August 15 is National Relaxation Day.
This national “holiday” is one day to let employees chill, but relaxing self care shouldn’t be considered only once a year. Companies that take the time to invest in employee mental wellness see fewer employees suffer from burnout.
It’s a great opportunity for employers to bring workplace stress levels down a bit while also talking about the importance of daily self care routines.
Here are seven ways to unwind for National Relaxation Day:
Find Time to Relax at Work
Work shouldn’t always be stressful. In fact, people do better work when they are focused and relaxed. Whenever possible, encourage employees to be mindful of their stress levels and practice relaxation techniques as needed.
Large companies have perks like ping pong tables (Dropbox), EnergyPods for naps (Google), and rock climbing walls (Chesapeake Energy), to help employees relax. It doesn’t take fancy equipment or large budgets to help employees relax, though.
Consider the following options for relaxing on the job:
1. Just Breathe
Breathing deeply helps counteract the physical effects of stress like high blood pressure, fast heart rate, and short, shallow breathing. A few full, deep breaths can help you relax, reduce tension, and relieve work-related stress in seconds.
Chill out tip: Sound an hourly bell for employees to pause and breathe deeply.
2. Eat Foods That Reduce Stress
During the most stressful times, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy vending machine snacks. Instead, fueling the body with whole foods filled with vitamins and nutrients can elevate mood and energy. A few of the best stress-busting foods include:
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate
- Turkey breast
Chill out tip: Host a healthy snack bar for your employees every Friday.
3. Get Your Daily Dose of Laughter
Laughter really is good for stress relief, according to scientific research. Laughter stimulates the production of endorphins, increases circulation, and helps muscles relax. On the health front, it decreases heart rate and blood pressure, which is a must for folks who want to feel a little calmer.
Chill out tip: Host a lunch and learn with a funny video or employee game time.
4. Chew Gum
Studies have shown that chewing gum decreases stress, reduces cortisol levels, and improves mood. A 2008 Australian study found that chewing sugarless gum in particular increases alertness and improves multitasking performance.
Chill out tip: Pass out packs of chewing gum with thank you notes to employees.
5. Add Some Greenery
Consider starting a community garden to let employees get their hands dirty while calming their minds. Or, keep it simple with buying a variety of indoor plants. Indoor plants have been found to reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration, increase productivity, creativity, and problem solving. Soil releases microbes that encourage serotonin production which improves mood.
Chill out tip: Spruce up common areas and office spaces with lush, potted plants.
6. Create a “Chill Out” Campaign
Consider hosting a “Chill Out” campaign to help employees relax. For a day-long event, invite local vendors like yoga instructors, psychologists, artists, and other wellness professionals to set up informational booths or workshops on-site. The campaign could also be stretched out over the period of a week with different relaxing activities scheduled for each day.
Chill out tip: Have a local yoga teacher teach a breathwork or meditation class.
7. Offer a Half Day of Work
Give employees an unexpected half day off work to just relax. Encourage them to avoid making appointments, running errands, and the like. Ask that they spend the time off doing what truly relaxes them, whether it’s spending time with family, going fishing, or just hanging out on the couch.
Chill out tip: If you can swing it, let employees head early on a Friday.
Keep Calm and Carry on With Work
Now that you’ve got some relaxation day ideas, how do you plan to put it into action?
This holiday only comes around once a year, so let your employees take advantage of it while also reminding them of the importance of self care, too.
Consider surveying employees to see what relaxation techniques work best for them. Share a summary of the best techniques in your next wellness newsletter or event.
Everyone has different ideas of what relaxing means. Prior to National Relaxation Day, ask employees what would make their work environment more serene. Then, surprise them on August 15 with ways to make the workplace ambience a little more laidback than usual.
You may find your employees return the following day as relaxed as if they were just on a vacation.
Need help with your corporate wellness efforts? Request your free employee wellness consultation today!