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10 soothing ways to de-stress at your desk


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Working in a modern office has its perks: Snacks are free, dogs are welcome, and every day is casual Friday. But hey, it’s still work. Even if you’re not in one of America’s most stressed-out cities or one of the many millennials facing early career burnout, being in an office and dealing with the daily grind can be taxing to the system.

It’s something Molly Erman, the director of communications for New Lab, a collaborative workspace for tech start-ups in Brooklyn, NY, knows all too well. “I’m no stranger to stress,” she says. Sometimes, that stress helps her power through, “like a shot of caffeine,” and other times it becomes “overwhelming and debilitating, which isn’t good for your productivity or—more importantly—your health.”

Earlier this year, Erman authored Work Life, a book in which she breaks down the new rules for the modern workplace. She covers video-conference etiquette, how to chill out—right at your desk—when you’re feeling stressed out, and so much more

Scroll through to read Molly Erman’s 10 tips for de-stressing at the office

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1. Grab your headphones

Cue up calming music or even a quickie sound bath (here’s one from Sara Auster).

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2. Put your computer on sleep mode

If you can’t see the Slack and email messages piling up, it’s a lot easier to disconnect for a few minutes—and quickly bring your anxiety levels back down to earth.

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3. Look away from your screen

Swivel away from your desktop, close your eyes, and allow yourself to come back to a calmer vibe.

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4 Breathe like you’re in yoga class

Inhale deeply for four counts, and exhale slowly and fully for another four counts. Then repeat.

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Photo: Stocksy/Jojo Jovanovic

5. Bust a move (out of your chair)

Get up and take a 10-minute walk, preferably outside.

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Photo: Stocksy/Trinette Reed

6. Talk to a friend

Briefly touching base with your personal life puts work-related stress in perspective.

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Photo: Stocksy/Lauren Naefe

7. Take a tea break

Make yourself a cup of herbal brew (and if you really want to chill out, add a couple of drops of this CBD adaptogenic oil).

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Photo: Stocksy/George Yanakiev

8. De-clutter your desk

Clearing your workspace creates both literal and mental space.

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9. Get your heart pumping

Find someplace discreet (like a stairwell) to do jumping jacks or some other form of quick exercise.

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Photo: Stocksy/Lumina

10. Make a post-work plan

Whether it’s a trip to the gym or a happy-hour cocktail, give yourself something to look forward to (#Friyay!).

If it’s time for a bigger change, check out the offices with the best wellness perks and embrace these tips to avoid career burnout.