30 Ways to Relieve Stress at Work

When work gets tough, it’s easy to get stressed and frazzled. I’ve been there. I’ve used lavender and bergamot essential oils to relieve stress at work more times than I can count.

But there are so many ways to relieve stress at work. Even if you have short breaks, you can try any of these tips to quickly destress and relax.
30 Ways to Relieve Stress at Work

1. Breathe in. Slow and Deep.

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times. But deep breathing works! Plus it is simple, easy-to-do, free and can be done immediately. That’s why it is the most common and most recommended relaxation technique.

It works by stimulating your brain and nervous system to send out neurohormones. These inhibit stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. So deep breathing can reduce the stress response. Or rather it can cause a “relaxation response.” Heh!

A few, small clinical studies verify deep breathing can relieve stress. Take this 2017 study from the Italian University of Catania as an example. It asked university students to take part in deep breathing exercises for 1.5 hours once a week for 10 weeks. Stress and mood states were assessed. Heart rate and salivary cortisol were also measured.

The results supported:

the possibility that deep breathing technique is capable to induce an effective improvement in mood and stress both in terms of self-reported evaluations and of objective parameters, such as heart rate and salivary cortisol levels.

So to relieve stress fast: breathe deeply.

Try this: Measured Breathing

This is the first lesson when learning breathing techniques in Yoga and Pranayama.

  • Sit upright.
  • Hold the chest, neck, and head in a straight line.
  • Breathe in deeply through the nose … in and out … in and out.

You can also count while breathing. Four is a good number to start with for beginners. So while breathing in, count one, two, three, four. Then breathe out through the nose counting again to four. Once you get comfortable with this, increase the number to six, then eight.

If counting isn’t your thing, you can try saying a sacred word. The Yogis use Om but you can use any word you like.

deep breathing exercises for stress

Try this: Pranayama Breathing

Swami Vivekananda (a 19th-century Hindu monk) explained how to do Pranayama breathing. In Chapter 5 of his book, Raja Yoga, published in 1896, he said:

“… stop the right nostril with the thumb, and then slowly draw in the breath through the left; then close both nostrils with thumb and forefinger … then take the thumb off, and let the breath out through the right nostril.

“Next inhale slowly through that nostril, keeping the other closed by the forefinger, then close both, as before… Here it is well to begin with four seconds, and slowly increase. Draw in four seconds, hold in sixteen seconds, then throw out in eight seconds. This makes one Pranayama…”

“The next breathing [exercise] is slowly drawing the breath in, and then immediately throwing it out slowly, and then stopping the breath out, using the same numbers. The only difference is that in the first case the breath was held in, and in the second, held out… ”

So very carefully and cautiously increase as you feel that you have the power, to six instead of four. It may injure you if you practice it irregularly… The more you practice the first one the calmer you will be.”

These quotes were written more than a hundred years ago. And these breathing techniques have been used for thousands of years. So it is definitely worth a try!

Try this: Abdominal or Belly Breathing Technique

Sit in a comfortable position. Place one hand on your stomach below your ribs. Place the other hand on your chest. Breathe in deeply through your nose such that your hand on your stomach rises but the one on your chest does not. Breathe out through your mouth. As you breathe out, tighten your stomach muscles to force excess air out.

Repeat this breathing exercise for five minutes. You should feel calmer and more relaxed long after doing it.

2. Inhale essential oil vapors to relieve stress

Deep breathing is calming. So imagine if you add in proven essential oils for stress relief. That’ll be a double whammy to your stress!

But which are the best essential oils for stress? There are a few:

#1 Bergamot Essential Oil

bergamot essential oil
A small 2015 study looked at how inhaling bergamot oil vapor affected 41 healthy women. The women were exposed to water vapor, bergamot oil and rest for 15 minutes. Salivary cortisol and high-frequency heart rates were determined. Self-assessments of mood states, anxiety and fatigue were also done.

The results showed inhaling bergamot helped to reduce cortisol levels. The heart rates also indicated lower anxiety and emotional strain. And scores for negative emotions and fatigue were also far better.

