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23 Lesser-Known Stress Relief Activities & Ideas for Office

11 min read
Published on 26 September, 2020

Office stress is one of the main culprits harming productivity and health at the workplace. Even worse, it is virtually inevitable in today’s work culture. Most of this truth comes down to the current generation's highly competitive market; survival of the fittest.

Now, though workplace stress is pretty standard these days, it is essential to combat the situation. In doing so, many companies do their best to develop smart stress relief activities and ideas at work.

The most common of these would be exercises, office meditation techniques, breathing techniques, yoga in the workplace, etc. While all these work perfectly well in managing stress, there are still many more options your employees can give a try.

So, here are some of those lesser-known stress relief activities and ideas for your workforce.

23 Lesser-Known Stress Relief Activities and Ideas for the Office


1. Earlobe Massage

While corporate massage therapy is an excellent way to fight stress, it can sometimes get expensive. To cut costs, you can advise workers to massage themself during their breaks. In this regard, an earlobe massage is a great alternative.

Earlobe Massage is an excellent way to release tension in the body. Individuals can do this by gently forming small circles with the thumb and index fingers on the earlobe.

Massaging the right earlobe has positive effects on the left side of the brain and pituitary gland. Likewise, gently rubbing the left earlobe has a pleasant effect on the brain's right side and the pineal gland's simulation.

2. Maintain a Journal


Workers should always talk about the things that bothers them. But, at times, employees may not find their close friends to talk with at work. In some cases, workers may not want to talk at all about their problems. In this case, maintaining a journal is essential to communicate emotions.

Workers should write down the things bothering them in a journal and feel free. It acts as a medium to let things out and is also a healthy habit in the long run.

Related: 11 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques For Employees At Work

3. Looking at Past Memories.

In the present stressful scenario, our future always seems bleak as well. In such cases, past memories often make us feel better. Reliving the pleasant moments takes us back to the good old days and makes us forget about the stressful present.

In this stress-relief activity, workers can look at their happy photos and try to recapture the joyous days. It will help individuals alleviate stress, workplace depression and reduce anxiety.

4. A Gratitude Sandwich


This is not an actual sandwich that you can eat, but rather an exercise for the notepad. There will always be good and bad moments in life. We should be grateful for the right moments rather than being sad for the bad moments.

The statement above is precisely the idea behind this activity. In this activity, individuals should write down one thing that is going wrong in the middle of two things going right. This will help one be grateful for the great things and have a fighting attitude towards the negative ones.

Related: Top 5 Benefits Of Gratitude On Workplace Wellness

5. Positive Messaging

Employees should practice positive messaging for themselves. Positive messaging is writing positive things about oneself to gain motivation through tough times. For example, “I am strong, I am happy, I am valuable," etc.

Also read: 21 Positive Thinking Ideas For A Workplace To Encourage

6. Decaf Breaks

Coffee breaks can be instrumental in fighting stress too. Having a coffee break with other workers helps one socialize and forget about work. A distraction, as such, is helpful from time to time to maintain sanity in the workplace. However, one must be sure to have decaf as caffeine can increase stress levels.

Related Article: 8 Awesome ideas for Brain Breaks for Adults

7. Side projects

Employers should also allow some time for workers to concentrate on a side project of their choosing. It will help workers gain better skillsets and also distract them from the job that is causing stress. It is because side projects chosen by employees are generally to their liking.

This interest in the projects is enough to make oneself feel good about the work itself.

8. PMR

PMR, or Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique, is a form of office exercise to release stress. It works by removing the tension in the body's muscles. Workers can practice this exercise at their desks. PMR at the office should emphasize the face, hands, shoulders, etc.

To do this exercise, you should pull a grim face, close your eyes tight, and tighten your forehead. Hold this pressure in the face for a few seconds, and then release it. Workers can do the same to their hands, wherein they clench their fist, hold it for a second, and release it.

The same is the procedure that you can apply to the shoulders by using pressure and releasing it. Participants should do this to every muscle in their body.

9. Having an Activity to Look Forward to


One of the easiest ways to release stress is by doing something one loves. It can be going out for snacks, movies, shopping, meeting with friends, etc. Therefore, encourage your workers to have an activity to look forward to every day.

It will help workers get through the day, knowing that something interesting awaits them at the end. Such activities will provide a helpful distraction from things that bother them and take them to their happy place.

10. Snacking Options

Eating a particular food is also a great stress relief idea to practice in the workplace. Here are a few of those food options.

  • Dark Chocolate contains carbohydrates that open up mood-improving serotonin and reduces stress hormones.

  • Crunchy veggies and snacks give us a satisfying crisp feeling, which can help curb stress levels.

  • Avocados and bananas have a rich potassium supply, which helps keep blood pressure low that aids in stress relief.

Related Article: 25 Healthy Snacks For Work To Lose Weight & Stay Healthy

11. Playing Classical Music in the Breakroom

Music has a strong effect on one's emotions. It can calm down a pacing mind and bring the stress around to a halt. In this regard, playing classical music in the breakroom can be a big help in fighting stress

Also, songs with uplifting lyrics are a great alternative as well.

12. Crying in tough times

In some situations, stress can turn up to be more than an employee can handle. The tension of work, personal life, and the future pushing down the shoulders can be immense. Here, it is important not to bottle up oneself but to let the emotions go.

Crying helps release chemicals in the forms of tears that can help overcome stress and tension. So, if workers do feel the urge to cry, then they must find a private place to let themselves go.

