Relax at work … yeah, right, you might think. In the fast-paced modern workplace, it seems to be more difficult than ever to maintain a sense of mindfulness and peacefulness while you’re on the clock. Keep reading for tips on how to add some much-needed Zen to your busy schedule. That way, you can do your best work and still feel like yourself when it’s all said and done.  

If you wake up in the morning, glance at your endless to-do list, and instantly feel like rolling over and going back to sleep – this blog post may be just what you need. All jokes aside… No matter how much you love what you do, today’s fast-paced workplace doesn’t leave much time for rest. The following tips are sure to bring some Zen into your workday and help you strive to be your best.

1. Begin Your Day With a 5-Minute Meditation 

A phot of a person meditating. Meditating is one tool that can help you relax at work and beyond.

Ready to relax at work … and your whole day? Try meditation. Dating back thousands of years in human history, meditation is one of the foundational methods of connecting with yourself and finding your inner Zen. Devoting just five minutes of your morning to mindfulness meditation can set you up for a balanced day, so you can relax at work and beyond. 

One method of meditation is to simply sit up straight, either cross-legged or with your feet on the floor, close your eyes and take long deep breaths. Let your breath run through your nose and down to your stomach. Feel any stress melt away in seconds as your endorphins flow (Time Management Ninja).

Another option is to look up free five-minute meditations online, or use a meditation app such as Headspace or Calm and listen to the instructor guide you through thinking and breathing exercises. And there you go, you’re primed for the day!

2. Practice Gratitude for the Here and Now to Help you Relax at Work

A journal reads, "Today I am grateful for..."
Gratitude is another tool that can help you relax at work.

In productivity-driven industries like marketing, it can be difficult to find a sense of thankfulness and happiness for where you stand on any given day. We seem to always be reaching for the next goal, and setting new finish lines.

But what would happen if you stopped “postponing happiness” and practiced gratitude for the here and now?

According to Thrive Global, gratitude allows you to become fully present and feel contentment and peace with the day that lies ahead. Try keeping a gratitude list at your desk, and at the end of each workday, write down three things. You’ll be surpized at how this simple took can help you stay relaxed at work and be grateful for all the progress you’ve made.

3. Try Not to Focus on Praise and Criticism

A woman takes a breather from her computer to help her relax at work.

Think about the last time you received praise for something you did well. Did it make you work harder? Or make you crave that affirmation all over again?

Now, remember the most recent time you received criticism. Did you start to doubt your skills and self-worth?

All too often we hyper-focus on praise and criticism from our supervisors and colleagues, and let it dictate what we think about ourselves. But imagine if we didn’t put so much stock in it. Chances are it might make it easier to stay confident, positive, and productive day in and day out.

4. Practice This Technique at Your Next Meeting to Relax at Work

Two people in a work meeting

Another intriguing strategy for finding your inner peace at work comes from the Huffington Post, based on teachings by Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. Before going into an important event, or a big meeting, “visualize someone very peaceful, mindful and skillful being with you. Take refuge in this person to help stay calm and peaceful.”

Try it the next time you’re in a big meeting to help you relax at work.

5. Take a Moment to Disconnect on Your Lunch Break

A woman takes a healthy lunch break.

It seems like a lot of days tend to go something like this:

  • 9 a.m., catching up on emails
  • 10 a.m., back-to-back meetings
  • 1 p.m., time to squeeze in lunch at your desk!

We know it’s sometimes impossible to really take your lunch break every day, but you can always start small. Practice eating your lunch away from your desk. Plus, disconnect from technology for a moment whenever you get the chance. Taking a break from your phone and computer will refresh your mind, give you space to breathe, and set you up to conquer the rest of the day.

Remember, when you can relax at work, you might find that you’re even more productive! So take the time you need to disconnect and recharge.

6. Give Your Colleagues Recognition for Their Positive Qualities … And Help Them Relax at Work, Too!

colleagues smiling at a work meeting

One of the most important qualities in a positive workplace environment is having healthy relationships with your colleagues. We all know things can get hectic and even frustrating in the office. One way to soothe some of the tension is to take the time to recognize your teammates for their positive qualities, contributions, and accomplishments.

You’d be surprised how quickly they will return the favor, and although you shouldn’t rely on it (oh hey, #3!), it is a worthwhile way to cultivate a more supportive and tranquil work environment.

7. Find and Keep a Mindfulness Token

A stack of zen rocks

A mindfullness good luck charm could be anything: a small rock, a paperclip, a trinket you’ve had for years. The only parameter is that it should fit in your pocket! The purpose of this small token is to remind you to pause and practice mindfulness for 30 seconds or less every time you feel it or remember you have it. This could mean taking deep breaths, thinking positive thoughts, or practicing any other strategies that help you connect with your inner Zen. It’s a simple yet powerful trick to help you relax at work!

8. Relax and Restore Before Heading Home for the Day

A person stretches at their desk to help them relax at work.

It goes without saying that by the end of most workdays, you are ready to head home ASAP. However, it is important to take a few moments for yourself and recharge before leaving. To help you relax at work before you leave, you could try listening to your favorite song, doing a silent meditation in the car, or a personal favorite of mine, stopping by the pet store to look at the kittens. Doing something small that brings you joy at the end of the workday prevents you from bringing negative or stressful energy from the day into your home.

All in all, we hope these tips will prove useful in adding some mindfulness and peacefulness to any workday. Now that you’ve got a few more tools, there’s nothing stopping you from finding your Zen!

Want even more tips and resources to help you relax at work? Try these blogs:

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By Published On: January 28, 2020Last Updated: April 19, 2023Categories: Blog ArticlesTags: ,