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45-Second De-Stress Tips

45-Second De-Stress Tips

    If you’re anything like me, you wake up in the morning, hit the ground running, work through lunch, and only stop thinking about your job when your head hits the pillow. So, needless to say, I occasionally have days where I’m stressed out of my mind.

    According to Dr. Paul J. Rosch, the president of the American Institute of Stress, ”Americans increasingly seem to be living life in the fast lane. A better understanding of the harm that stress can cause, as well as the possibility of some benefits, would help an increasing number of people.”

    You may think that your day is too jam-packed with meetings and events to find the time for relaxation…and you’d be wrong. Believe it or not, you can take measures to reduce your stress levels that will only take 45 seconds of your time. Here are ten tips that can help you de-stress in record time.

    1. Read a Poem

    Take 45 seconds to savor a single haiku, or read over your favorite sonnet. Beautiful language can really twist your mind in a way that helps to push away the cares of the day.

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    And even if poetry isn’t really your thing, you might find enjoyment in reading something with a humorous bent. Think Shel Silverstein, Ogden Nash, or Dr. Seuss.

    2. Blow Off Some Steam

    Get up and get moving, just for the amount of time it takes to hum a couple rounds of “Happy Birthday”. If you can burn off some of that nervous energy, you’ll feel energized, refreshed, and far more mentally capable of handling the stresses of your day.

    If you can get some sun in during those precious few seconds, so much the better. Never underestimate the power of fresh air and sunshine to improve your mood.

    3. Follow Your Nose

    I’ve written about the benefits of aromatherapy in a previous post here, and I’m still impressed by the speed with which a single sniff of perfume can change my mood. If you don’t have essential oils on hand, peel an orange at your desk and crush the rind in your hand to release the scent of the orange. Orange is a great scent to help you feel energized and rejuvenated.

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    4. Elevate Your Brain

    Meditate, pray, commune with nature…whatever works for you. Take a few moments to center yourself, open your mind, and get spiritual…if that sort of thing is helpful for you.

    5. Pump Your Jam

    There’s a reason that sporting arenas play songs when introducing the starting lineup for a sports team. The right song can change your outlook on life in under 45 seconds. The trick is to find a song snippet that works for you.

    Maybe it’s the “Tro lo lo” guy, something off a Jock Jams compilation album, or the over-the-top intro to “The Final Countdown”. Alternatively, maybe a snippet of something classical would be better for calming you. It comes down to personal preference, and exactly what about your day has got you so stressed out.

    6. Don’t Forget to Breathe

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    Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Slowly. Repeat. Make sure the breaths are steady and full.

    It’s just that simple.

    7. Chuckle

    Hit the randomizer button on your favorite web comic, engage in cube warfare with a co-worker, or check out a website that offers a “Joke of the Day” service. Laughter really is the best medicine, and if you can laugh away the stress, your outlook for the rest of the day will be a lot more rosy.

    8. Organize

    Sometimes the best way to tackle stress is to clean house and get organized. Set up a new email filter, organize your paperwork, clean the clutter off your desk, or something along those lines. When you have all your ducks in a row, so to speak, your workload will seem a lot more manageable.

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    9. Snuggle Up

    Get cuddly with a pet, a blanket, a favorite sweater….anything soft that you stroke with your fingertips. Just like Lenny in “Of Mice and Men”, most people find that they reach their “happy place” when touching something soft like fur or textiles. Scratching a dog or cat behind the ears can help to quickly lower your blood pressure…if there aren’t any pets allowed in your office, try carrying a lucky rabbit’s foot.

    10. Chow Down

    Eating or drinking helps to relax us. That’s why we give pacifiers to babies. Just try to make sure you’re making smart food choices (ie, choose a crunchy apple over a bag of potato chips).

    Conclusion

    There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Stress management is an incredibly important tool, and the more techniques you can master to lower your blood pressure, the better. With just 45 seconds, you can de-stress and re-focus your mind to maximize your productivity.

    More by this author

    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity? How to Diagnose the “Phantom Cursor” Issue on Your Mac Extreme Minimalism: Andrew Hyde and the 15-Item Lifestyle 6 Easy Tips for Living with 100 Items or Less

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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