Another study from 2009 incorporated listening to soft music while inhaling bergamot oil. The researchers here found this was an effective relaxation technique.

So, inhaling bergamot essential oil is a great way to relieve stress. And you can get the oil on Amazon from any of these great brands:


#2 Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary sage essential oil
Check out this 2013 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. It looked at how inhaling clary sage and lavender vapors affected the nervous system of 34 women. The study measured their systolic and diastolic blood pressures, pulse and respiratory rates. Their salivary cortisol levels were also analyzed.

The women who used clary sage saw lower blood pressure and respiratory rates. And their results were better than the women who used lavender!

So, use clary sage essential oil to relieve stress. It may be more calming than lavender!

You can try any these brands too:


#3 Lavender Essential Oil

Yes the study above showed clary sage oil was more relaxing than lavender. But lavender did have relaxing benefits too, when compared to the control.

And there are loads of other studies that look at the benefits of lavender oil on stress. But not all agree that it is helpful in stressful situations.

Studies supporting lavender essential oil for stress

A 2011 study checked how lavender affected stress and pain when getting injections. Volunteers were asked to inhale lavender oil for five minutes before needle insertion. The results showed lavender did help to reduce stress levels of the volunteers. Oh and the pain intensity too.

Another study from 2008 looked at the stress relieving effect of lavender on math students. It showed the students were far more relaxed after 10 minutes of inhaling lavender oil.

Lavender and rosemary oils also reduced stress from test taking in this 2009 study from Florida Atlantic University.

A 2011 study in Hypertension Research showed inhaling the oil helped night-shift workers. And a 2006 study in Gastroenterology Nursing found lavender was a cheap way to reduce pre-procedural stress.

So try lavender oil from any of these cool brands:

Studies against using lavender essential oil for stress relief

This 2015 study from Complementary Therapies in Medicine Journal found no major benefits. It explored the effects of inhaling lavender on patients after heart surgery. Stress was measured via a questionnaire, heart and respiratory rates, and blood pressure. After two days post-surgery, the study found only one difference between the patients using lavender and the control group: the systolic blood pressure in the lavender group was lower.

You should also take a look at this 2008 study from the National University of Ireland. It’s a great read. It demonstrated how easy it is to manipulate results in aromatherapy studies. It pointed out many factors that could influence expectancy bias in these studies. And it proved bias using lavender oil with 96 undergraduate students. When students expected the aroma to help them relax, they relaxed more. When they expected it to make them more alert, they relaxed less.

This clearly shows expectancy bias can skew results in studies like these. And it also shows if you believe lavender oil will relax you, then it will.

So you can experiment with lavender oil for yourself. See if it helps you with stress. If it does, then awesome. If it doesn’t, oh well, you can still use it to keep your workspace smelling wonderful and inviting.

#4 Petitgrain Essential Oil

So this 2017 study is pretty exciting. It focused on using aromatherapy to improve work performance and reduce workplace stress. Petitgrain oil was diffused in an area where admin workers were doing computer tasks. Anxiety and mood questionnaires were then administered. Heart rates were also measured before, during and after the task.

Interestingly, the petitgrain group finished their work faster and were less stressed! And the study found linalyl acetate, linalool, and myrcene were the compounds responsible for these effects. Neat!

If you want to try petitgrain oil, consider these:


#5 Sweet Orange Essential Oil

orange essential oil
Citrus oils – like bergamot, petitgrain and sweet orange – have a calming effect.

And this 2012 Brazilian study corroborates it. It found inhaling orange oil made volunteers less tense in a stressful situation. With these results, the researchers supported the common belief among aromatherapists that orange oil has a tranquilizing effect.


#6 Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

ylang ylang essential oil
There are couple studies showing you can use ylang ylang essential oil for stress relief.

This one from the University of Northumbria looked at the impact of ylang ylang or peppermint aroma on cognition and mood. It found peppermint enhanced memory and alertness but ylang ylang reduced them. Ylang ylang also significantly increased calmness but lengthened the brain’s processing speed.

