Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

Stress Relief for Busy Professionals: How to Unwind in 20 Minutes or Less

Our lives are packed with things to do, places to go, and people to see. Between our social lives and work, it’s difficult to find the time to actually relieve some of the daily stress.

In fact, work is the leading source of daily stress for most adults.

So, how are busy people supposed to manage stress?

It’s fairly well-known that exercise is the best stress and anxiety reliever, but most people don’t use it as their main outlet. Fatty foods, video games, and shopping are go-to stress relievers for people because there is instant relief. However, after you’ve finished that burger and fries, spent three hours killing virtual zombies, or dropped $100 on new shoes, there will be regret and the stress will be back with a vengeance.

Try one of these quick, guilt-free methods instead!

1. Nibble, Don’t Gorge, on Snacks

Skip the chips next time!

Skip the chips next time!

Get to know your body’s clock. If you know you get really irritated in the afternoons at about 2 o’clock, then nip it in the bud before it happens. Start by treating yourself to a light snack. Dark chocolate is great for satisfying a sweet tooth, and it has antioxidants that actually create feel-good hormones in your brain called endorphins. Keep a small bag of snack size candies in your desk and have a piece if you feel the urge. Boost your mood by designating a few minutes to consume a healthy snack or take a coffee break; that few minutes can do wonders to reduce anxiety.

2. Get Moving

When you’re having a bad day or your work is just piling up with no end, the stress can be overwhelming. Nothing helps that feeling more than getting away from your work station for a few minutes. Taking a brisk walk and stretching are great ways to get your blood flowing and create endorphins. The walks don’t have to be long, just around the block or parking lot is plenty.

However, hope isn’t lost if you don’t have the time to stretch your legs during work hours. Studies show that walking for only 20-30 minutes a day, 5 days a week will continuously reduce your daily stress levels!

3. Start an Afternoon Stress Relief Ritual

Make like a granny and take up knitting.

Make like a granny and take up knitting.

Relaxation rituals are also effective stress relievers because they provide much needed comfort. It’s not always possible to lie down and rest while at work, but try closing your eyes for about ten minutes while sitting at your desk or in a break room. This will reenergize your brain and help you regain focus for daily tasks.

For example, I close my eyes and listen to soft piano music for a few minutes in the afternoon almost every day when I need a quick break. Everyone is different, though, so find what works best for you and try it out. Your ritual should be quick but relaxing, and something you would want to do every day. Some other examples are knitting, doodling, “window” shopping online, or doing hand exercises with stress balls.

4. Laugh

I’m sure you’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine. Laughing is great for increasing your heart rate and releasing endorphins, just like exercising. If you’re feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, find a way to laugh, giggle, snicker or even smile. Watch a funny YouTube video of someone falling down or look up a few jokes online. I like to listen to Pandora’s Comedy Radio. I laugh out loud in my cubicle sometimes, but it’s totally worth the embarrassment, especially when it makes me feel better.

Remember, being stressed out can cause hypertension, anxiety, depression, and obesity. So it’s important to find new ways to release it. Your stress might be high at times, but there are simple ways to manage it. Take a little time for yourself daily to calm your nerves and relax, and it will make a huge difference for your overall health.

How do you manage your stress? Do you have any tips I didn’t mention or do you use any I listed? Is work your number one stressor? Let us know in the comments below!

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Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. Jana Quinn

    Great suggestions, Jen. I cannot tell you how much getting up and moving around helps me. Even if I only take a quick lap around the building once per hour, getting my eyes away from the computer screen and getting the blood flowing is helpful.

    I hadn’t thought of having an afternoon routine to help relax; I think I’ll start that, too!

    • Jen

      Thanks Jana, walking around the office is awesome for re-energizing and when I sit back down, I instantly feel more relaxed too. Pretty neat how that works! 🙂

  2. Kelsey

    Great Post! I have to say my favorite is laughter, which I’m sure we’ve all heard me do plenty of. I also have to say that a short walk definitely helps, even if it’s just walking across the office to get coffee! 🙂

    I think it’s really important for us to remember to breathe and do some of these simple exercises, and not let stress defeat us.

    • Jen

      They are super easy things to do, it’s the remembering to do them that is the tough part! Thanks Kelsey!

  3. amy

    I’m a big advocate for getting up and moving around. When I need to take my eyes off my computer screen I get up, get a glass of water, go and talk to a coworker, something! Then I can come back and fully concentrate on what needs to get done, and usually in a lot better mood too 😉

    Your other tips are extremely helpful too! I’ll have to create my afternoon stress relief ritual to make sure I stay sane, haha. Thanks, Jen!

    • Jen

      You’re right Amy, visiting someone and having a quick chat is an awesome stress reliever. And after I’ve come back to my desk I’m totally more productive!

  4. Mandy Kilinskis

    Excellent tips, Jen! I do my best to get up every once in a while – I try to at least once a day use the bathroom on the other side of the building so I’m forcing to get a tiny bit more exercise.

    I’m also extremely lucky to work in an office with some very funny people. We crack jokes a lot, so we laugh quite a bit. It’s definitely great for relieving stress and easing tension throughout the day!

    • Jenna Markowski

      I second Mandy’s comment! We certainly get our daily dose of laughs here in the content office! (We may even overdose sometimes) Glad to know that we’re not wasting time…we’re relieving stress! 😀

      • Jen

        Awesome! Laughing until the point of crying is amazing and feels sooo good!

        • Jill Tooley

          You mean like the time we watched that bizarre Netflix test video? With the guy moonwalking while holding a laptop? I particularly enjoyed the part where he recited poetry and immediately followed it with mouth-popping noises. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you laugh as hard as I did that night! Hahaha! 😀

        • Jill Tooley

          Oh! OR, when Alan was making that stupid boxing puppet knock over stuffed animals…

    • Jen

      Great idea going to the other side to use the restroom! I might steal this idea Mandy, thanks for the tip!

  5. Cybernetic SAM

    Great Post Jen! I wish I could knit here at work it is quite relaxing! I think we are all pretty lucky though working in the environment we do, not bad at all!

    • Jen

      You’re totally right Sam! We don’t have much stress around here, but I can imagine some other offices get some really stressed out employees.

  6. Eric

    Pandora. Look up about any stand-up comic you’d like. Heck, they’ve even got Woody Allen’s old stuff in there, too. That helps break up a little monotony. Walking, though, is my cure. Getting up and moving around for five minutes gives me more energy than any can of soda, or cup of coffee. Useful post!

    • Alex Brodsky

      John Mulaney, Bo Burnham, Patton Oswalt. Those 3 comedians get me through most days here!

      • Eric

        Oswalt cracks me up. If you’ve not heard his joke about the angry musician, do yourself a favor and give ‘er a listen. I don’t know, but especially as a performer myself, that one hits the spot, every time. Comedy gold!

  7. Rachel

    I really need to get around and move more often. I do get up from my desk several times a day, do some stretches now and then, but I think I might steal Mandy’s idea of walking to the other side of the building to use their restroom sometimes. 🙂 Seems like a good excuse to walk!

    Thanks for the great collection of tips, Jen!

  8. Olivia Morris

    Hello, Very informative blog, exactly what I needed to know, thank you

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