27 Cheap Ways to De-Stress at Work
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Mental health can be difficult to prioritize, especially at work. However, putting your own well-being on the sidelines isn’t good for you or your employer. In fact, leaving stress, anxiety or depression unresolved can lead to reduced productivity in the office and more money out of your pocket looking for stress-relieving solutions.
Manage stress and maintain your mental health before, during and after work by becoming more mindful of and purposeful in your daily routine. Practicing breathwork, taking a multivitamin and unplugging an hour before bed are just a few examples of cheap ways to make your day go a bit smoother.
Instead of investing in the latest stress-busting fad or, even worse, ignoring your psyche, consider implementing a few of the following simple and inexpensive suggestions into your work schedule.
How to De-Stress Before Work
Before walking out the door to head to work, take a moment or two to prepare for the day ahead in hopes of soothing any potential stress triggers before they arise.
Beginning your morning with positive and purposeful actions will set you on the right path to conquer the rest of your day. Start with one (or all!) of the economical and research-based de-stressing ideas below:
Practice gratitude: If you’re feeling anxious in the AM, making even a quick mental note of what you’re grateful for immediately switches your mind to the positive. Make it a habit to appreciate your health, your home and your loved ones in the morning each day to uplift your mood for free. A positive outlook invites calm and clarity — both necessary to de-stress.
Make a to-do list: Before getting to it, create a checklist of tasks you would like to accomplish for the day. Make a note of obligations and responsibilities to be prioritized, and consider organizing them accordingly by putting the most important item first. Relief will come from making the list along with satisfaction when checking off each task upon completion. Tracking your tasks will make them feel more manageable and help keep you mentally focused throughout the day.
Editor’s tip: Print out this daily planner to jot down your to-dos, workout goals, what you’re thankful for, the day’s motto and other notes!
Use aromatherapy: Essential oils have healing and uplifting properties, are affordable and have been used for centuries. These oils are highly concentrated and can be put in a diffuser or worn directly on the skin alongside a carrier oil. Try dabbing a bit of lavender or ylang-ylang oil on the inside of your mask to reduce stress and decrease blood pressure with every whiff. New to the essential oil game? Try a few scents and find your fave at a reduced price by using a coupon for The Oil Diffusery.
Drink lemon water: Drinking lemon water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning can have some incredible benefits. On top of potentially improving the appearance of skin and freshening your breath, lemon water promotes hydration — a great way to avoid headaches later in the day that could hinder your productivity.
Enjoy a healthy breakfast: Grab something quick like a bowl of oatmeal or a yogurt parfait for your first meal. Oatmeal will soothe any carb cravings without spiking your glucose levels like a donut or a bowl of cereal might, while yogurt can help soothe any stress-related G.I. issues. Pick up a multivitamin at a discounted price with a Vitamin Shoppe coupon to take after your meal!
Eat outside: Enjoy a side of fresh air and vitamin D with your breakfast by having it outside. Research has shown that spending time outside brings benefits like increased focus and concentration. Now it won’t work if you bring your phone, tablet or computer, so put your phone on the charger while you soak in some sun! Being in nature also benefits your immune system, so start your day al fresco for a free and fun way to de-stress and prepare for the day ahead.
Exercise/stretch regularly: Whether you’re doing a complete workout or simple yoga stretches, doing them in the morning provides you increased alertness and more overall energy throughout your day. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to enroll in an expert class to begin your yoga journey. Feel free to stay in your jammies and search for a few beginner yoga moves online to try right from your bedroom. If your inner yogi is awakened, use an Alo Yoga coupon for eco-aware and sweatshop-free gear for a discounted price.
Make a focus playlist: Using music as medicine is a frugal and creative way to manage stress and burnout at work. Incredibly, music has been recognized as an effective way to ease nerves and boost the effectiveness of the immune system. In fact, music was found to be more beneficial in helping calm the nerves of pre-op surgery patients than prescription drugs.
Plan your meals: Not only will planning your meals ahead of time save you money by minimizing the expenses of eating out, but it will also eliminate the stress of deciding where to order from. Be sure to pack a healthy lunch that provides enough protein and carbs to keep your energy up without crashing.
Kiss your loved ones: Being affectionate with your loved ones is a great stress-buster. It releases oxytocin, the stress-reducing hormone your body naturally produces when you’re excited. Who knew that a little love could even help lower your blood pressure? Even more of a reason to sneak in that extra smooch before hitting the road to work. Xoxo!
Chew a piece of gum: freshen your breath and perk up without spending on coffee with a piece of minty fresh gum. Chewing gum can calm down pre-work jitters and improve alertness. Use this Safeway coupon to save on your next pack.
How to De-Stress At Work
With all the emails, calls and messages that make up a regular workday, it might seem next to impossible to take a moment for yourself. Make a change and break the cycle of stress. Best part? You don’t need to leave your desk or break your budget to start. Check out a few of the cheap ways to de-stress while at work:
Breathe mindfully: Being mindful simply means being aware. Try taking 30 seconds out of your day to focus on your breath. Upon inhale, think ‘I am breathing in’ and, ‘I am breathing out’ when you exhale. Breathing mindfully calms our bodies, knocking out stress. This can be done anywhere throughout the day. If you continue feeling stressed, take a few extra moments to continue your breathwork for relief.
Bring in your fur baby: If your office is Fido-friendly, consider bringing your dog in for a few days to uplift your mood. Psychologists at USC found that having office pets not only promotes work-life balance, but it also nurtures productivity and reduces stress. Use a PetSmart coupon to save on the new doggie bed for Fido’s new favorite spot at the foot of your desk.
