8 Quick Things You Can Do To De-Stress (2022)

Tips on How to Relax and Destress

Stress at work — be it rushing a deadline for a report or dealing with demanding clients — is often unavoidable. While some level of pressure is good to keep you motivated at work, excessive stress can be overwhelming and harmful to your physical and emotional well-being. Learn how to relieve stress with these quick fixes at the office.

1. Take a Power Nap to Reduce Stress

​​8 Quick Things You Can Do To De-Stress (1)

It sounds counterintuitive — especially when there’s plenty of work waiting for you — but a short 15 to 20-minute power nap can help you “reset” your frazzled system. You’ll feel more energised and alert to tackle the next task when you wake up from your short nap.

Research also shows that taking naps promote alertness on the job[1], reduces sleepiness and improves cognition performance[2]. This could help you to solve problems faster, or get over that mental block, hence clearing the backlog of work more efficiently. Also, remember to get enough sleep (7-9 hours daily for an adult) to have better concentration and focus throughout the day.

Related: Sleep well, live better

2. Stretch Out Your Work Stress

We’ve all experienced it before — when we’re stressed, our bodies tense up. Hunching over your desk won’t do your back, shoulders, and neck muscles any favours. A quick way to get relief from stress and anxiety is to get up and stretch[3] those tensed muscles.

(Video) Relieve Stress & Anxiety with Simple Breathing Techniques

You could also try chair yoga[4], a gentle form of yoga that can be easily done in the office. Start with the seated chest lift — this move opens your chest and stretches your back. Sit at the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the ground, and your hands rested behind you at the back of the seat, fingers pointing away. Inhale, lift your chest and then exhale before releasing your hands. Repeat this move five times.

Related: Simple Exercises for Office Workers

3. Relax your Senses by Seeing Green

8 Quick Things You Can Do To De-Stress (2)

Human beings have a natural affinity for elements of nature, which has the innate ability to heal our body and mind, as well as improve our mood and help us feel more relaxed[5]. Japanese’s Shinrin-yoku (which means “forest bathing[6]”), is the idea of being in wild and natural places. Taking strolls in Zen gardens are ways to improve our overall well-being. They evoke a sense of serenity and inner peace that heals the mind, body and soul and allows one to set aside some time for self-reflection.

Don’t worry if there isn’t a Zen garden or park nearby. You can still relax by helping to tend to the office plants, or even better, build your own terrarium. Observing the plants growing day-by-day can be highly therapeutic; open terrariums or office plants can even help to eliminate odours and absorb pollutants in the air.

Relax your mind and find inner peace with a miniature Zen garden set that you could either make or buy. The repetitive act of combing the sand and arranging the stones has a calming effect and provides stress relief. It also trains the mind to focus on the present, freeing it from stray thoughts and worries.

(Video) 6 Daily Habits to Reduce Stress & Anxiety

Related: Best Nature Walks in Singapore to Unwind with Nature

4. Relieve Work Stress with Calming Music or Nature Sounds

8 Quick Things You Can Do To De-Stress (3)

Are there times when you need to focus but are distracted in the office? Find some inner peace by listening to calming music and sounds of nature. The sounds of crashing waves, trickling raindrops and other sounds of nature are amongst the most soothing and pleasurable states. They can help the brain to relax, focus better and boost your efficiency at work.

Research has shown that employees who connect more with nature at work reported fewer stress-related complaints[7]. Listening to nature sounds can help one recover from mental stress[8] more quickly, minimise the negative effects of mental health issues like depression and improve your mood. Check out YouTube as there are many sounds of nature videos that you can listen to. Here’s[9] a video to last you for the next four hours.

5. Think Positive to Better Manage Work Stress

Changing your mindset and having a positive attitude can make you happier. Learn to be more optimistic of the situations around you and you will realise that you are able to manage stress better.

6. Revive Your Mind with Creative Breaks

Before you dive your head into rushing the last-minute presentation and stressing yourself out, grab some colour pencils for some creative doodling. The concentration of the mind and theemotions evoked through the spontaneous act of drawing keep your mind focused on the present moment which declutters your thoughts, improves overall mental wellness and makes one happy.

(Video) Box breathing relaxation technique: how to calm feelings of stress or anxiety

Doodling is certainly not a mindless activity as it actively engages your brain and hones the processes that help us to multi-task, focus and plan. You can also try your hands at origami and turn the colourful paper into creative animals and objects. Both are great ways to recharge your mind and de-stress.

7. Practice Mindfulness for Better Mental Well-being

Take a few minutes to practise mindful breathing exercise every day. It will help your mind and body to relax. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment. Studies[12] show that mindfulness helps to regulate our mood[13] and works as a promising intervention for treating anxiety and mood problems[14].

Make the effort to take short breaks during work and incorporate some simple mindfulness techniques like taking deep breaths with your eyes closed. A short mindfulness exercise every day works wonders to help you re-focus and clear your mind. Here’s 6 mindful exercises you can try today.

