26 Views

6 creative ways to handle workplace stress

We can all agree that work is stressful. Even if you have the best position in the world, you’re still susceptible to organizational stress. There are multiple ways to handle stress while you’re at work, but like football, the best defense is a good offense. As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to stress, creativity is the best offense.

Since creativity is one of those umbrella terms that can cover a variety of different activities, I asked a few of my co-workers what creative endeavors help them relieve the stress of the daily grind. Here are their responses:

Gardening   

In the past few weeks, a number of delicious garden-fresh vegetables have been showing up in the office break room. My hunch is that they’re courtesy of Jacob McEwen, a co-worker who’s well known for his gardening prowess. I asked him about his garden and how it relates to stress in his life, and his response blew me out of the water.

“When I get stressed, I like to retreat to my garden. Watching plants grow from seed, harvesting their fruits and seeing them wither–only to grow back again next year–reminds me that I, that all of us, only play a very small part in a much greater expression of life. That life never ends, but is preserved in those who inherit the legacy of their forebears through this cycle of death and rebirth. That my problems, however large they may appear, ultimately mean nothing, and just being here to bear witness is blessing.”

Jacob’s not alone in finding relief among the foliage of his garden plot. A 2011 study from the Netherlands showed that gardening significantly lowers cortisol, the stress hormone. Thevitamin D rich sunshine, exercise, and fresh veggies are just an added bonus.

Writing

I love to read — it’s always been one of my favorite ways to escape. However, some people, namely Troy Lambert, use writing in the same manner.

“Although I am normally a long form fiction writer, I write poetry to relieve stress. For me poetry is not only a unique way to express and vent emotion, but it also requires me to shift focus from the emotion itself to how to concisely convey it to a reader in a brief but powerful way. Since I have to consider each word carefully, soon the poem becomes more important than the issue, and I can let it go.”

Dr. James W. Pennebaker found that the process of writing can help people organize their thoughts and give meaning to a traumatic experience. Furthermore, when they open up privately about said event, they are more likely to talk with others about it, gaining beneficial social support that can aid healing.

Doodling

Scientists will tell you that indulging in the visual arts can have a marked impact on stress. For those of us less than handy with oil paints, it may come as a surprise that something as simple as doodling can have the same effect.

“From emerging studies we are learning that art expression may actually help individuals reconnect thinking and feeling, thus bridging explicit (narrative) and implicit (sensory) memory. The wonderful thing about doodling is that it is a whole brain activity—spontaneous, at times unconscious, self-soothing, satisfying, exploratory, memory-enhancing, and mindful. In essence, doodling (and drawing and painting and making things in general) can be a self-regulating experience as well as a pleasurable road map of thoughts and ideas.” — Cathy Malchiodi, in an article from Psychology Today.

Born of the doodles on the back of a manuscript, Zentangle has taken doodling to a whole new level. This system for drawing mindful, intricate patterns is a creative way to train your focus on artwork, rather than whatever stressor is troubling you at the time. No doubt you’ve seen some of the instructional books on the shelves of your local book store. In fact, more than 60 are set to be published in 2015.

Crafting & DIY Projects

Have you ever been so lost in a project that that nothing else seems to matter? This is called flow, and psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says it’s the secret to happiness. When crafting, the brain releases dopamine—a chemical responsible for both motivation and pleasure. When lost in the dopamine induced flow, we forget to worry about work—our focus is entirely on our craft.

Danica Barnack is a DIY master, spending much of free time engaged in upcycling and refinishing projects.

“DIY projects are a great way to alleviate stress because they take your mind off of things and really give you something to focus on. Knowing that I have something in front of me that I can make renew, improve, and customize really helps my spirits,” Barnack says.

But Danica isn’t the only crafting aficionado who shares office space with me.

“I like to flex my creative muscles by making jewelry. I enjoy the simple act of combining colors and materials to suit my personal taste. For me, it’s soothing and therapeutic.” says Celeste Newberry.

The soothing, repetitive motions involved in crafting might have a lot to do with flow. Jackie Hernandez of Teal & Lime explains, “Painting is relaxing. Stenciling is relaxing. Sewing is relaxing. There is a rhythm to DIY projects that makes them relaxing.”

