Resource of the month: - Explore the best wellness challenge ideas for your workforce

47 Unique Stress Management Activities for Employees

13 min read
Published on 05 February, 2024

Stress! The six-letter word haunts modern life, lurking in overflowing inboxes and looming deadlines. But in the bustling world of work, where stress can be as common as coffee breaks, it's crucial to carve out pockets of calm.

After all, happy employees are productive, and a stress-free work environment is a breeding ground for creativity and collaboration.

Forget sterile offices and robotic routines. Let's inject a dose of humanness into the workday with surprisingly effective stress-busting activities that your team will love.

StressManagement

These ideas make work more enjoyable and build a better team spirit. Let's start using them!

Activities at Work to Reduce Stress

1. Embrace the Earlobe

Embrace the Earlobe

Ever heard of acupressure? No? Well, get ready for a delightful discovery. A gentle earlobe massage, practiced by circling your thumb and index finger on those fleshy bits, can instantly melt away tension. It's like instant zen in a tiny package.

2. Journal your Jiggles

Journal your jiggles

Sometimes, the weight of the world needs more than earlobe therapy. Enter the magic of journaling. It's not just for angsty teenagers anymore.

Pouring your heart out, venting frustrations, and celebrating victories on paper can be a cathartic experience, destressing your mind and decluttering your soul. Bonus points for decorating your journal with silly doodles and motivational quotes!

3. The Gratitude Sandwich

Gratitude

Life may be a buffet of ups and downs, but the "Gratitude Sandwich" helps you savor the delicious bits. This simple exercise involves writing down one thing you're grateful for, sandwiched between two small annoyances. The benefits of gratitude are enormous. It's a gentle reminder to appreciate the good, even amidst the grumbles.

For example, "I'm grateful for this sunshine, even though the printer jammed again, and my cat ate my keyboard cord." See? Instant perspective shift!

4. Positive Pep Talks

Pep Talks

Words have power, especially when directed at yourself. So, ditch the inner critic and embrace the encouraging cheerleader within. Write down empowering affirmations like "I am strong, I am capable, I am worth a donut break," and stick them where you can see them.

It's a daily dose of self-love that can turn even the bleakest Monday into a manageable one. Remember, "Fake it till you make it" applies to confidence, too!

5. Decaf Distraction

Decaf Distraction

Coffee breaks are great, but sometimes, a decaf detour can be even better. Grab a herbal tea, gather your colleagues, and swap stories and laughter. A coffee-free zone allows for meaningful connections and mini escapes from the workathon grind. Besides, who needs caffeine jitters when you have the buzz of good company.

Suggested Read: Coffee at Work: Health, Happiness and Workplace Performance

6. PMR Power

PMR Power

Feeling like a tightly wound spring? Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is your new best friend. This simple technique involves tensing and releasing different muscle groups, sending calm ripples through your body.

Imagine it as a silent disco for your muscles, where stress is the uninvited guest who politely gets shown the door. Bonus points for adding fun sound effects – a loud "whoosh" as you release the tension.

7. Aromatherapy and Desk Plants

Aromatherapydesk plant

Several scents, such as lavender, peppermint, and lemon, have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. You can reduce stress levels throughout the day by keeping an essential oil bottle on your desk.

There are plants you can keep on your desk that are fragrant. With mellow music in the background, you can enjoy the fragrance while keeping stress at bay.

Succulents, snake plants, pothos, or money plants are great choices since they are low maintenance and easy to care for. Plants require attention, so adding one can spark an interest in caring for them. Caring for and spending time with plants might develop your love for gardening, which can also be a great stress-reduction activity.

Research has shown that having plants in the workplace can improve air quality, reduce stress levels, and increase job satisfaction. The aesthetic appeal of plants is augmented by their calming effects on the mind and body, making them ideal for stress-free work environments.

8. Breathwork

Breathework

Breathwork is a meditation technique focusing on breathing to calm the mind and body. Variations of breathwork include diaphragmatic, alternate nasal, and box breathing. The practice of breathing exercises regularly can lower stress levels and improve overall health.

To seamlessly integrate this practice into your daily routine, consider the Breathe app on the Apple Watch. This intuitive app guides you through tailored breathing exercises. Whether you're seeking a moment of peace during a hectic day or looking to improve your mindfulness practice, the Breathe app delivers personalized sessions right to your wrist.

9. Work-Life Balance

Worklife-Balance

Implement policies that support a healthy work-life balance. This could include discouraging weekend work and promoting reasonable working hours.

10. Remote Working

Remote working

Offer flexible remote working options, especially beneficial for employees with long commutes. Provide essential work-from-home tools and occasionally treat remote workers to lunch via coupons.

11. Work Breaks

Work Breaks

Encourage employees to take regular breaks, including tea or lunch breaks. Ensure they are not overloaded with work, which can prevent them from taking these necessary pauses.