Another study from 2006 might also be particularly interesting to you. It explored the effects of bergamot, lavender and ylang ylang on the stress levels of hypertensive patients. The oils were inhaled once daily for four weeks. Blood pressure, pulse and blood cortisol levels were measured. Stress and anxiety were also subjectively determined.

The results showed all oils had calming benefits. Yay!

Try ylang ylang essential oil:


#7 Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood and more

There are more studies showing essential oils like roman chamomile and sandalwood are relaxing. But these studies involve applying the oils to your skin. Since this point is about inhaling oils, I won’t get into them here.

But I should mention this study from 2016. It looked at the antioxidant benefits of inhaling linalool. The study found the compound was able to reduce blood pressure and pulse. Now, linalool can be found in lots of essential oils like coriander, geranium, hop, lavender, mugwort, and more.

So if you want to relieve stress at work, stop and smell an oil or two or three. And from this list, you know which ones are the best essential oils for stress.

Try this: DIY inhaler

Get a blank aromatherapy inhaler from Amazon and make your own anti-stress blend.

Andrea Butje of Aromahead Institute explains how to do this in her Youtube video.

She shared some recommendations too. She suggested adding 6 drops each of lavender and frankincense oils and 3 drops of black spruce to an inhaler. Or 5 drops of sweet orange, 5 drops of frankincense and 5 drops of cedarwood (Virginia) essential oil.

Mmmm! How relaxing!

You also have the full freedom to add in any of your favorite oils to create the perfect anti-stress inhaler for you.

3. Essential oils for stress + cotton balls = relaxation

If you aren’t into pulling out your essential oil bottles or inhaler at work, then use the oils with cotton balls. Cotton balls are super cheap and easy to get.

Add one or two drops of your favorite essential oil to a few cotton balls. Place them in the corners of your cubicle or office. The scent will spread throughout the space and help keep you calm.

essential oils cotton balls

But if your desk is in a common area, you should ask your coworkers if it’s ok to use the oils. Be considerate since some oils may be great for you but may cause allergies in others. So ask first. If it’s a problem, then stick the cotton balls in your drawer and open it up when you need a pleasant whiff.

Note, using too much oils can give your space a strong, overwhelming smell. So use one to two drops max on your cotton balls.

4. Stretch to relieve stress

When stressed, do you find your shoulders feel lifted and tense? Do you clench your jaw? This is all part of the stress response – your body’s natural fight or flight mechanism.

To relax your tense muscles, try doing slow, gentle stretches at your desk. They are simple, easy to do, and will restore your muscles to a more relaxed state. Now I said slow and gentle stretches here. If you do any sudden stretching, your already tense muscles may become stiffer … and more painful. So easy does it!

Try This: Neck Stretches

Sit up straight with your shoulders back and your feet on the floor. Turn your head to the right slowly to look over your right shoulder. Don’t look too far back because you may tense your muscles even more. Now turn your head to the left to look over your other shoulder. Repeat this a few times.

Next, lower your chin slowly to your chest. You will feel a light stretch at the back of your neck. Hold that position for a few comfortable seconds before returning to normal.

Combine the two stretches above. After looking over your right shoulder, gently drop your chin downward as you move your head towards the next shoulder. Repeat.
stretches at desk

Try This: Arm and Shoulder Stretches

Rolling your shoulders is a great way to release the tension in your muscles. Pull your shoulders forward, then roll them up to your ears, then to the back and down again. Do this three or four times before changing the direction of the roll.

Next, interlock your fingers. Stretch out your hands in front of you with your interlocked palms facing outward. Now move your arms slowly until they are above your head. Your palms should be facing the ceiling. Elongate your body and bring your shoulders to your ears. Release your arms and return to a comfortable position.

Doing these stretches often will reduce tension and make you feel more relaxed.

