How to Shake Work Stress and Decompress

Work Stress

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you spend most of your day sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen. Regardless of your desk set-up, eye strain and stress can leave you feeling exhausted and overworked.  

There are a lot of ways to combat work stress: wearing special glasses, looking out a window every 30 minutes, closing and resting your eyes periodically throughout the day, taking a walk outside after work, or meditating. This is all great advice, but does it work for you? 

The real key to decompressing after a screen-filled workday is finding what works best for you while sticking to three simple rules: 

Number 1:  Say no to screens

After a long day at work, it is very tempting to sit down and watch television. It’s relaxing and enjoyable, right? But the strain of blue screens is real, even when it’s for pleasure. Looking at a screen for a full workday really does take a toll on your well-being. In the evenings, find an activity that doesn’t include a screen, at least immediately after work. Stay away from watching TV, browsing your phone, or jumping back on your computer for personal reasons. 

Number 2: Stimulate your senses

After an 8+ hour day on your computer, your eyes have worked hard and could use a break. Find ways to stimulate your other senses: 

  • Hearing: 
    • Listen to your favorite playlist
    • Tune into a weekly podcast
    • Catch up on the daily news through your local radio station
  • Taste: 
    • Grab dinner at a new restaurant you haven’t tried
    • Save a special treat for the end of each workday
    • Cook with family and friends
  • Smell:
    • Relax with aromatherapy
    • Light your favorite candles
    • Immerse yourself into an aromatic atmosphere like the woods, beach, or countryside
  • Touch: 
    • Try a new artistic or creative activity like ceramics, painting, or sewing
    • Play an interactive sport

Number 3: Find activities you enjoy, not chores

If you really want to decompress after a long day at your computer, find activities that follow the first two rules and are fun for you. If you choose an activity that feels like a chore, you won’t find rest. The goal is to reset and step away from your busy work life. 

For some, cooking dinner is enjoyable. For others, it is a mundane chore. Some of us love to relax with an after-work yoga class, while others do not want to hold uncomfortable positions with a group of strangers. Maybe you love catching up with friends over happy hour, or maybe you need to get some alone time to really relax. Don’t try to force a “chore.” 

To decompress after work, follow the above guidelines and experiment with a variety of activities to see what works for you. A happier, healthier work-life balance is within reach!

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About the Author

Chelsey Lewis

Chelsey Lewis

An executive assistant and writer, Chelsey Lewis has extensive experience in business operations, customer success, leadership, and training, primarily in the SaaS industry. She has her BA in Strategic Communications from the University of Minnesota and now resides in Northern Montana. If she isn't coordinating chaos, she can be found on her family farm or hiking in Glacier National Park.