Do Stress Relief Techniques for Work Actually Work?


Do you find yourself getting sick a lot?  Are you missing work or just not producing in a way you know you can? This could be directly linked to the stress you experience at work. I’ve found within the first five months of working on my new job I felt like I was sick every 2 or 3 weeks.  That’s not the actual time I was out sick since I was that naughty employee who brought their sickness to work, but I’m not alone.  I would consider my job my number one stressor and according to the Forbes article Best Workplace Stress Relievers, 59% of Americans said work was their leading cause of stress.

The article goes on to talk about some top tips to try:

1. Know Your Body Clock

This is one that I take advantage of already and works well for me.  I don’t control when I start work, but I can control what I work on first.  For instance, I’m not a morning person and not always functioning fully at 8am. Our office encourages reading industry related items no more than about 45 minutes a day. Since I know I won’t be very efficient jumping straight into a someone’s taxes, I’ll get my brain going with some accounting articles like “Estate planning when the federal estate tax doesn’t apply” or “How women can avoid the pink tax”.

Not to mention, I get a bit hungry throughout the day. Like the Snickers commercials, I don’t quite feel like myself if I’m hungry.  To combat this, there’s always a drawer of goodies in my cubical to satisfy. I highly recommend knowing your body clock and the coming up with a strategy that compliments your workday.

2.  Stretching and Office Yoga

Another stress relieving tip is conducting yoga in the office.  That’s not going to work for everyone. I suggest knowing your environment first before bringing this one up.  For instance, one employer may be good with team building that involves laser tag and geocaching while another may not have team building at all.  This is not a realistic tip for everyone.  My suggestion would be to try this one on your own time.

An alternative if team office yoga isn’t an option, is stretching.  I find myself getting tight just from being in the same position for a lengthy period of time.  I’ll get out of my chair, reach for my toes, and stretch out my neck, arms, back, and legs.  This extra blood flow gives me a little boost to complete the project I’m working on.

3. Plan for the Unexpected

This technique helps, but there are limits.  My best suggestion on this one is to plan for the questions you think are going to come up.  For instance, if you are in a presentation, know where your audience may get confused and prepare clear answers ahead of time for them.  Also, if your work is constantly reviewed, provide clarification for your actions.  This could lead to less ambiguity on your choices.  Of course, you cannot plan for everything but this will reduce the follow up that may come if you hadn’t been proactive with how your work will be perceived.

4. Laugh it Off

Perspective is key for this technique to work.  You need to be able to see how this stressful moment for you will affect you in the long term. For instance, if you made a mistake, is it really going to make a difference 5 or even 10 years from now?  Unlikely. Don’t get wrapped up in the little things and think of things in a bigger perspective.  I admit this is hard one to remember.  For this one to work for me, something has to be stressful enough that it’s almost ridiculous before I’ll start laughing and let it go. This one may come easier with practice.

Of course this is not an all inclusive list and it’s not meant to be. I wanted to touch on some of the most common ones and provide my own viewpoint on them.  Some of these techniques may work for you, while others won’t. There is no cookie cutter answer for finding your own sense of balance; however, this could help you start.  Based on trying them all for a week, I recommend pairing a number of these techniques together. Give some of these a try and see what mix works for you.


About Leah Taboada

Hello and welcome to my blog that is a personal journey through self managing stress and finding relaxation. Between my first tax season as a tax accountant and finishing my Masters in Accountancy, I'll be exploring techniques and sharing my experiences. I encourage you to try them as well and comment on how they've word for you.
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