5. Soak up some sun

relieve stress with sunlight
Take a look at this 2008 article from the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal. It noted the link between greater exposure to sunlight and higher serotonin and endorphin levels in the body.

It noted:

“Moderately high serotonin levels result in more positive moods and a calm yet focused mental outlook…

The light we get from being outside on a summer day can be a thousand times brighter than we’re ever likely to experience indoors,” says melatonin researcher Russel J. Reiter of the University of Texas Health Science Center. “For this reason, it’s important that people who work indoors get outside periodically …”


[Ultraviolet radiation]… increases blood levels of natural opiates called endorphins.

Now serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that regulates mood and helps with memory and learning. Endorphins are hormones that inhibit pain and make you feel good.

So feel good at work and relieve stress by getting some sun! Sit next to a window if you could. Or enjoy an early morning coffee outside (when the UV index isn’t as high).

6. Go for a little walk

walk at work
Your body also releases endorphins while exercising. That means getting off that chair and taking a walk can make you feel better. And you get bonus points if you add in stretching and sunlight.

This IUPUI study from 2015 may also interest you. It looked at how active workstations affected boredom, stress, performance and task satisfaction of 180 employees. The workstations used here were seated, standing, cycling and walking workstations.

Would you believe employees using the walking workstations felt the best? They were less bored and less stressed. And they had greater performance and task satisfaction.

That’s awesome!

7. Get a diffuser necklace or bracelet

Diffuser necklaces and bracelets are cute jewelry that come with reusable felt inserts. Add a couple drops of a stress relieving essential oil to the insert and you’ll be able to inhale your favorite oil on the go.

Now you can enjoy the relaxing benefits of essential oils when walking … in the sun … while doing stretching and breathing exercises. That’s trying five ways to relieve stress at the same time. How efficient!

You can get diffuser necklaces and bracelets on Amazon. Aren’t they adorable?


8. Play some relaxing music

Music always relaxes me. It keeps me focused and less distracted. And there are studies that prove it.

One from 2005 examined how music influenced mood, work quality and performance of 56 software developers. The researchers found mood and quality of work were lowest with no music. And the time to complete a task was longer.

Another article – The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response – from 2013 was also significant. It cited evidence that found music positively affected stress-related physiological, cognitive, and emotional processes.

The study also tested the theory. It divided 60 healthy female volunteers into three groups. One group listened to relaxing music (Allegri – Miserere mei, Deus). Another listened to the sound of rippling water and the third rested without sound. The groups were then subjected to a stress test. Salivary cortisol, heart rate, subjective stress perception, and anxiety were all analyzed.

The researchers were surprised to find cortisol levels were highest among the music group and lowest for the water group. But the music group did recover faster after the stress test!

You should also check out this wonderful article on Inc.com. It cited research that found listening to songs like this one, Marconi Union – Weightless, could reduce anxiety by 65%!

So if you want to relieve stress at work, listen to some music. You can make your own playlist with current hits or calming sounds. It’s all up to you.

9. Try a tabletop water fountain

You just saw a study where volunteers were asked to listen to music or rippling water. And the ones who listened to rippling water were calmer and more relaxed.

So you can try it. Listen to water sounds on Youtube. Or you could get a tabletop water fountain. I have one and I absolutely love it! Plus I find I am more focused and take fewer breaks when it is on.

You can get one from Amazon like any of these:


10. Smile

laugh to relieve stress at work
Smile to relieve stress. That’s what psychologists from the University of Kansas believe. They found smiling participants had lower heart rates after doing stressful tasks. And bigger smiles showed better results.

So smile. Fake it if you have to. Any positive facial expression during stress can ease the tension.

11. Laugh

smile at work
You already know a good joke and a hearty laugh can be relaxing, even when you’re stressed. If you laugh right now – even if it’s fake – you will still feel lighter, freer and calmer.

And there are a few studies that show salivary cortisol levels drop after laughing for several minutes – studies like this one from 2014. It explored the effects of watching a funny video on the short-term memory of older folks. The results showed memory, learning and stress levels all improved after watching the video.

