Just like 2015, the hustle and bustle of the holidays already seems like a distant memory. You’ve long since bought and wrapped gifts for everyone on your list. You’ve made appearances at all the parties hosted by friends and family, and maybe even survived through a couple embarrassing moments that the stain on your ugly sweater won’t let you forget.
Unfortunately for many of us, some of the stress brought on by extra expenses, exhausting travel, and excessive partying may still be lingering on. Don’t worry. Because even though these pervasive stresses can weigh us down in our personal lives as well as at work, there are solutions to help you cope and even alleviate these burdens.
Chuckle it up
According to a study presented to the American Physiological Society, laughter truly may be the best medicine. The study examines why laughing can make you feel better. Scientifically speaking, neurophysiological changes occur in your brain when you witness or experience something funny. Your emotional state is heightened, cortisol levels are reduced, and you’re generally in a better mood. These benefits aren’t short-lived either. Lee S. Berk of Loma Linda University maintains that “The physiological effects of a single one-hour session viewing a humorous video has [sic] appeared to last up to 12 to 24 hours in some individuals.” So watch a funny clip on YouTube. It may just brighten the rest of your day.
Chew a Piece of Gum
Here’s another dose of complex science to back up something so seemingly simple. A 2008 study from the Wrigley Science Institute states that apart from its obvious deliciousness and breath-enhancing properties, a simple stick of gum may relieve anxiety, increase mental acuity, reduce stress, and even improve multi-tasking abilities. So if you’ve got a couple quarters, walk to your nearest vending machine and get a pack of gum. It may be the best investment you make all day.
Listen to Some Tunes
This one may come naturally to most of you. Nothing can sooth the soul like your favorite song. If you’re fortunate to have an awesome employer, you may be able to plug your earbuds in at your desk for some musical accompaniment to your work. Psych Central’s research on music shows that it has significant de-stressing properties including relieving depression, reducing burnout, and improving mood.
Eating while you’re stressed isn’t always a bad thing! As long as you are mindful of what you’re munching on, stress-snacking can actually benefit you. The Huffington Post spoke with Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. In his conversation with the Huffington Post as well as in his books “The Happiness Diet” and “50 Shades of Kale”, Dr. Ramsey offers scientifically backed insights on the relationship between stress and eating. “The connection between the gut and brain is huge — called the ‘gut-brain axis’ — and lots of interesting data supports the idea that the gut is a major mediator of the stress response. After all, stress is a brain and immune system mediated phenomena, and your gut is the largest organ in your immune system.”
Kill stress and hunger at the same time by eating nutrient-rich foods that are low in saturated fats and sugar. Instead of a few bites of chocolate, try a protein bar. Substitute those potato chips with dried fruits and nuts or a hard-boiled egg and avocado slices. By eating healthier foods, you will satisfy your hunger and calm your mind without expanding your waistline.
One of the simplest solutions to wash down the stress of the day-to-day lies at the bottom of a glass. Put the whiskey down, I’m talking about water. Research on the relationship between water and stress reduction suggests that just one glass can turn a stressful day into a more pleasant one.
“‘Studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels,’ says Amanda Carlson, RD, director of performance nutrition at Athletes’ Performance, a trainer of world-class athletes. ‘Cortisol is one of those stress hormones. Staying in a good hydrated status can keep your stress levels down.’”
Keep yourself, your employees, and your customers hydrated with custom tumblers with your logo. A desktop tumbler will keep both hydration and brand awareness top-of-mind.
Squeeze Away Frustrations
Some work days may be smooth sailing; calm waters as far as the eye can see. Other days (read Mondays) may be an all-out tempest of frustrated clients, inboxes stuffed to the brim with requests from nearly every department, and a grogginess that no amount of coffee can cure. For these tempestuous times, squeezing a custom stress ball may be just what the doctor ordered.
According to Livestrong.com, “Squeezing [a stress ball] activates the muscles of your hand and wrist; releasing the grip allows the muscles to relax. The repeated pattern of grip and release helps to alleviate tension and stress.” By having a stress ball readily available, you are providing your staff and clientele an outlet for their tension.
Become a Plant Parent
Not only will buying a plant for your home or office help purify the air around you, studies show this also a great way to calm your mind. The Ellison Chair in International Floriculture of Texas A & M University found that adding plants to your environment can be beneficial to your health. The study maintains that “Having flowers around the home and office greatly improves people’s moods and reduces the likelihood of stress-related depression.”
Is your workspace or living quarters a bit tight? Maybe you would welcome some greenery in your space if you only had the room. If space is at a premium, we’ve found a great resource that offers tips on cultivating plants in the limited space of an office cubicle or small apartment in the city.
A reduction in workplace stress will strengthen your work force. Less stress in your employees translates to more productivity, lower health insurance premiums, fewer call-offs, and a more positive work environment overall, for employees and bosses alike.