Five ways to integrate relaxation into your hectic work day

Joel Svensson

The life of the small business owner tends to be high on stress and low on time. A hectic schedule demands focus, yet often precludes any chance to rearm and recharge. It’s a nasty little catch-22 that’s becoming ever more common in the modern economic landscape, especially among business owners.

To help you make the most of your time – and the least of your stress – here are five proven ways you can integrate relaxation into your daily work environment.

Make sure your break-out area is fully equipped

First off, make sure your break-out area is up to scratch (here’s hoping you have one) – that kitchen should be fully stocked with all the usual staples needed for an uplift. Don’t be afraid to stump up a bit of cash for a selection beverages, fruit and even a newspaper or two. After all, sustenance is key for you and your staff – we’re all human.

Make time for micro-breaks

Get up from your desk every now and then to brew a coffee or read the newspaper while your computer defrags. Better yet, venture outside to your go-to café – and don’t be in a hurry to get back (within reason of course). Once you’ve brought your stress levels down a bit and you’ve almost forgotten the infuriating client you just got off the phone with, you can head back to the computer with fresh focus. Repeat every hour or so.

Relaxing in short, fifteen-minute bursts like this will help you get in “the zone” when you get back to work, instead of procrastinating and stressing yourself out even more.

Get in some (light) exercise

Keep a fitness band next to your desk and do some band pull-aparts a few times a day – this will engage your back muscles and hopefully unlock your strained work posture. Depending on the vibe in your office or co-working space, some yoga might not go astray either – or – if you think an evening gym session is a bit of a drag, squeeze one in to your lunch break.

And, if you don’t mind working up a little sweat, doing just five minutes of aerobic exercise has been shown to greatly reduce anxiety.

Keep your headphones handy

Listening to music – especially slow, classical music – can slow your pulse, lower your blood pressure and reduce the production of stress hormones. Classical playlists can be legally streamed for free online.

Have an inbox for your thoughts

The therapeutic powers of journaling are well-documented – but you don’t have to fill up a novel-length Moleskine to access them.

Whenever a problem, task or opportunity occurs to you, quickly write it down and file it away in a special box or folder. At the end of the day, go through these notes and sort them into categories, putting the actionable items into your calendar, and the farther-off ones into a “someday” document for review at a later date.

This way, your worries and ideas will be safely catalogued rather than cluttering up your brain, giving you some much-needed headspace.

Joel Svensson

Joel Svensson is a Melbourne-based freelance writer specialising in politics and business.