But you really don’t need a study to tell you laughing makes you feel better.

12. Watch funny videos (maybe ones with cats)

If laughing works to relieve stress, then watching a funny video is a great way to destress and get your laugh on.

Take a look at this 2015 paper out of the University of New South Wales. Here, 124 students were asked to do a boring task and then watch a funny video. Funny enough (heh!), the amused students were more relaxed, more persistent and more inclined to work longer on a task.

The study went on to note:

Humor is not only entertaining but also replenishing. Individuals engaging in activities that require persistence may benefit from exposure to humor. Therefore, organizations that require their employees to persist may consider creating a playful culture that encourages the use of humor to increase employees’ persistence.

So why cat videos?

A researcher from Indiana University wondered the same thing. So she surveyed 6800 internet users to determine why they watched cat-related media. She found the videos simply made the users happier!

And we know smiling, laughing and feeling happy all negate the stress response. So be happy with this video:


13. Get a mini diffuser

Mini diffusers are awesome. I have a USB one on my desk that I use all the time. I add water and essential oils for stress to it and plug it in my laptop. That’s it! Out comes a steady stream of odor-filled steam that calms my mind and eases my stress. Aaaaaah!

You can get one too over on Amazon.

But remember you should be considerate to your coworkers if you are diffusing in a common area.

14. Or try a regular diffuser

While mini diffusers are tiny and ultra-portable, they do not have a large capacity or a long runtime. So if you are in the office all day, then you can try a regular diffuser. It works the same way as a mini diffuser, just longer.

You can get a great diffuser on Amazon. These are some of my recommendations:

Try these essential oils for stress

Any combination of the essential oils mentioned in point #2 will work great in your diffuser. One to two drops of an oil will do wonders for your space and your stress. You can also try a couple of these blends too:


15. Organize your thoughts

brainstorm to reduce stress
When I get stressed, it’s hard for me to concentrate. I get overwhelmed and my brain tends to ‘shut down.’ So if I have a tough assignment, I like to brainstorm what’s needed.

That’s why I keep a little notebook or sticky notes close by. They help me organize my thoughts and get them down on paper. By doing this, I can structure assignments and divide them into smaller, manageable tasks. I can also create realistic things to do lists and figure out if I need to delegate or ask for help.

Organizing your thoughts will work for you too. You can create clear, logical plans to help you complete even the toughest of assignments. And you will feel calmer and more relaxed after creating a solid plan. Trust me!

16. Doodle

doodle to reduce stress
Doodling and drawing can relieve stress. It’s true! There are even a few studies that prove it. And they also show doodling can help you concentrate more. Wow!

This 2017 study made 70 participants sad and then asked them to draw or color. Interestingly, the study showed both activities improved the mood of the participants.

A follow-up study did not cause sad emotions before the activity. Instead, the participants were asked to simply draw, write or sit quietly for ten minutes. The results found drawing reduced any negative feelings the participants had.

Other studies like this one from 2009 found doodling helped improve memory. And a 2017 article found drawing improved problem solving and helped participants formulate better ideas.


So relieve stress, improve mood, boost memory and get better ideas by doodling.

17. Color

Coloring works just like drawing and doodling to relieve stress. One of the studies mentioned above (from 2017) even showed coloring improved mood. So try it as a relaxation technique in work.

Adult coloring has really taken off too. In 2016, six coloring books for grown ups were on Amazon’s Best Sellers List of 2016. And new ones are added every day. You can try a few of these:


18. Drink some water

hydrate to reduce stress
Do you get enough water at work? Especially when you are stressed? It’s time you should.

Stress is linked to dehydration. And, according to a University of Connecticut study, dehydration can adversely affect mood. It can also reduce concentration, increase headaches and make tasks feel harder to do.

Another study (2011) found dehydration affected memory and increased tension, anxiety and fatigue.

So drink up.