Video Game Creation

The Millennials are a computer savvy generation, so it was no surprise at all when I found some of my co-workers relieved stress by delving into the world of technology. Kcody Dansereau ofOutside the Cube Gaming had this to say on creating video games:

“When I’m making a video game or a board game, I would say that it helps me release a lot of my everyday stress, while at the same time adding more stress on top of it. But in this case it’s a good thing, because it’s stress that I have 100% control of. Doing it gets me away from the crap that just happens to and around me, and allows me to focus on something constructive; something new and fun that I can share with others, which can be stressful in itself, but I like it.”

As Kcody noted, certain types of stress don’t seem to feel draining. While too much stress can have a negative impact on our health, measured doses can boost brainpower and motivate us to succeed.

Coloring Books for Adults

After a stressful day at the office, I often find myself sitting at the kitchen table with markers and a coloring book. While this may sound inherently juvenile, I’ve found the act of coloring to be unbelievably calming. In an article from the Huffington Post, psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala extolled the virtues of coloring.

“The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.”

For me, there’s no greater stress reliever than the combination of a box of markers, a mandala coloring book, and a historical documentary on Netflix.

However, before you break out your colored pencils or knitting needles, you need to take care of what is arguably the most important tactic for defending against job-related stress; the work life balance. It’s imperative to draw a clear line between work and home.

According to an article in Paralegaledu.org, on handling the stress of working in a law office, “If you work at work, and work at home, you may find yourself feeling like you have no personal time, which will increase your stress load and decrease your job satisfaction.”

If you’re trying to unleash your creative juices in the same space you work, you’re unlikely to truly lose yourself in your project and get into the zen-like state of flow. Now get out there and create—the muses are calling.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

Expelled Redeemer’s University Actor, Debo Adedayo Spills More On His Expulsion – ‘VC was angry because we didn’t give him an award’
Shocking
47 views
Shocking
47 views

Expelled Redeemer’s University Actor, Debo Adedayo Spills More On His Expulsion – ‘VC was angry because we didn’t give him an award’

MT - October 18, 2017

A student of the Redeemer’s University, Debo Adedayo, talks about his post on Facebook that led to his expulsion by the varsity authorities with TOLUWANI ENIOLA. Tell…

Beautiful Photo Of Billionaire Oil Mogul, Mohammed Indimi And His Family
Richest
60 views
Richest
60 views

Beautiful Photo Of Billionaire Oil Mogul, Mohammed Indimi And His Family

MT - October 18, 2017

  The photo was taken during his 70th birthday getaway in Spain. Recall that the oil mogul is in-law to Nigeria's president whom one of his daughters,…

Nigerian Guy Claims He Dreamt About Tagbo And DJ Olu’s Tragedy But Was Ignored By Davido.
Entertainment
55 views
Entertainment
55 views

Nigerian Guy Claims He Dreamt About Tagbo And DJ Olu’s Tragedy But Was Ignored By Davido.

MT - October 18, 2017

  A singer, Klassic, who claims he dreamt about the recent tragedy that trailed Davido these past weeks, has come out to share details and screenshots of…

Fayemi’s Wife, Erelu Bisi, Appointed as Visiting Senior Research Fellow at London College
Best of Nigeria
40 views
Best of Nigeria
40 views

Fayemi’s Wife, Erelu Bisi, Appointed as Visiting Senior Research Fellow at London College

PH - October 18, 2017

Wife of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, has been appointed Visiting Senior Research Fellow of the prestigious King’s College, London. Mrs Fayemi,…

Diamond Bank Rated Best Bank In Financial Inclusion
Best of Nigeria
31 views
Best of Nigeria
31 views

Diamond Bank Rated Best Bank In Financial Inclusion

PH - October 18, 2017

Diamond Bank has been recognized as the Best Bank in Financial Inclusion Services and the Mobile Banking App of the Year at the 2017 Businessday Banking awards…

Why Nigeria needs land data ’
Business
34 views
Business
34 views

Why Nigeria needs land data ’

PH - October 18, 2017

Estate surveyors have been underutilised by policymakers in national development. In this interview with Tunde Alao of Tribune, Victor Adekunle Alonge, a fellow of the Nigerian Institution…

NDIC Wins Award On Banking Excellence
Business
41 views
Business
41 views

NDIC Wins Award On Banking Excellence

PH - October 18, 2017

Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has been conferred with the Special Recognition and Commendation Award for Excellence in Banking (Public Service) at the Business Day Banking Awards…

