How To Reduce Stress at Work

By Julailah Wahid

Meet my best friend – the stress ball.

Believe me when I say that he has been with me through thick and thin. My muscles are put to work each time I squeeze his malleable form repeatedly for ten seconds or more. Suddenly, all the tension from my hands caused by prolonged and excessive keyboard typing is released.

Thankfully, this little guy enjoys a firm grip, allowing me to channel my frustrations on him. What can I say? He keeps my sanity in check when I’m faced with difficult colleagues and piling tasks, and also doubles as a weapon to ward off nosy coworkers.

Reaching out for a stress ball in times of frustration may not be suffice for everyone, so here are three other ways to help reduce stress levels at work:

Maintain a stress-free work zone
Cluttered, disorganised desks can make your work environment seem more stressful than it really is. Plus, digging around stacks of paper and scattered stationery just to find a stapler might set you in a foul mood (if you weren’t already in one).

To keep your work desk neat and tidy, place magazines in a magazine holder or inside your drawers, and arrange documents in folders with labels indicating those containing important collateral (so you won’t have a hard time retrieving an important contract or agreement later on).

Remember, your workspace should be free of clutter, so leave your extensive manga toy collection and family of Care Bears at home. You wouldn’t want to miss an important memo left on your desk by your colleague or boss after all!

Since you spend about a third of your day at work, your workspace should also be visually stimulating. Photographs of your loved ones and pets can help you to stay motivated on long, tiresome days, and remind you of what you’re really working for.

Fire up those muscles
When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins, which gives your body positive energy while warding off anxiety and feelings of depression. For instance, athletes often experience a sense of “euphoria” after a good run or workout, leading to a positive and energising outlook on life.

If you’re feeling restless and lethargic at work, pump your energy level up by doing a set of 10 jumping jacks, squats and lateral lunges in a quiet space.

Take scheduled breaks
When you have a dozen tasks to complete and deadlines to meet, it is easy to stay chained to your desk for hours on end. Not only does this slow your body’s metabolic rate down, but it also builds up tension in both your mind and body.

Take five to ten minute breaks every two and a half hours to visit the washroom, catch up with a colleague or walk around the office vicinity for some fresh air. If you find it difficult to leave your desk for a breather, schedule regular alarms on your phone or computer that will remind you to take a break!

How else can you de-stress at work? Share with us in the comment box below!

The JobsCentral Group, a CareerBuilder company, is the owner of, one of Singapore's largest job and learning portals. Get a free career personality test and more career- and education-related articles at JobsCentral and JobsCentral Community. Alternatively, Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter for more career-centric content!

Career Central Tags: