Stress Relief Tips and Exercises at Work for Better Mental Health

Are you feeling stressed at work? You’re not alone if your answer is yes. Workplace stress affects many people, leading to an increased need for stress relief at work. Many people are wondering how to reduce stress at work. Stress can negatively affect your emotional and physical health, which can impact your performance at work. Whatever the source of your work stress, there are effective, healthy ways to manage it. In this article, we’ll discuss how to reduce stress at work with tips for stress relief at work. 

Deep Breathing

There is a large need for stress relief exercises at work. Deep breathing, especially with a longer exhale can reduce stress, and can be performed at your desk. Breathing techniques in yoga are called pranayama. In this study, practicing pranayama breathing exercises relaxes the nervous system, improves cardiovascular and respiratory function, decreases the impact of stress and overwhelm on the body, and improves both mental and physical health. Never breathe to the point of dizziness and slow down if you start to feel lightheaded. 

4-4-4-4 breath

This breathing exercise will help to calm and center you if you are feeling a stress spiral coming on. Inhale, and hold for a count of 4. Retain or hold your breath for a count of 4. Exhale for a count of 4. Don’t inhale and hold your breath out for a count of 4. Repeat this breath pattern for five minutes to calm down. If a 4 count is too long, try 2 or 3 to get warmed up. 

4-8-8 breath

This breath is helpful when stress is especially heightened, or you’re feeling anxious. Breathing this way will calm you down and relax you physically. Inhale for a count of 4. Hold this breath for a count of 8. Next, exhale for a full count of 8, completely emptying your lungs. You may need a deep regular breath before starting again. This breath can also be adapted if 4 and 8 seconds is too long. Inhale for 2 or 3 seconds and simply double that number for the hold and exhale. Try this breath for three minutes and see how you feel. 

Stretching and Muscle Relaxation

If you’re wondering how to destress at work, stretching and practicing progressive muscle relaxation at your desk can help. To practice progressive muscle relaxation, you slowly tense and relax your large muscle groups. This will help with feelings of stress and anxiety and leads to feeling relaxed and centered. Tense your muscles one by one, but not to the point of pain. This exercise helps you become more present in your body and will help you become more aware of when you’re feeling stressed. 


There are a lot of easy massage techniques that you can do on yourself when you’re feeling stressed. If you feel self-conscious, try going somewhere private like the bathroom or your car. 

  1. Start with side to side neck stretches, exhaling as you move your neck to the side and inhaling as you come up. 
  2. Next, put your fingers at the top of the back of your neck, and with circular motions, massage down and up the neck.
  3. Keep working your neck by placing your fingers in the middle of the neck, close to the spine, and pulling your fingers outwards, moving up and down the neck. 

For more massage techniques that you can do at your desk, watch this video


Journaling can be a powerful practice of self-expression, especially if practiced regularly. It can help your emotional health and wellness, as well as help you understand what’s going on at work and in life. When you journal, you get to say whatever you want. If you start to journal and your mind goes blank, start by writing I don’t know what to say at all, nothing is coming to mind, etc. That will get you started and your thoughts will flow. Try freely writing down your thoughts for 10-20 minutes. Typing is always acceptable as well. 


Did you know that laughter decreases stress and may improve your immune system? Try taking a comedy break during your lunch or whenever you’re feeling stressed. Five minutes of chuckling to a comedian doing a set on YouTube or listening to a comedy podcast can do wonders for your stress levels. And what’s better? The bigger the laugh, the more stress you’ll release. 

Help Your Team Reduce Stress with Wellness Challenges

BioFunctional Health Solutions (BHS) can help your team manage their stress better with customized wellness challenges. Is there a better stress buster than going to a park and playing field day games with your co-workers? Field days can be a wellness challenge as well as something as simple as a steps/walking challenge. Many people who are stressed struggle with taking the steps they need to lower their stress. With a wellness challenge, there’s support and friendship to help people take the steps they need to make a change. Get started today by reaching out to us.