Clean your desk: If your workspace is messy, it could be negatively affecting your mood and hindering your productivity. Declutter your space and your mind when you take 10 minutes to organize. Picking up and putting things where they belong can help give you a sense of control and create an environment that soothes and inspires.
Catch a coffee break: Grab a coworker and get some coffee to perk up. Getting away from your desk and treating yourself to a warm cup of coffee or tea with a side of light-hearted conversation is a cheap and easy mental reset. Craving a caramel latte? Us too. Use this Dutch Bros. Coffee coupon and save on your next drink. Editor’s tip: Grab an extra coffee as a gift for your boss and see how well your next meeting goes!
Enjoy an ear massage: Encourage your body to release stress-relieving hormones called endorphins with a quick ear massage. The ear is a natural anti-stress area containing hundreds of pressure points that can be lightly kneaded to release tension. Accompany the massage with closed eyes and deep breaths for a mini spa treatment with none of the spa costs.
Laugh a little: It’s no joke that laughter is the best medicine. Laughing increases and then decreases shortly after, triggering a relaxed feeling in your body. That means even the corniest of jokes are good for your health if they make you giggle — but don’t tell dad unless you want to hear that one joke again. By chance that you’re reading this article to de-grump someone else, consider printing out these jokes and adding them as a fun surprise into their lunchbox or taping them somewhere silly.
Listen to a podcast: If you have busy work that you need to complete, but can’t seem to get in the groove, try streaming an interesting podcast to help the time pass. Following an engaging story while you work will keep you focused on work but distracted from the stress of it. Win-win! If you’re able to stream for longer amounts of time, consider listening to a novel. Save on a story when you use a coupon from Audiobooks.com.
Make time for a nap: When you just can’t keep your eyes open, it may be time to take a nap. But don’t get too cozy! The Mayo Clinic recommends taking power naps before 3 pm and limiting shut-eye to between 10 and 20 minutes for the most health benefits. Bring a pillow from home or purchase one at a low price using a Sleep EZ coupon to make sure you don’t wake up with neck or back pain.
Munch a power snack: The only thing better than a power nap? A power snack! Grab a healthy snack from your local grocer to tide between-meal hunger. Use this Kind Snacks coupon and order some granola bars to keep at your desk — tasty and cheap!
How to De-Stress After Work
A key to staying relaxed at home is to leave work-related stress in the office. Make sure you’re taking strides to stay relaxed and rested at home so that you can be productive and positive at work. Find a way to de-stress after work without spending all your hard-earned coin from one of the options below:
Call your mom: …or you dad, or your bestie, or your grandma, or uncle, or whoever puts a smile on your face! Catching up with a friend or relative is more than just a nice time. In fact, studies have found that adults with rich social lives lead healthier lives in general. Calling a loved one to update them on life will combat loneliness and even help reduce blood pressure. Nothing like sharing a conversation with a loved one to improve your mood without costing a dollar.
Doodle: Momentarily shift your focus to something lighthearted like art when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed at work. Taking a second to express yourself through drawing or painting will help bring some stillness to your mind, and also give your eyes a break from all that screen time. Get some markers to store in your desk for cheap with this Milo Art Supplies coupon. Once you’ve got your markers, print out this relaxation coloring page and get your doodle on for next to nothing.
Exercise: It’s common knowledge that exercise is necessary for your physical health, but did you know it can be great for your mental health as well? In fact, exercising releases the same chemicals that many anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications do, such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Even more good news — it’s free! Take a stroll outside, do a couple of jumping jacks or even dance along to your favorite album to shake off the strain of the day.
Light a candle: Similar to essential oils, lighting a candle is a frugal way to de-stress and enhance your mood through aromatherapy. Choose a relaxing scent like lavender and place the candle next to your bed while you wind down. Scents influence our emotional state by producing mood-regulating hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Use a Yankee Candle coupon to get your whole home smelling lovely in no time.
Meditate: After a busy day in the office, it can be challenging to separate the stresses of work and home. Do yourself and your family a favor by taking 10 or 15 minutes to meditate. Find a quiet place where you can sit and listen to your breath uninterrupted, as these moments should be spent with your eyes closed and no distractions. Meditating will help you get out of work-mode so that you can better engage with your loved ones at home in the present moment.
Read a book: Reading is a sure-fire inexpensive way to calm down after a long day. Not only does it improve memory and concentration, but incredibly, reading can also reduce stress up to 68%. Dive into a story and momentarily escape the stresses of reality. Or, if fiction isn’t your thing, check out the “Best Sellers in Stress Management Self-Help” section when you order your next story using this Amazon coupon.
Unplug early: Scratch your screen time in the evening to get a more restful night’s sleep that will lead to a good morning and a productive workday. Devices like TVs, cellphones, tablets or anything else with a screen emit blue light, which can reduce your REM sleep stage, a critical time for cognitive functioning. Cutting electronics out at least an hour before bed will improve your sleep without having to clock in any additional hours.
Even if your career is a challenging one, nobody deserves to be stressed 24–7 and you shouldn’t have to open your wallet to find relief.
Take the time to learn which free stress-relieving activities work best for your routine so that you can remain calm before, during and after work. Your colleagues, family, friends and your body will appreciate your calm demeanor despite your hectic schedule.
If you’re still feeling a bit on edge, there’s only one thing sure to calm your nerves — chocolate! Treat yourself to a decadent truffle after work with this Lindt Chocolate coupon and melt away any residual stress with a tasty treat.
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