19. Or grab a cup of tea to relieve stress

relieve stress with tea
A warm cup of tea is so soothing and comforting. It could definitely relieve stress and calm your mind. One 2017 study reviewed existing research and found green tea reduces anxiety and improves memory. The study also showed the tea can activate working memory and improve attention.

Another study from 2016 explored the anti-stress properties of a green tea drink. It showed the tea reduced the participants’ stress response for several hours. How amazing is that?

Oh, and would you believe tea – like black tea – may be just as hydrating as water? That is according to this 2011 study.

So relieve stress with a warm, amazing cup of tea.

20. Eat a healthy snack

healthy snack for stress relief
When I get stressed, my body demands comfort food. It could be anything sweet or fried – chocolate, soda, fries, anything. I’m sure you crave comfort food too when you get stressed. But it isn’t healthy.

Instead of grabbing a sugar-filled treat, try a healthier snack. Try some granola or an apple, banana, berries or orange juice. Anything loaded with Vitamin C is also a must. Studies show the vitamin can reduce stress hormones (like cortisol) in the blood. And it can help with anxiety too (according to this 2015 study).

21. Squish a stress ball

You already know this way to relieve stress. But does it work?

One 2015 study suggested it does not. The study measured changes in heart rate and blood pressure of thirty stressed participants. Interestingly, it found no major difference in stress symptoms between the group that used the stress ball and the group that didn’t.

However, another 2015 study from the University of Surrey had different results. It found simple distractions like watching a DVD, talking to a nurse or using a stress ball helped patients to relax during surgery. The study also suggested the patients felt less pain when they were distracted.

And a 2006 study with sixth-graders found stress balls helped to reduce distractions and improve the attention span of the kids. The researchers also noticed these effects more in students who learned better with physical activity.

So you can try a stress ball to see if it works for you. But don’t limit yourself to just a stress ball. You can try floam or silly putty. Squishing slime is also a growing trend right now.

You can get any of these products on Amazon:


22. Play with desk toys – like magnets

You can also try other desk toys too. I have small magnets on my desk that I fidget with all the time. They are fun and act like minor distractions, just like a stress ball. Plus they look sleek and sophisticated.

Oh and you can check out magnetic putty too. It’s awesome.


23. Or get mesmerized by kinetic sand

Kinetic sand is another amazing desk toy. It is made of sand, but behaves like a fluid when pushed or poked. It’s a lot of fun and will bring you joy and stress relief. But it may be a little messy though.


24. Clear the clutter

Clutter can be overwhelming. And a clean workspace always helps me to think better and focus more. So if you have a messy desk, clear the clutter. Organize your memos and files. Closeout what you can to get a document off your desk. Make a to-do list. Follow up on tasks and projects. This point ties in with #15: Organize your thoughts. Clearing your desk can inform how you organize your thoughts and create your plan.

Decluttering also applies to your desktop and inbox too. Answer outstanding emails. Archive older ones. Create folders to organize your files and documents.

Physical and electronic decluttering can help you to relieve stress. Try it now!
clear clutter to relieve stress

25. Massage your hands

Massage is a great way to relieve stress, pain, and anxiety. And a five-minute hand massage may help to increase comfort and reduce anxiety. At least that is according to this 2012 study.

Another study from Miami Valley Hospital found a simple five-minute hand massage may lower perceived stress levels. So gently massage your hands for a couple minutes. It should help relieve stress and calm you down.

You can also massage your hands with cream, oil or an essential oil blend. Some studies like this 2004 one found a sandalwood oil mix had “a calming, relaxing and sedating effect on the body”.

Awesome right?

Try this: Hand Reflexology Massage

There are lots of hand massaging techniques you can try for quick stress relief. Here are a couple videos that you can follow.


Try this: Essential Oil Hand Massaging Blends

To make an essential oil massaging blend, you need to choose an appropriate carrier oil. Coconut oil is wonderful but there are lots of options (check out this carrier oil list to help you decide). You can try grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil … it’s all up to you and what you prefer.

