Work sucks: you know it, your cat knows it, and your cat’s squeaky toy knows it. It’s long, stressful, boring, and if you work in retail, filled to the brim with difficult people. It’s easy to let yourself turn into a big ball of anxiety and murderous fantasies, but believe it or not, there are ways to unwind even in the most stressful of workplaces. And not only that, but it really is in your best interests to do so; here is why and how.
Part 1: Why should I relax at work?
Staying calm and relaxed in the workplace helps productivity and keeps yourself sane. Most workplaces will force you into dealing with people and things that you hate, or that get under your skin. Finding a way to relax before, during or after work helps alleviate the stress that causes, and will ultimately make you a more productive worker, now that you’re free from thinking about how you’re going to call the sheriff to confess before the voices take over.
It may come as a shock to some, but letting your anger and anxiety build up to a steaming boil doesn’t exactly make for good customer service. Your client or customer will be able to tell if you don’t like them, and if it’s obvious enough, then your boss will find out and now you’re really in trouble. Even if it’s something small like plugging in your QC35 Bose headphones and listening to music between customers, you need some way to let off the pressure so you can work more efficiently.
Moreover, stress and anxiety are emotional states that feed on themselves. The more stressed out or angry you are, the easier it is for other things to make that feeling worse. It is imperative that you remain calm, and find a way to vent your anger and stress when it starts building up.
Part 2: Ok, so how can I relax?
Relaxing at the workplace is a pretty easy task if you figure out the best times to do so. That’s actually the first bit of advice: carve out a nice time for yourself. Even if you’re just listening to music during lunch break, let yourself unwind for a bit.
These methods of relaxation are as follows:
1. If you work in an office, play some relaxing music while you work. You could set up your workspace to use a Revolve Speaker by Bose, to make sure the sound is all around you. Or if you have work that seriously needs doing, play music that makes you want to get up and run, and instead put that energy into work.
2. Eat a good breakfast before work, if you can. Hunger can make an already stressful workplace even more so, so always make sure you come into work with food in your belly. If you don’t have time to cook for yourself, leave earlier than normal, and pick up some breakfast from a drive-thru.
3. Get a gym membership or join a boxing club, or really anywhere you can physically get out your stress and anger after work in a safe and controlled environment. Nothing relieves stress faster than embedding your fist into some poor innocent punching bag whom you’ve taped your most annoying customer’s face onto.
4. Organize your work area, clean up the clutter. Besides wanting to look professional, nothing builds stress like needing a paper for an assignment and having to sort through the heaps and mountains of papers you should’ve discarded months ago.
5. Leave the office during your lunch hour. Don’t eat at your desk, surrounded by all the work that awaits you the minute you’ve finished off that tuna sandwich. Get out of the office and get some air for an hour, let yourself unwind so you can get back to work refreshed and recharged.
6. Find a friend to vent to about your day after work, maybe over drinks at your favorite bar. Sometimes the best way to get out all of that frustration is to tell someone what’s bothering you. They don’t even have to give you any advice, just letting it out of your system will help you feel much better.
7. For those unable to find a gym or boxing club or unwilling to put up with the sweaty testosterone-laced air, get yourself a stress ball or Rubik’s Cube. Something malleable or sturdy that you can fiddle with when you’re stuck in your chair, lunch hour is 3 hours off, and you just had to explain to some mouth breather who uses “literally” incorrectly how to plug in their computer 3 times over. Fidget spinners are also a great tool for this purpose.
8. If you have your own work space, make it more your own. Invest in an ergonomic chair that doesn’t make your spine hate you, or cover your space with personal accessories and knick-knacks to make yourself more at ease.
9. Try getting to know your co-workers when you can. Dealing with other people can be daunting for a lot of people, especially in high-stress workplaces. But knowing you have someone on your side can take a huge load off your chest.
Part 3: When all else fails…
Quit, plain and simple. If you absolutely, positively cannot stay relaxed in your job, it’s probably time to find a new job. Easier said than done, granted, but if you’re giving your all to a job and not getting anything in return, you don’t owe them your continued service. As soon as you can, take a new, less stressful job and be on your way.
Your workplace doesn’t have to be the worst part of your day, regardless of how hard it tries to be just that. Even the most easily stressed person can find a way to take the edge off during work hours. So if your job is causing you frustration, try one of the above tips to make your work day a necessary evil, but not an intolerable one.