Related: Mindful about Mindfulness

8. Talk It Out with a Co-worker or Friend

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If you’re stressed out at work or feeling upset with an annoying colleague, don’t let the problem worsen by bottling it up. Talkto a friend or co-worker about it, and you’ll feel instantly better.

(Video) 🔴 Relaxing Music 24/7, Stress Relief Music, Sleep Music, Meditation Music, Study, Calming Music

Sharing your troubles with your co-worker or friend can help you relieve stress and anxiety. You’ll also hear different perspectives on how to tackle these issues. By confiding your issues with the people you trust, you can also draw renewed strength from them, learn from their experiences and feel more energised to manage the work stress.

9. Manage Your Time

8 Quick Things You Can Do To De-Stress (5)

Plan your time well so that you can complete tasks on time. Break large tasks into smaller, manageable parts to prevent feeling overwhelmed. This will also help you avoid stress and procrastination as work will seem more manageable and less intimidating.

Visit MindSG for more tools to take care of your mental well-being.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

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  1. Takahashi, M., Nakata, A., Haratani, T., Ogawa, Y., & Arito, H. (2004, Aug). Post-lunch nap as a worksite intervention to promote alertness on the job.Ergonomics, 47(9), 1003-1013.
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8504092_Post-lunch_nap_as_a_worksite_intervention_to_promote_alertness_on_the_job
  2. Lovato, N., & Lack, L. (2010). The effects of napping on cognitive functioning.Progress in Brain Research, 1(185), 155-166.
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from http://www.academia.edu/14476212/The_effects_of_napping_on_cognitive_functioning
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, Feb 8). Desk stretches help prevent pain and stiffness. See how they’re done. [MayoClinic].
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-stretches/art-20046041?pg=2
  4. Roos, C. [MindfulChairYoga] (n.d.). MindfulChairYoga User Page [YouTube].
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/user/MindfulChairYoga
  5. Barton, J., & Pretty, J. (2010, Mar 15). What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis.Environmental Science Technology, 44(10), 3947-3955.
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from http://www.julespretty.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/4.-Dose-of-Nature-EST-Barton-Pretty-May-2010.pdf
  6. Shinrin Yoku (n,d,). Go to a Forest. Walk slowly. Breathe. Open all your senses. This is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy, the medicine of simply being in the forest. [Shinrin Yoku].
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/shinrin-yoku.html
  7. Largo-Wight, E., Chen, W. W., Dodd, V., & Weiler, R. (2011). Healthy Workplaces: The Effects of Nature Contact at Work on Employee Stress and Health.Public Health Reports, 126(Suppl 1), 124—130.
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3072911/
  8. Alvarsson, J. J., Wiens, S., & Nilsson, M. E. (2010). Stress Recovery during Exposure to Nature Sound and Environmental Noise.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(3), 1036—1046.
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2872309/
  9. [TheHonestGuys]. (2013, Jun 18). 3 HOURS Relaxing Music with Water Sounds Meditation [Video file].
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luRkeDCoxZ4
  10. Fishman, E., Turkheimer, E., & DeGood, D.E. (1995, Feb). Touch relieves stress and pain.Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 18(1), 69-79.
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226212531_Touch_relieves_stress_and_pain
  11. Judie, A., & Brintha, N, N. (2015, Sep 25). Touch and Massage On Pain Perception among Primiparturient Mothers.Research & Reviews: Journal of Nursing & Health Sciences, 1(3), 48-51.
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from http://www.rroij.com/open-access/touch-and-massage-on-pain-perception-among-primiparturientmothers.php?aid=63956
  12. Davis, D. M., & Hayes, J. A. (2012, Aug). What are the benefits of mindfulness [American Psychological Association].
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx
  13. Farb, N. A. S., Anderson, A. K., & Segal, Z. V. (2012). The Mindful Brain and Emotion Regulation in Mood Disorders.Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie, 57(2), 70—77.
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3303604/
  14. Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Therapy on Anxiety and Depression: A Meta-Analytic Review.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169—183.
    Retrieved Apr 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2848393/


What are 5 ways you can reduce stress? ›

5 tips to manage stress
  • Use guided meditation. Guided meditation is a great way to distract yourself from the stress of day-to-day life. ...
  • Practice deep breathing. ...
  • Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition. ...
  • Manage social media time. ...
  • Connect with others.
10 Dec 2018

What are 15 ways to reduce stress? ›

15 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress & Anxiety
  • Exercise. You don't need a gym to exercise. ...
  • Go outside. Connect with nature in your backyard. ...
  • Aromatherapy. Pull out those old scented candles and inhale a calming scent. ...
  • Journal. ...
  • Listen to calming music. ...
  • Sing. ...
  • Laugh. ...
  • Connect.
2 Apr 2020

What are 12 ways to manage stress? ›

12 Ways To Eliminate Stress At Work
  • Act Rather Than React. "We experience stress when we feel that situations are out of our control," says Melnick. ...
  • Take A Deep Breath. ...
  • Eliminate Interruptions. ...
  • Schedule Your Day For Energy And Focus. ...
  • Eat Right And Sleep Well. ...
  • Change Your Story. ...
  • Cool Down Quickly. ...
  • Identify Self-Imposed Stress.
20 Mar 2013

What are 6 ways to reduce stress? ›

6 ways to help manage daily stress more effectively:
  • Talk, Talk, Talk! Turn to family and friends, or even a trained therapist, to discuss things in your life that are causing stress. ...
  • Exercise Regularly. ...
  • Engage in Meditation. ...
  • Healthy Diet. ...
  • Stay Organized. ...
  • Practice Positive Self-talk.

