Let’s face it, many of us believe our jobs are our primary sources of stress. With projects to keep up with, meetings to attend, and emails to write, there just isn’t enough time (or coffee) in a day. Many people end up taking their work home with them, if not physically then mentally, and fresh ideas and things to do become the main source of sleepless nights. That's why here at HubSpot we try to find small and easy ways to bring balance to employees' day-to-days.
Having a work-life balance and ways to de-stress during the workday minimize burnout and keep us happy and healthy when we come in each morning. So, here are five simple ways you can boost your own mental wellness and find a little relaxation during the 9 to 5.
If it seems like you’ve been hearing a lot about your colleague’s Pilates class, office yoga practice, or standing desk, there’s a good reason for it. Not only does stretching enhance flexibility and range of motion, but it also increases blood flow to the brain and helps relieve tension in those muscles where you’re storing your stress. So take 10 minutes during lunch, or even just do a quick overhead reach at your desk when you’re feeling tense. You’ll be amazed at how refreshed your body can feel with just a simple stretch.
Ha-ha. Lol. Yes, seriously! Funny YouTube videos, satirical blogs, and just punning around with your colleagues can have tremendous benefits for your physical and mental health. In addition to lowering blood pressure and boosting your immune system, laughing actually reduces stress hormones and makes you more creative. Who knew goofing around had so many health benefits? Grab your co-workers around your desk to watch the Do Not Laugh Challenge: Animal Edition on YouTube. We promise you’ll thank us.
Unless you’re a bot, if you’re reading this then you’re breathing. But do you ever take a deep breath and think to yourself, “Is that the first deep breath I’ve taken all day?” When we’re stressed, our breathing gets shallower (part of our fight or flight response). So, take a minute or two every hour to breathe in and out slowly a few times. Deep breathing reduces stress and boosts your immune system. Win! Ready? Breathe in – (hold for a count of 3) – breathe out. Now repeat that 5 times and see how relaxed you feel.
Many days, we find ourselves inside an office building staring at a monitor, cell phone, or tablet. It’s easy to think you need to be tied to a screen all day every day to get through that pile of work, but consider taking a moment to embrace the outdoors. Studies have found that taking short walks or standing outside can reduce depressive symptoms and reset your brain for the next task. Have a 30-minute meeting with someone? Suggest taking a walk outside instead of sitting in in a conference room; they’ll probably be just as appreciative to get some fresh air as you are.
Check Things Off the List
Sure, all the above tips come from experts, but here’s one I personally believe in: make a to-do list and check things off. You’re thinking, “But my to-do list causes my stress!” Let me ask you this: Is your list detailed enough? If you’re working on huge tasks and need some checkmark validation, start putting the smaller tasks on the list. “Respond to Frank’s email—check!” “Open IT ticket—check!” “Go outside, breathe, stretch, and listen to a comedy podcast—check, check, check, and check!” Ahhh, you have no idea how satisfying putting that little check or crossing out something on your list can feel; really gets those endorphins flowing.
October is Mental Health Awareness Month, and HubSpot is working globally both in and out of the office to promote a healthy work-life balance. All month we are holding workshops, panels, and classes to help HubSpotters unwind at work and also educate our employees on what mental health is and how we can work together to fight against the stigmas often associated with it. For more information on mental health awareness, as well as phone numbers and contacts to reference if you or a friend are experienceing levels of distress or depression that goes beyond everyday stress, go to MentalHealth.gov.