Work is the biggest source of stress in many people’s lives, and it’s one source that can’t be avoided, at least not in the short term. This makes managing stress at work vital to both our work performance and our overall health. There are many ways you can de-stress at work. Here are just a few.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Taking a short series of deep breaths is a good way to reduce stress in any environment, including at work. Long, deep breaths calm the body and help reset the nervous system. This reduces blood pressure, cortisol levels, anxiety, and other symptoms of stress. A short set of deep breathing exercises can do wonders to lower your stress levels at work. Three to six deep breaths are ideal and will take you less than five minutes. You don’t even have to leave your desk to use this method, and you can use it as often as needed.

Mini Meditation Sessions

As with deep breathing, meditation forces the body to slow down and helps reduce stress. It doesn’t take a long mediation session, either; a five-to-ten-minute session is all you need to de-stress enough to feel better. Find a quiet place or go outside, set a timer, and meditate. If you need help, many guided mediation apps and programs have specially designed mini sessions.

Physical Movement

Exercise and burning energy will reduce your stress. You probably can’t leave work to take an aerobics class in the middle of the day, but you don’t have to in order to de-stress. Stand up and do some stretching exercises. Stretch out your arms and back and feel the stress leaving your body along with the tension. Take a short walk to increase the benefits. A lap or two around the office will reduce your stress and make you more alert and productive. Try to work a longer walk into your lunchtime routine. A ten-to-fifteen-minute walk in the middle of the day will make your stress levels plummet. When I worked as an ophthalmic assistant, I didn’t find my job stressful, I actually loved it, but my coworker and I would go outside during our lunch hour and walk around the building. Weather permitting. It was a great way to start off the afternoon, and we got some much-needed exercise too.


Music has been scientifically proven to alter our moods. It is one of the best ways to lower your stress levels at work and elsewhere. Find some music you like that soothes and calms you and put it on your phone or your computer to listen to when you start feeling stressed at work. Keep a set of headphones at work, so you have them handy.

Essential Oils

There are so many essential oils that have been scientifically proven to help reduce feelings of stress. The sense of smell is a very powerful sense. I have a diffuser on my desk in my office at my husband’s store and also one in my office at home. I keep essential oils like citrus blends at the ready for when clients are just a little too much. (My husband’s not mine.) Citrus is a very uplifting scent.

These five tips will help you to de-stress at work in the short run. However, if your job is chronically stressful, you might want to consider more long-term, systemic changes, such as delegating tasks, altering your workload, or even changing careers. Your health is worth it.

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