What are 3 ways to avoid stress? ›

Meditate or practice yoga. Work in the garden or do a home improvement project. Go for a walk, run or bike ride to clear your head. Read a book, short story or magazine.

What are the 4 steps to help reduce stress? ›

Four Steps to Reduce Stress
  • Create schedules and use checklists. To minimize stress and last minute tasks, keep track of all of the important things you need to accomplish and then prioritize them. ...
  • Take time for yourself. Life is busy. ...
  • Exercise and relax. ...
  • Set Small Goals.
14 Jul 2020

What are the 10 sources of stress? ›

What kind of situations can cause stress?
  • Illness or injury.
  • Pregnancy and becoming a parent.
  • Infertility and problems having children.
  • Bereavement.
  • Experiencing abuse.
  • Experiencing crime and the justice system, such as being arrested, going to court or being a witness.
  • Organising a complicated event, like a holiday.

How do I stop stressing? ›

7 Tips to Avoid Stress
  1. Take care of yourself. Avoid drugs and alcohol as they can add to stress. ...
  2. Engage in self-relaxation. ...
  3. Take breaks when needed. ...
  4. Seek out social support. ...
  5. Connect with others socially. ...
  6. Maintain a normal routine. ...
  7. Give back to others.

How do you de stress yourself? ›

What you can do to address stress
  1. Be active. ...
  2. Take control. ...
  3. Connect with people. ...
  4. Have some "me time" ...
  5. Challenge yourself. ...
  6. Avoid unhealthy habits. ...
  7. Help other people. ...
  8. Work smarter, not harder.

What is good for stress? ›

A well-balanced diet and staying active ensures your body is better prepared to fight stress. Exercise relaxes your body and mind, while improving your mood. In fact, physical exercise has been proven to play a key role in preventing and reducing the effects of stress. Get a good night's rest.

What are the 8 types of stress? ›

There are several types of stress, including: acute stress. episodic acute stress. chronic stress.
Chronic stress
  • anxiety.
  • cardiovascular disease.
  • depression.
  • high blood pressure.
  • a weakened immune system.
1 Jun 2018

What are the 8 causes of stress? ›

What causes stress?
  • Feel under lots of pressure.
  • Face big changes in your life.
  • Are worried about something.
  • Don't have much or any control over the outcome of a situation.
  • Have responsibilities that you find overwhelming.
  • Don't have enough work, activities or change in your life.
  • Experience discrimination, hate or abuse.

What are top 10 stresses? ›

Top 10 stressors in life
  1. Death of a spouse. ...
  2. Divorce. ...
  3. Marital separation. ...
  4. Being incarcerated. ...
  5. Death of a close family member. ...
  6. Major personal injury or illness. ...
  7. Marriage. ...
  8. Being fired or laid off from work.

What are the 4 steps of stress? ›

Fortunately, there are 4 steps to help reduce stress and cope with the inevitable stressors of everyday life:
  • Avoid. Believe it or not, it is possible to escape some of the minor stressors that tend to trouble people: ...
  • Alter. Communicate clearly and let people know your expectations. ...
  • Accept. ...
  • Adapt.
8 Mar 2021

How can I be stress free? ›

  1. Get active. Virtually any form of physical activity can act as a stress reliever. ...
  2. Meditate. ...
  3. Laugh more. ...
  4. Connect with others. ...
  5. Assert yourself. ...
  6. Try yoga. ...
  7. Get enough sleep. ...
  8. Keep a journal.

What are the 7 stressors? ›

The 7 Most Stressful Life Changes (and How to Cope With Them)
  • Death of a spouse. You probably aren't surprised to hear that the death of a spouse is the most stressful event on this list. ...
  • Divorce. ...
  • Marital separation. ...
  • Detention in jail or prison. ...
  • The death of a close family member. ...
  • A major injury or illness. ...
  • Marriage.
19 Nov 2018

What are the 5 types of stress? ›

5 types of stress: Environmental, postural, emotional, dental and nutritional.

What are 7 causes of student stress? ›

Some of the things students commonly cite as causes of stress include:
  • examinations.
  • deadlines.
  • returning to study.
  • pressure of combining paid work and study.
  • difficulty in organising work.
  • poor time management.
  • leaving assignments to the last minute.
  • out of control debts.

What are 6 causes of stress? ›

There are six main areas that can lead to work-related stress if they are not managed properly. These are: demands, control, support, relationships, role and change.

What are the top 10 sources of stress at work? ›

Top 10 causes of stress at work
  • Excessive workload.
  • Lack of control.
  • Lack of support.
  • Senior staff.
  • Peers.
  • Insufficient training.
  • Job security.
  • Working from home.


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