You can get carrier oils like these on Amazon:

Add one tablespoon of the carrier oil to a small container. To it, add five drops of any essential oil you like. You can try adding 2 drops of clary sage, 2 drops of bergamot and 1 drop of ylang ylang essential oil. You know from point #2, these are among the best essential oils for stress. You can also try adding 3 drops of lavender oil and 2 drops of sandalwood essential oil.

To relieve stress at work, simply whip out your container and use a little of the blend to massage your hands. You can try the hand reflexology techniques too. The smell of the blend itself will help to calm you down. And the massage will compound your stress relief.

Note: you should patch test the blend before taking it to work to make sure you are not allergic to any of the oils in it.

26. Or massage your face

You can use the same essential oil blend on your face. But make sure the carrier oil you use won’t cause you to break out. Oils like argan, hemp seed, prickly pear seed, sunflower, safflower and watermelon seed are great carrier oil options. Calendula, castor, pomegranate, and rosehip oil are also good to use.

You can massage your face, neck and head with your fingers. Or try any of these cool massaging tools.


27. Talk to your mentor

mentors can relieve stress
Mentors in the workplace are there to give you work and social support. They can help you deal with work overload, job insecurity, balance and career growth. They may also give a different perspective, greater clarity, or an alternative way to address a problem. And mentors can recommend appropriate ways to relieve stress at work.

There’s even research that found:

…the presence of a mentor may mitigate personal barriers that lead to stress and burnout …


28. Or chat with a coworker

work discussion
Talking to coworkers you are close with can also help you deal with work stressors. They understand the work environment, personalities and projects you are involved in. So they can give you informed opinions and advice. And they can help you with difficult tasks.

Or, if you just want to vent or talk things out, your close coworkers can lend a sympathetic ear and give words of comfort. So reach out.

29. Get a quick workout in (especially in nature)

exercise to relieve stress
You already know your body releases endorphins while exercising. And endorphins are hormones that make you feel good. So a quick workout can help you relieve stress and calm down.

Working out in a green space may be even better. At least that is according to this small 2015 study. It explored if green exercise at the workplace could help manage stress and induce restoration of employees. Volunteers were asked to exercise for 45 minutes either indoors or in outdoor nature spaces. The researchers found:

Compared with the indoor group, the nature group reported higher environmental potential for restoration and positive affect…

So try squeezing in a quick workout during your breaks to relieve stress.

30. Power nap if you could

sleep at work
If you can sleep at work, you should. An afternoon nap at work is common in southern Europe and China. And for good reason. Sleep has tremendous stress relieving and restorative benefits. And if you are sleep deprived, you tend to be less sharp and focused. So your work performance suffers.

A 2002 Harvard study validates this. It noted work performance decreased during the day when participants were administered rigorous testing. However, performance improved for those participants who took a mid-day nap.

But napping at work is not widely accepted in today’s workplace. So if you do decide to power nap to relieve stress, talk to your boss first. Or get a nap in during your breaks. Find a quiet, dimly lit place that you can be comfortable. Aim to get 20 minutes of sleep and feel the stress melt away.


There are so many ways to relieve stress at work. Here’s what you can do immediately at your desk:

  • breathe deeply
  • stretch
  • massage your hands or face
  • smile, laugh or watch funny videos
  • listen to relaxing sounds or music
  • brainstorm your tasks and organize your thoughts
  • doodle or color
  • declutter your space (or inbox)
  • power nap

Away from your desk, you can:

  • go for a walk or work out (especially in a green space)
  • get some sun
  • grab something to eat or drink like tea or water
  • talk to someone like a mentor or coworker

You can also use these to reduce stress:

  • essential oils used as is or in inhalers, cotton balls, or diffusers
  • desk toys like stress balls, magnets, and kinetic sand
  • water fountains

How else do you relieve stress? Let me know in the comments below!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. When a product is purchased using these links, the site may earn a very small commission which will go towards webhosting and maintenance of the site.

Dedication: This post was inspired by and dedicated to one of mai biggest fans who had a hard day at work and needed to vent.

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