Updated on March 13th, 2018
Unfortunately, sometimes the way you start your day is the way your entire day will be. Stuck in traffic? Prepare to be anxious for a long time. Fortunately, we can use this to our advantage if we proactively start our day on the right foot.
The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. And four out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing uncertainly about their futures. This may be why more than 40% of adults say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day.
This list of 17 quick tips will give you a variety of little things that you can do from what to keep at your desk to things you can do when your boss drives you mad.
1. Take A Deep Breath
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance, says expert. Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose.
2. Schedule Your Day For Energy And Focus
Most of us go through the day using a “push, push, push” approach, thinking if we work the full eight to 10 hours, we’ll get more done. Instead, productivity goes down, stress levels go up and you have very little energy left over for your family, scheduling breaks throughout the day to walk, stretch at your desk or do a breathing exercise.
3. Eat Right And Sleep Well
Eating badly will stress your system,” says Melnick, who advises eating a low-sugar, high-protein diet. “And when you’re not sleeping well, you’re not getting the rejuvenating effects.” According to the CDC, an estimated 60 million Americans do not get sufficient sleep, which is a critical recovery period for the body.
If racing thoughts keep you from falling asleep or you wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep, Melnick suggests a simple breathing trick that will knock you out fast: Cover your right nostril and breathe through your left for three to five minutes.
4. Cool Down Quickly
When you feel frustrated or angry, it’s a heated feeling in your body that can cause you to react,” says Melnick. Instead of immediately reacting—and likely overreacting—she suggests trying a “cooling breath” technique: Breathe in through your mouth as if you are sipping through a straw, and then breathe out normally through your nose.
Done right, you’ll feel a cooling, drying sensation over the top of your tongue. It’s like hitting the “pause” button, giving you time to think about your response. She says, “It’s so powerful it will even calm the other person down.”
5. Reset The Panic Button
For those who become panic-y and short of breath before a presentation, Expert says you can quickly reduce your anxiety with the right acupressure point. Positioning your thumb on the side of your middle finger and applying pressure instantly helps regulate your blood pressure.
6. De-Clutter Your Desk
BEFORE YOU SKIP THIS ONE: what if I said it only takes 5 minutes? I know, this one sucks. But if you’re the type of person to get out of work as fast as you can, chances are, you left your desk a mess. Take 5 minutes to clean off your desk each morning. Just making everything neat can make a big difference.
7. File Paperwork
Going along with number 1, always make sure paperwork is filed. If not, the best you can do is get the papers off your desk. Even the floor is better. If you don’t need to use it RIGHT NOW, then it doesn’t need to be within your field of vision.
Literally as I am writing this article, I have my headphones in with a relaxing Pandora station. Spotify also has some stations just for focusing. Not being able to focus is stressful in and of itself.
9. Healthy Snacks And Water
Healthy snacks and water can keep you relaxed at work and are a great way to zen your den.
10. A Trash Can
Very simple: keep a trash can near your desk so that you don’t have said granola bar wrappers all over your desk. This also helps with extra papers or other things that should be off of your desk and into the trash.
11. USE An Ergonomic Chair
Yeah, the word “ergonomic” may sound a little “woo woo” to you like “yoga” and “mindfulness”. But it helps. An uncomfortable body is an uncomfortable brain.
A more comfortable brain is a more peaceful brain, and something as easy as changing your chair can be a great way to destress at the office.
12. Lemon, Jasmine
Again, a little “woo woo”, but tapping into each of your senses can really make your office more peaceful. Using lemon, jasmine, and lavender oils have been shown to promote a more peaceful atmosphere.
13. Your Favorite Coffee Mug
This is the one exception to not keeping things you don’t need on your desk. A nice warming coffee or tea mug can really help when your boss is ticking you off.
14. Pictures Of Family And Friends
Seeing the smiling faces of the people you love is a great way to relax. You can even take a quick glance between emails just to know what you’re working for.
If you aren’t close with your family or seeing the guys just makes you want to start a bon fire, try some art. Paintings, small sculptures, etc. Art may be expensive, but remember that you can keep it for the rest of your life, and you’re supporting a “starving artist”.
15. Vacation Pics
Going along with the tip above, pictures of vacation spots will help you keep on track and know what you’re working for. This is ideally pictures of places that you want to go, not places you’ve been. Unless it was with your family… in which case it’s up to you!
Keeping motivational quotes may not make your office space more peaceful per se, but it can help keep you on track and feel better about yourself.
There could be an entire article on this, and I wont explain it here… but even a 5 minute meditation can go a huge way in helping you clear your thoughts and get the day started on the right foot. Either commit to 5 minutes before you start anything else, or use it after lunch to be prepared for the rest of the day.