It seems that work from home has compounded stress in many ways. We live and work in the same space, and while that has it advantages, it can be very stressful, too. If you’re a parent, you have been a teacher while trying to keep up with work duties. If you’re a roommate, it can feel way too crowded all day long. And honestly, we NEED a change of atmosphere throughout the day. You’ve tried all the relaxation and meditation tools your company provided to help you out. You’ve watched the entire Netflix catalog. Now what? What are some unique ways to reduce stress?
If you can’t get away from the house, then just go outside into the yard. Rake leaves. Pull weeds. Pick up the dog poo. Water some plants. If you don’t have a any plants or a flower garden, maybe it’s time to create one. I find that I can clear my head in just a few minutes by going into the backyard and doing just the tiniest bit of work. Usually, I’m scooping poop, and that sounds sad, but it’s not. I’m in the sun, hanging with my dogs!
The sun offers Vitamin D. You need that! Ever notice that your dog will lay out like he’s dead on a sunny day? Our pups instinctively know to get some D! This essential vitamin is needed for healthy bones and teeth, plus it helps our immune system stay strong. Any vitamin is better when we absorb it from its natural source, so go outside!
Play Like a Kid
As we grow up and become adults, we often shed our affinity for play. It’s not that we outgrow it. We just seem to put it away because playful adults are what? Irresponsible? Cavalier? Not serious enough? Annoying?
You know what’s annoying? People who take themselves too seriously. They become edgy and stressed out, and they carry that into situations where their seriousness isn’t always welcome. So guess what? People start to avoid the serious ones. However, people DO gravitate towards playful, happy people. Do your best to be one of the happy people; even if it’s just a quick break. In my house, we love arcades. We probably go to Dave and Busters, Cidercade or Pinballz as much as we go to the movies. It’s just fun to play like a kid, surrounded by kids and happy adults.
Don’t have an arcade nearby? Buy yourself a few fun old school games for home. Believe it or not, that video screen is just another monitor. Give your eyes a break. Play some air hockey. I found a table top version that isn’t pro, but it is fun.
One Night Away
Sometimes you just need to get away. For the price of a night out on the town, you can book a room in a quiet hotel and get a good night’s sleep. Sounds weird, but it works! When you leave your worries at home, and you don’t have to look at them, you can really relax and get a solid night of sleep.
Hampton Inns are consistently clean and quiet. During the week, most other guests are traveling for work, so they are just as tired as you. Get yourself a Hilton Honors account and rack up some points while you’re taking an overnight sleep break.
When we do for others, we do for ourselves. Often our stressors become less debilitating when we make the choice to do something in the service of others. It’s partly perspective. Yep. First world problems are getting us all worked up. But some of us have some huge challenges to overcome.
Working from home can make us invisible, or at the very least, two-dimensional. Zoom calls were considered the big solution to loneliness, isolation, and challenges with collaboration. Honestly, I hate them. We can’t look each other in the eye via a video conference. It’s weird and disconnected.
Working from home may trap us in bad situations. Domestic violence blooms when people are trapped in a house with an abuser. Noisy apartments, dirty living conditions, neighborhood crime, broken appliances, and so forth create massive stress. Even if some of these examples feel familiar, I still think volunteering can be a real reprieve.
It always feels good to be the hero. To help others. To see the world from a different lens. And most of all, it boosts our self worth. Pick a cause you believe in. You may only be able to commit to a few hours, and that’s ok. Any help is appreciated by those who need it, so give your esteem a boost and see how your stress reacts!
More Than Breathing and Meditation
I do firmly believe that breathing, meditation, and exercise are key to reducing stress, but it can be really hard to get to a mental state that allows us to do any of those things. Therefore, I’ve offered a few different approaches to chilling out. Once you get in a better headspace, I recommend the more tried and true approaches to relaxing and easing our minds. They do work, but so do these easy alternatives.