12. Quiet Time Areas

Quiet Time Areas

Designate specific areas in the office for employees to take quiet breaks, free from work interruptions. This could be a dedicated room or a peaceful outdoor space.

13. Stress Management Workshops

Stress Management Workshop

Regularly conduct workshops on stress management techniques to relieve stress at work. These sessions can provide valuable skills for handling work-related and personal stress.

14. Decluttering and Desk Decor Competition

Declutter

Let your team's personalities shine through by hosting a desk decoration competition. Encourage them to personalize their workspaces using creative materials and themes. This sparks imagination, adds visual interest to the office, and boosts individual expression.

Encourage regular decluttering of workspaces to create a more organized and less stressful situation. This could be done through scheduled decluttering sessions.

15. Yoga

Yoga

Offer free yoga classes or provide access to online yoga resources. This can help employees relax and refocus, benefiting their physical and mental health.

Suggested Read: 14 Fantastic Benefits Of Yoga In The Workplace

16. Snack Attack for Stress Relief

Snack Attack

Food isn't just fuel; it can be therapy, too. Dark chocolate releases mood-boosting serotonin, while crunchy veggies provide a satisfying distraction. Avocados and bananas, rich in potassium, help keep blood pressure down, creating a sense of inner peace.

So, embrace the healthy snack attack – your body and mind will thank you. Bonus points for sharing your snacks and creating a culture of communal munching!

17. Tapping

Tapping, also known as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), relies on tapping on points of your body while repeating affirmations. It is a simple yet powerful tool for reducing stress, anxiety, and negative emotions.

The idea behind tapping is that it helps the body's energy system, which gets disrupted during stress or emotional turmoil. By tapping on certain body parts, such as the top of the head, the eyebrow, the collarbone, or the thigh, you may promote a sensation of calm.

You can watch this video to know more about Emotional Freedom Technique

Team Exercises to Manage Stress

18. Musical Cure

Musical-Cure

Fill your break room with the soothing melodies of music. Studies show that it can lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone that makes you want to scream into your keyboard. So, ditch the heavy metal and let Vivaldi and Bach work their magic. Who knows, you might even discover a hidden passion for baroque concertos!

For those looking to explore music, Sound Wheel is your go-to online destination. Whether you're in the mood for jazz, rock, pop, or even ambient sounds, SoundWheel makes it easy to find the perfect soundtrack to lower your stress levels and boost your mood.

19. Hugs or High Fives

Hugs and hi5

Human touch is an underrated stress reliever. A quick hug with a colleague or a celebratory high five can release oxytocin, the "love hormone," lowering stress and boosting happiness.

Think of it as a stress-busting secret handshake that spreads good vibes faster than a viral meme. Embrace the power of a friendly pat on the back or a shared fist bump – a simple gesture that can make a difference.

20. Talk it Out

Talk it out

Bottling up emotions is like carrying a backpack full of bricks. So, unpack that baggage and talk things out. Encourage open communication, whether it's through employee counseling or casual chats over coffee.

Sometimes, all it takes is a listening ear and a friendly voice to turn a stress storm into a gentle drizzle. Remember, vulnerability is strength, and sharing your burdens can lighten the load for everyone.

21. Sound Healing

Sound healing

The ancient sound healing practice uses instruments to create a vibration that releases energy to ease the brain and bring harmony into the soul. It tends to revive you to mental, physical, and spiritual balance.

Sound healing is a technique to reduce stress or tension. It assists the brain waves in the state of mindfulness.

Benefits of sound therapy

22. Mindfulness Meditation

MindfuL Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is an ancient relaxation technique. It promotes self-awareness through focused deep breathing. It serves as an effective stress reliever, eliminating negative emotions and mental health issues.

10-minute mindfulness meditation can resolve all your hustle and bustle moments at the workplace.

23. Team Sports

Team-sports

Organize sports activities like companywide runs, relay races, or tug of war. These activities promote physical health and team bonding.

24. Departmental Work Rotations

Rotate employees between different departments periodically. This provides exposure to new challenges and diversifies their work experience.

25. Upskilling

Upskilling

Provide opportunities for employees to learn new skills or improve existing ones. This could involve funding educational programs or providing time for self-study.

26. Photo Scavenger Hunt

Photo scavanging

Create a list of quirky or unique photo prompts related to your office or surrounding area. Let your team create a photo scavenger hunt, creatively capturing these prompts. This promotes exploration, teamwork, and a dose of friendly competition.

Online Team Activities for Stress Relief

27. Karaoke

Karaoke

Host karaoke sessions for team bonding. Let employees choose songs and perform via a conferencing platform or in-house setup. This not only relieves stress but also showcases talents.

28. Movie Night

Movie night

Organize movie nights for team bonding in the office or at a theater. Allow employees to vote on the movie selection and provide snacks like popcorn for a complete experience.

29. Talent Show

Talent show

Host a talent show where employees can showcase their unique skills. This could include various performances like music, comedy, or storytelling.