13. Seeking help


Stress in the workplace is mostly the result of a massive workload. Employees often don't say "no" and then end up with a messy workload management structure. In this case, workers should seek help, if possible, from other team members in this regard.

It can be collaboration in the workplace on projects and sharing responsibilities to reduce stress.

14. Celebrating Hug Your Coworker Day


A physical human touch can also reduce stress. Positive physical contact releases oxytocin and can lower cortisol levels, which can reduce stress. It can also lowers heart rate and blood pressure. All this adds to reducing stress.

So, in this regard, giving a bear hug to your close friends in the workplace can help with stress levels.

15. Talking


It is essential to talk things out in a stressful situation. Bottling up emotions is an unhealthy practice that everyone should drop. In this regard, employers should accommodate employee counseling in the workplace to help workers open up.

These were our pick of a few lesser-known stress relief activities and ideas for your workplace. A few other honorary mentions here are the use of essential oils, guided imagery, etc.

16. 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 a state of mental, physical, and spiritual balance.

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

A few benefits of sound therapy include the following:

Read: 81 Positive Quotes To Improve Your Day At Work

17. Mindfulness Meditation


Mindfulness meditation is an ancient technique that helps you know yourself better. It asks one to concentrate on deep breathing, like inhaling positivity and exhaling negative thoughts.

Mindfulness meditation is one of the best stress relievers. It will help you eliminate all kinds of negative emotions and behavioral or mental health issues. It will enable you to be present in the moment and seek calmness in it.

Mindfulness meditation is an easy stress relief activity as it can be done even sitting at your office. 10-minute mindfulness meditation can resolve all your hustle and bustle moments at the workplace.

Read: 105 Mindfulness Quotes For Employee Health And Wellness

18. Improve your Lifestyle Choices


One of the best ways to deal with stress is to improve your lifestyle choices. A good lifestyle will help you live a healthier life devoid of tension or any sickness.

Therefore, setting up goals for wellness and well-being will give you new sensory experiences and relax your nervous system. Once you put your all into transforming your lifestyle, your health and wellness will improve automatically. And, you will be able to enjoy a relaxed life.

Having an excellent lifestyle will boost your productivity, retention, and focus at work. It will help you enjoy your work and be a better version of yourself.

Related: 76 Calming Quotes For Wellness And Well-being At Work

19. Aromatherapy


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.

The aroma of a scent is great, as is the scent of flowers or plants. 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.

20. Desk Plants

You can also reduce workplace stress by including desk plants in your workspace. 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.

When it comes to choosing the right desk plant, there are many options to choose from. Choosing succulents, snake plants, pothos, or money plants is a great choice 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. Your workspace can benefit from having a touch of greenery to create a relaxing, calming atmosphere that promotes productivity.

21. Having Dedicated Downtime

In our fast-paced work world, it can be difficult to unwind and destress. However, having dedicated downtime can be beneficial for reducing the overloading stress that is hampering.

It could be reading a book, tuning into a piece of relaxing music, walking outside, or simply sitting quietly and doing nothing. Giving yourself downtime can help you relax and alleviate stress and anxiety.

Practicing the art of doing nothing is sometimes more important than the urge to do a lot. So, next time you feel overwhelmed, take a break and give yourself the gift of dedicated downtime. It will be beneficial to your mind and body.

22. Tapping

Tapping, also known as 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 times of 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.

To start, identify the negative emotions and then create a positive affirmation focusing on the opposite of that feeling. For instance, you can tap on your body and say, "I am grateful" or "I am cool" if you feel stressed or overloaded.

As you tap, you may focus on the physical sensations of your body, for instance, tingling or fingertips on your skin. This will focus your energies and connections more to your body and promote a sense of mindfulness.

23. Breathwork


Do you feel overwhelmed? Try breathing exercises. Breathing exercises are well-known stress-relieving activities. They are great for stress responses-both in the short term and long term.

Breathwork is one such meditation technique that focuses on the breath 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.


The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
- William James.

There are a ton of stress relief activities that your workers may choose from the box. It is essential to note that workers must do what they like, and you must allow the time to do so. It is because, in today's age, where mental health is so important, you must go all in to nurture employee health.


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

There are many stress relief activities you can do. Some of the common ones are-

  • Meditation
  • Breathing exercises
  • Yoga or Exercise
  • Calming sounds
  • Shower
  • Journaling
  • Expressing yourself creatively
  • Gardening
  • Engaging in a hobby
  • Reading
  • Bubble wrap bursting

How often should one engage in stress reduction activities?

Engaging in stress reduction activities is like engaging in self-care. The key to managing stress is to make self-care a priority. Stress levels and needs vary from person to person. Listen to what your mind and body wants and do what works best for you.

Take a few minutes each day to engage in some activity like a hobby or meditation. Engaging once every day in such activities helps you relax, reduce stress, and experience joy. It is better to increase the duration of stress reduction activities during heavy workloads or big life events, preferably a couple of times more than once or twice a day.

Can stress relief activities have any long-term benefits?

Yes! Stress relief activities definitely work wonders for your mental and physical well-being in the longer run. Incorporating stress-relieving activities into the daily routine will significantly reduce stress levels and improve your mood and overall health.

The benefits just go beyond feeling relaxed at the moment - they help with your creativity, productivity, and overall quality of life. These activities, when turned into habits, makes you unwind regularly and bring joy to your life.

This article is written by Jyoti Prakash Barman. He is an in-house Content Marketer at Vantage Fit with interests in music and automobiles. For any related queries, contact

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