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8 Ways to Maintain Your Zen Even During the Craziest of Work Weeks

Danielle McKee
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It can be very difficult to remain in a zen state of mind and keep your work stress down at the office when the easy-going, sweatpants-wearing, lounging, wine-drinking weekend comes to an end and the chaos of the work week begins.
We’ve all been there – maybe it’s an overly controlling boss, a mean co-worker, or too many to-do’s and not enough time.
Here are 8 ways to keep your work stress down even during the craziest of work weeks:

1. Drive TO work, be present. Drive FROM work, be present.

The key here is that being present will reduce your work stress. Listen to upbeat music or no music at all and just notice the sounds around you and the things that you see as you pass by. Notice EVERYTHING. We get so used to seeing the same things every day that we stop paying attention and often fail to notice the beauty all around us. Even if it’s not a pretty drive, notice it, pay attention, and be PRESENT! Not only will this lead to new appreciation for your surroundings, but taking your mind off of all the things you “need” to do for work will play a big roll in reducing that work stress.

2. Make yourself a drink (and drink it slow)

Non-alcoholic of course. Bring your favorite tea or a coffee to work, sip and truly savor it! Like a walking meditation, sipping a hot drink can be turned into a mindful practice that brings your presence and reduces your work stress. Be mindful of the warm sensation on your lips, what your body does to swallow the sip and how it makes you feel both physically and mentally.

3. Practice acceptance

When something happens that bothers you or someone says something to you that hurts your feelings or makes you angry, and adds to your level of work stress, practice acceptance. Notice the way the person or situation makes you feel, allow yourself to feel the uncomfortable feeling or subsequent emotions, and then accept them. This doesn’t make the situation okay, but it does help you process your emotions in a healthier way and helps create a positive, productive response rather than an impulsive, thoughtless and emotional reaction.


4. Music!

Turn on your Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify . . . whatever app you use for music . . . and play something you like. I recommend something upbeat. It lightens the mood and helps your “work flow” be focused, productive, and uplifting.

5. Take a look around

Every once in awhile, take a few seconds to simply look out your window, look around and notice what is outside. If you don’t have a window, then close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine an outdoor scene of your choice – your happy place. This simple yet effective practice gives your mind and your eyes a moment to rest. Take a few breaths and feel the work stress wash away a little.

6. Reach out to someone

When it’s break time, lunch time, or if you have few personal moments to yourself, call one of your friends or family members and ask how they’re doing. Go into your co-worker’s office and ask how their weekend was (without interrupting their work-flow of course). Send an email to a distant relative and tell them you’re thinking about them. Do something outside of yourself and make contact with someone you care about. This will conjure a warm and fuzzy feeling, and you’ll get an instant boost of positivity.


7. Every time you think of it, STRETCH!

You didn’t think you could do yoga in your desk chair? You were WRONG! One of my favorites is what I call a “half-ass forward fold.” Stay seated in your chair, drop your head and arms and let yourself hang, with your stomach touching your thighs. Move your neck around to release tension in your neck and shoulders, and swing your arms back and forth if that feels good. The point is to hang like a rag doll and decompress your body.
You may want to read: Four Easy Yoga Poses to Do at Work

8. Take a walk

On your lunch break, instead of catching up on social media, go outside and take a walk! If it’s cold, bring a jacket. If it’s raining, bring an umbrella. If it’s hot, bring sunglasses. If you’re wearing heels, bring flats. Don’t let any excuses get in the way of you getting outside. Your walk will get your mind off of work and allow you to enjoy whatever nature the exterior of your office provides.


Work Stress is real but it doesn’t have to be our daily reality

So many times, we get caught up in the craziness of our days and forget to take notice of what is actually happening around us. We fail to pay attention to what’s going on within ourselves. It’s important to be IN the moment and actually recognize and experience what’s happening presently + mindfully. The alternative? Our our days are over and gone, and life has flown by before we know it.
Take time to appreciate the good and the bad, whatever it may be that is happening in your day. Take time to evaluate how you’re feeling and take care of yourself. Be present, be patient, and practice self-care and acceptance. You deserve it!

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Danielle McKee

Danielle is a Northern California girl from the Sacramento area. She works at a Legislative Advocacy firm, enjoys yoga, meditation, writing, drinking wine and cooking for the ones she loves. Her yoga ventures have taught her to live more mindfully on and off her mat.

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