30. Start a Walking Movement

Walking

Encourage regular walking activities, such as challenges for most steps taken or walking meetings. Walking can reduce stress, improve health, and foster team bonding.

31. Lunchtime Book Club

Lunchtime book

Start a lunchtime book club where employees can discuss a prechosen book over lunch. This fosters intellectual engagement, connection over shared interests, and a break from the usual work routine.

Tips for Managers on Stress Management

32. Having an Activity to Look Forward to

Activity to look upto

Having something to anticipate, even a small treat like a postwork movie, can inject pep into your day. Encourage your team to find their "workplace happy place," an activity they look forward to, making them grin with anticipation.

A tiny spark of joy can light up the whole week. Maybe it's a book club for fantasy novels, a lunchtime yoga session, or an office ping pong tournament – the possibilities are endless!

33. Employee Recognition

Recognition

Recognize and appreciate employees' efforts through gifts, social media shoutouts, and professional development opportunities. Personalize employee recognition to suit individual preferences.

34. Counseling

Councelling

Provide access to professional counseling for both work-related and personal stressors. This could include onsite or virtual counseling options, allowing employees to seek guidance and support.

35. Flexible Working Hours

Flexible-time

Allow employees to choose their work hours within the company's operational requirements. This flexible working hours can help them work during their most productive hours.

36. Regular Surveys

Regular Surveys

Conduct surveys to understand the stressors affecting your employees. Use the feedback to make informed changes and improvements in the workplace.

37. Manager to Employee Communication Channels

Communication Channels

Establish open and effective communication channels between managers and employees. This can help in quickly addressing concerns and reducing work-related stress.

38. Realistic Expectations

Set achievable targets and goals for employees to prevent undue stress. Ensure these expectations align with their capabilities and resources.

Fun Group Activities to Relieve Stress

39. Dance Parties

Dance Parties

Organize dance parties after work or at the end of a project. This allows employees to unwind, interact socially, and have fun. Incorporate activities like choreographed dances by management for added enjoyment.

40. Foosball

Foosball

Introduce foosball tables in the office for employees to enjoy during breaks. Organize foosball competitions to encourage friendly competition and teamwork.

41. Improv Games

Improv Games

Laughter is the best medicine, and improv games are a hilarious way to unwind. Conduct teambuilding exercises like "Two truths and a lie" or "Freeze Frames" to encourage spontaneity and laughter.

42. Blindfolded Sculpting

Divide your team into pairs and blindfold one person in each pair. The sighted partner guides their blindfolded teammate through verbal instructions to create a clay sculpture. This activity tests communication skills, trust, and creativity lightheartedly.

43. Office Escape Room

Turn your office into an escape room with hidden clues, puzzles, and challenges related to your work or common interests. This fun activity encourages teamwork, problem-solving, and a sense of accomplishment when they finally "escape."

44. Build a Cardboard City

Provide your team with many cardboard boxes, tape, and markers. Challenge them to design and build a miniature city together, each group responsible for different sections like parks, schools, or businesses. This fosters collaboration, spatial thinking, and a sense of community.

45. Potluck Extravaganza

Potluck

Encourage your team to share their culinary talents by organizing a potluck lunch. This event celebrates diversity, promotes cultural exchange, and provides a delicious break from office meal options.

46. Board Game Bonanza

Board Game Bonanza

Dust off those board games and organize a game night after work. This creates a casual and fun atmosphere for your team to bond, engage in friendly competition, and destress from the workday.

47. Office Mural Making

Mural Making

Transform a blank wall into a collaborative masterpiece! Divide your team into smaller groups and provide them with paints, brushes, and stencils. Let their creativity flow as they depict a stress-free work environment, their shared values, or anything that brings them joy.

Conclusion

The illustrious William James once said, "The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another." This profound insight encapsulates the essence of stress management in the workplace.

Employers empower their team members to choose their path to tranquility by providing various stress relief activities. Remember, the journey to a stress-free work environment is collective, where every small step counts towards nurturing a culture of wellness and positivity.

Frequency Asked Questions

1. What are some common effective stress relief activities I can do?

Common stress relief activities include meditation, yoga, hobbies, gardening, and creative expression. Each activity offers a unique pathway to managing stress.

2. How often should one engage in stress reduction activities?

The frequency of stress reduction activities varies from person to person. It's important to listen to your body and mind, prioritizing self-care. Regular engagement in these activities can have a profound impact on managing stress.

3. Can stress relief activities have long-term benefits?

Absolutely! Incorporating stress-relieving activities into your daily routine can significantly lower stress levels, improving your mood, mental health, and overall well-being in the long run.

By adopting these strategies, employees and employers can forge a path to a more harmonious, productive, and stress-free workplace.

This article is written by Ritushree R Singh, who is a content writer and marketer at Vantage Circle. Besides having a curious heart with an avid taste for music, she relishes traveling to new places and exploring different cultures whenever possible. To get in touch, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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