7 Tips to a Healthier, Happier You at Work

Work can be stressful. Add the increasing pace at which life and family obligations come at us and even the most laid-back person can get stressed from time-to-time. We’ve listed seven quick and easy tips to help you and your employees stay relaxed and stress free at work. Feel free to print these tips, share them with a coworker or post on social media so you can reference them when you’re starting to feel stressed.

1. Just Breathe… and smile. Taking 30–60 seconds to breathe can be calming and relaxing. Try to use two-five seconds for the inhalation, and twice the time to exhale. This method will help to decrease your heart rate and allow you to focus on the breath itself, giving your head some space to relax and reset. Multiple scientific studies have also found that smiling can release endorphins, which help you relax, feel better and can lower stress levels.

2. Meditation and mindfulness. When you’re stressed, your mind is in ‘fight or flight’ mode. Mindfulness helps shift your perspective from ‘doing’ to ‘being’ and ‘reactive’ to ‘reflective’. This mode helps you become more aware of your thoughts and environment, allowing you to focus on solving problems in a more relaxed and centered frame of mind.

3. Take a walk and get some sun. Sunlight sends signals to your brain to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating mood and exercise releases endorphins that can help you feel calm, relaxed and sometimes even a little euphoric. Being active for 15-30 minutes a day, three times a week can dramatically improve your mental health by lowering stress levels and your resting heart rate. So, go outside and take a walk around the office a couple times a day.

4. Eat healthy. What you put in your body gets digested and is used to produce, well… you. Your food is literally converted to nutrients that make your body function. One of the biggest changes to your diet that you can make is to drink more water. Dehydration can cause difficulty concentrating, fatigue and other changes in mood. Make sure that you eat fruits and vegetables. These foods are high in antioxidants that help break down toxic chemicals and prevent cell damage.

5. Find a creative outlet. One great outlet is journaling. Journaling helps clarify thoughts and feelings so you can shift your mind from reactive to reflective. Writing about issues also helps you to think them through to identify potential solutions and helps calm the intensity of your emotions.

6. Listen to music. Listening to music, especially classical, has been shown to lower heart rate, reduce blood pressure and help people relax.

7. Talk to someone. Try to re-frame stress as a liquid that fills up your body. Not enough and you feel a bit bored and empty, and too much and you feel like you might explode. Humans are social animals so it’s okay to need to talk to a co-worker when you feel stressed. It’s also okay to feel stressed out, even when there is nothing major that is causing it. You’re not alone. Everybody goes through those phases. The important thing is to do something about it. Grab a co-worker, take a walk in the sun and tell them how your day is going!

Thinking differently about stress: Stress is not just a negative response, but your body also produces ‘stress hormones’ in response to new positive experiences and expectations. This is why you may feel excited and slightly euphoric when thinking or looking forward to something fun. Next time that you’re feeling stressed, try to take a step back and think differently about the stress itself and how the increased pressure motivates and energizes you to positive action.


1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response
2. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/m/mindfulness
3. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise
4. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/healthy-diet-eating-mental-health-mind
5. https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/
6. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/music-and-health
7. http://time.com/4888327/why-sunlight-is-so-good-for-you/
8. https://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/blog/speak-your-mind-and-talk-about-mental-health

About the Author

Sean Godar, Ph.D. // Director, Solutions Development
Sean Godar, Ph.D. // Director, Solutions Development

Sean directs solutions development at Employers Health. His role is to assess health benefit products, technologies and educational opportunities for Employers Health members.