Professional Development Work-Life Balance

7 Proven Ways to Manage Stress at Work

Written by Kate Lopaze

Stress. I have it, you have it, we all keep sending it around and around like that nasty cold everyone in your office got last month. Stress is one of the biggest culprits in workplace dissatisfaction—and more than that, it takes its toll on your health and well-being. Who needs that? Here are seven ways to counteract some of the stress that pops up in your everyday life.

Treat Yourself

Sure, a Rolex would be nice, but not terribly feasible for most of us. You know what you can do instead? Take half an hour to treat yourself to a latte. Block out an evening to go see that movie you’ve been eyeing for weeks. Anything that breaks the routine and lets you do something you enjoy works here.

manage stress at work

DIY Aromatherapy

Studies have shown that fruit scents (especially green apple) can lessen pain in migraine sufferers. Fruits like apples and citrus are great for calming nerves. Also, herbal scents like peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender often have calming, anti-depressant effects. If your local farmer’s market isn’t in season (or if you’d feel weird skulking around the produce section of your local grocery store, sniffing everything in sight), a nice candle and a few quick moments of deep breathing can help get you back to your happy place when things are hairy.

manage stress at work

Beach Staycation

You’re on a calm, sandy beach, watching the waves. Is that a dolphin frolicking in the distance? Some gentle gull calls in the distance? Watching something repetitive like waves can help your brain zone out and decompress. The tropical vacation may not be an option right now, but you can find some good temporary (and indoor solutions).

manage stress at work

Find a Leafy Friend

Did you ever do that science experiment when you were a kid, where you see whether plants grow better when they’re talked to? Well, regardless of whether the plant does better, having a plant on your desk can help you de-stress at work. Studies have shown that adding some greenery can lower one’s blood pressure. Plus, the occasional care (watering pruning, shifting to a sunbeam) gives you a welcome distraction from the daily grind. And it’s a great option if you’re allergic to cuddlier stress-busters like pets.

manage stress at work

Pick up a Coloring Book

You may have noticed this whole “adult coloring book” trend lately. Publishers are coming out with all sorts of coloring formats for grownups, busting the conventional wisdom that coloring is a kids’ game. Coloring is great for the adult brain too…repetitive motions and patterns let the brain decompress.

manage stress at work

Massage Your Ears

Okay, I know this one sounds weird. But massaging your ears for a minute or two releases endorphins throughout your body and promotes relaxation throughout.

manage stress at work

Cute Animal Videos

If all else fails, I dare you to stay stressed and unhappy while watching videos of adorable animals doing adorable things. YouTube is the cute animal video capital of the world, and is always great for a two minute pick-me-up when you’re having a rough day.

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.