contact us at 484.469.9592, and you can begin your recovery as soon as possible.