A Stress Management Activity
that works--Take a Break! 

What’s an important stress management activity to incorporate into your daily work routine?  How about taking a break?  By taking a five minute break every few hours, you allow the body and brain time to rest, relax and rejuvenate.  Many jobs involve long hours with work performance requiring the same activities repeated over and over.  This could be the job you have working at a desk  or standing behind a counter.

  1. Deep breathing to relax
  2. Stretching your body to release tension
  3. Drinking water to feel re-invigorated  

When you are busy focusing on your work over time, you may not notice the fatigue that is setting in for both your body muscles and your brain. Every few hours take a break from sitting at your desk and get up, move around, and stretch. This is an easy stress management activity to incorporate into your daily schedule.  Start with deep breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Take in as much air as you can down to the bottom of your lungs.

Try this breathing exercise three times to release the tension that is stored up in your body. Actually, if you are under stress at work, you may find that your breathing becomes shallower. As you practice deep breathing, you are taking in more oxygen that travels through the bloodstream and helps to re-energize you.

Next, a good stretch can also boost your energy level and decrease the stress you are feeling.  Stretching exercises can be incorporated into your work day to keep your body performing at its best.  The longer you sit or stand without any breaks, you are putting yourself at risk of developing stiffness, neck, arm, wrist, hand, back and leg strain, and muscle tension.  The longer you ignore these stiff joints and muscle pains, the worse things get.  Here are 3 stretching examples to try:

  • Neck stretches. Slowly tilt your head from side to side, while staring straight ahead.  Then slowly bow your head forward until your chin touches your chest gently and then tilt your head back until you are looking up at the ceiling.
  • Arm stretches.  Stretch your hands overhead and interlock your fingers.  Turn your palms up towards the ceiling.  Tilt your head up slightly to look at the ceiling.  Take several breaths and release your hands down to your sides.  Next, rotate your arm in a wide circle and then reverse the direction.  Switch arms and repeat.
  • Hands/wrists stretches.  Take one hand and gently stretch the wrist back using the opposite hand and hold the position for 10 seconds.  Then stretch the hand forward for 10 seconds. Finally, roate your wrist in circular motion to regain flexibility from any stiffness.

Have a nice cold glass of water. Water is a fundamental part of healthy body maintenance because it keeps you hydrated and flushes out the impurities. It is used to move nutrients, hormones, antibodies, and oxygen through the blood stream and lymphatic system. Most people whose bodies retain water actually do not drink enough water. The best way to overcome water retention is to give the body what is needs: plenty of water and then stored water will be released.

Taking a work break is a wonderful stress management activity because not only can you take a minute to stretch your muscles that have become tight working the same repetitive motion, you also can give your mind a change to relax from the mental challenges, pressures and stress associated from hours of concentration.

We truly believe that this stress management activity will provide lasting positive benefits for you as you spend your hours at your place of employment.  Take work breaks every two hours, just for 5 minutes, enjoying stress relieving deep breathing, body stretching and a cool glass of water. 

Plan your breaks by setting an alarm clock or timer for the two hour mark.  In that way time does not get away from you.  Over time these breaks will become a work habit that will no longer need an alarm clock as a reminder.  You will also feel better and work with more focus as you incorporate work breaks into your daily routine.  It really is the best stress management activity we can suggest.

Relaxation Techniques to Add to Your Daily Routine 

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