Gani Adams Reveals Why He Accepted To Be Aare Ona Kakanfo Of Yorubaland
Art, History and Culture
39 views
Art, History and Culture
39 views

Gani Adams Reveals Why He Accepted To Be Aare Ona Kakanfo Of Yorubaland

PH - October 18, 2017

THE Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Otunba Gani Adams, said on Tuesday that the major reason why he opted to accept the chieftaincy title is to further…

UBA Emerges Best Bank In Support Of Real Sector At Banking Awards
Best of Nigeria
36 views
Best of Nigeria
36 views

UBA Emerges Best Bank In Support Of Real Sector At Banking Awards

PH - October 18, 2017

Pan-African banking group, United Bank for Africa Plc, at the weekend was recognised for its extraordinary support of the real sector as it won best bank in…

Wizkid Breaks Record, Becomes First African Artist To Vie For ‘Best International Act’ At MOBO Awards
Entertainment
67 views
Entertainment
67 views

Wizkid Breaks Record, Becomes First African Artist To Vie For ‘Best International Act’ At MOBO Awards

MT - October 18, 2017

  On Tuesday morning, the nominees for the 2017 MOBO Awards were announced and our very own starboy, Wizkid is the only African artist vying for the…

Why Another Attempt At Power Devolution May Fail – Saraki
Politics
57 views
Politics
57 views

Why Another Attempt At Power Devolution May Fail – Saraki

PH - October 18, 2017

The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has disclosed that overheating discourse on the devolution of power might stall another attempt to get it passed…

Van Vicker Marks 14th Wedding Anniversary In The Most Beautiful Way
Entertainment
62 views
Entertainment
62 views

Van Vicker Marks 14th Wedding Anniversary In The Most Beautiful Way

MT - October 18, 2017

    Popular Ghanaian actor, Van Vicker and his wife, Adjoa took to Instagram to celebrate 14 blissful years of marriage. The couple have actually known each…

Felabration 2017: How Wizkid Helped This Crippled Fan Is Totally Heartwarming
Entertainment
53 views
Entertainment
53 views

Felabration 2017: How Wizkid Helped This Crippled Fan Is Totally Heartwarming

MT - October 18, 2017

Putting up an impressive performance at Felabration 2017, an event hosted in honour of Nigeria’s music legend, Fela who Wizkid said greatly influence him, the StarBoy Records…

VIDEO: Watch Gleeful Moment Davido Arrived Home From Panti Police Station
Entertainment
68 views
Entertainment
68 views

VIDEO: Watch Gleeful Moment Davido Arrived Home From Panti Police Station

MT - October 18, 2017

A video now shows the moment Davido arrived to his home in Lekki as a free man -ready to go back to making music after being released…

Tinubu Speaks on Gani Adams’ Emergence as Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland
Art, History and Culture
69 views
Art, History and Culture
69 views

Tinubu Speaks on Gani Adams’ Emergence as Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland

PH - October 18, 2017

Bola Ahmed Tinubu has congratulated the emergence of Gani Adams as the next Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland. “Dear Otunba, I congratulate you on your appointment as…

Why Nigeria Needs PDP to be as Strong as APC – Obasanjo
Politics
46 views
Politics
46 views

Why Nigeria Needs PDP to be as Strong as APC – Obasanjo

PH - October 18, 2017

Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo has reiterated that good governor in Nigeria is hinged on a strong opposition party. This way the party in power will not…

Nwankwo Kanu Launches N1 Billion Jackpot Lotto To Support Kanu Heart Foundation
Food and Health
60 views
Food and Health
60 views

Nwankwo Kanu Launches N1 Billion Jackpot Lotto To Support Kanu Heart Foundation

PH - October 17, 2017

Legendary Nigerian footballer and philanthropist, Nwankwo Kanu, is launching the biggest lotto in Africa to raise funds for the Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) (www.KanuHeartFoundationNg.com) and help build…

6 Reasons Why Senator Abaribe Applied To Be Discharged As Nnamdi Kanu’s Surety
Politics
85 views
Politics
85 views

6 Reasons Why Senator Abaribe Applied To Be Discharged As Nnamdi Kanu’s Surety

PH - October 17, 2017

The Senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Enyinaya Abaribe, has applied to the court to be discharged from the suretyship, bond and recognizance of the bail of…

Loading...