How to relax at work

20 November 2019

Share this content:

Why should we take the time to relax at work?

Faced with additional work, pressure from customers, and the frantic pace, it is good to know how to take a break in order to be able to start again refreshed. The first stage to learn how to manage pressure is to firstly be aware of it. Ignoring worries or unease and carrying on as if everything was fine will only create a vicious circle. Nervous fatigue can lead to burn-out, a syndrome resulting from chronic work stress which has not been managed successfully.

Taking a break at work

It is essential to learn how to relax to maintain your professional quality of life. Various relaxation methods when repeated daily help to remove stress and to let go. For all that, it is not necessary for every employee to take time out to calm down and relieve their pressure. In France, allowing yourself to take a relaxing break in the workplace is still traditionally frowned upon. However, ways of thinking are changing. Conscious of the stressful activity that a certain kind of professional situation can generate, 57% of employers agree with encouraging their teams to give themselves rest time. Particularly as relaxation sessions at work can bring equilibrium and energy, help with concentration, promote the memory and social behaviour, especially teamwork. There are many stimulating assets which let people be more productive.  A quarter of employees note that they are tired and lose concentration in the middle of the afternoon. For businesses the stakes are financial as 1 euro invested in well-being at work has a return of 13 euro on investment (absences not taken, renewed effectiveness...).

 

Some relaxation methods and exercises to use at work

With a full schedule, it is recommended to allow yourself a few minutes to relax. This relaxing break will never be time wasted. On the contrary, it lets you face the day more effectively. Increasingly, businesses have a break room. This is a real plus for employee well-being as this space can offer a separate space where everyone can disconnect, listen to music, have a drink of tea or even meditate. Some will even take a nap, ideally on a relaxation chair specially designed to reduce muscular tension. Taking a nap even if it’s a power one will bring numerous benefits as it provides improvement in our mental and physiological performances (concentration, effectiveness, mood, cardiac rhythm, and digestion). For a perfect rest, it is advisable to sleep ten to twenty minutes after a meal, in a cool, quiet environment.

Two employees resting in the break room at work

If you do not have a dedicated rest space, some simple relaxation methods can help you to relax. Abdominal breathing exercises can help to combat stress at work. In a seated position, breathe in, letting your chest expand, and breathe out, feeling it deflate. You can also try alternate breathing which is a basis of yoga. With your eyes closed, breathe in through both nostrils, then hold your right nostril closed and exhale through the left one, then alternate. These breathing techniques help to limit stress hormones, in particular cortisol, and to reset a regular cardiac rhythm.

Massage is also a good way to calm the nervous system. You can massage your fingers and hands, as well as your temples, the nape of the neck and the back of your skull by making little circular movements. Finally, if you have the opportunity, after lunch, for example, go for a short walk. Walking, doing a few stretches and getting some fresh air will help to find a state of relaxation.