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Feeling stressed? Fast Company staff suggest ways to unwind

Tried and tested ways to keep burnout at bay

[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

In today’s hustle culture, avoiding burnout is more than a luxury; it’s a necessity. As the demands of our professional lives escalate, finding effective ways to recharge is essential for our well-being – at work and otherwise. Various strategies can help you maintain balance amid the whirlwind, from mindfulness practices to creative escapes. 

In the interest of spreading the good word about their favorite life hacks, Fast Company staffers are sharing tips that could be a path to tackle your stress. Or you can make a mental note of every tip and recommendation—then promptly ignore all the good advice. No stress.

“It’s difficult when each day you start work with a sort of cold brain, and nothing happens. I have days when I sit down at my laptop, nothing’s coming, I’m having to tear each word out, it’s like digging for coal, and I’ll go: ‘No, this isn’t working,’ in a sort of impetuous, breathless way. There isn’t a correct way to do my job, which is a liberating thought. What helps in between that chop chop chop of the keys is a cup or two of chamomile tea or reading a page or two of multiple half-read books — trash, classics, good and bad, bestsellers — on my deskWhen I work from home, I snatch a few breaks, like walking up to my balcony, looking at my plants, hearing the chirping birds, cloud gazing, and standing there for a few minutes, breathing a mouthful of fresh air. Catch-ups with colleagues for a few minutes and a lunch break, as I listen to podcasts, work wonders. I also set out blocks of time to focus on specific tasks and don’t feel pressured to respond to incessant emails as they come in.” – Suparna Dutt DCunha, Editor

“Some days at work can be stressful, and others less stressful. During the pandemic, I picked up a few stress-busting techniques to help me maintain a better balance throughout my workdays. I make it a point that no matter what’s going on, I take a break every 30 minutes. During these breaks, I get up from my desk, walk around the office, chat with colleagues, and drink water. While working, I usually listen to piano music in the background – it’s pretty calming. Some days, I explore some interesting ASMR videos and find them extremely soothing and relaxing. There’s nothing like a comforting cup of tea and deep breathing exercises for high-stress days while overlooking the city.” – Karrishma Modhy, Managing Editor

“Walking my dog is my personal time. It’s a chance to start and end my day well. Sometimes, I listen to a podcast or audiobook, but most often, it’s just great being around nature. When it’s been a couple of busy weeks, I gravitate towards seeking comfort food, such as ramen at Kinoya or french toast at Le Pain Quotidien. Of course, a cup of good karak with a friend is also helpful.” – Pamella De Leon, Business & Tech Editor

“What works for me is recentering my focus. If I’m stressed, sharing a meal with loved ones or spending a few minutes in prayer with my family seem straightforward ways to ease endless overthinking. Stress can sometimes be a physical experience, for which I use the FitOn app. I recommend trying Vytas’ 15-minute stretching workout before bed; it’s so calming that it makes me yawn my worries away.” – Rachel Dawson, Senior Correspondent

“Creating that tricky line between work and personal space is often difficult in a work-from-home scenario. I follow a strict one-hour “digital distancing” rule: no texting, calls, or social media. This time is reserved for playing and walking with my pet dog. There is no better therapy than spending time with your pet.” – Liji Varghese, Audience Development Lead

“When overwhelmed or burnt out, I need to self-isolate and write down my thoughts. Often, I get in my car and go for a drive, grab some coffee or a comfort smoothie, park by the beach, and journal my thoughts. Also, I never underestimate the power of retail therapy. Shopping for something as simple as earrings can lift my mood.” – Suha Hasan, Correspondent

“To avoid burnout, I make sure to go out with my friends either on a long drive to the beach (with the Weeknd or Ariana Grande playing in the background ) or to dine in and catch up with them (favorite places include Social House, Din Tai Fung, TGIF, Moreish) or I grab boba tea, sit there for hours and talk (Sharetea is my go-to place). I enjoy spending time alone to unwind, and binge-watching my favorite Netflix shows (now rewatching Chilling Adventures of Sabrina).” – Aryan P., Production Associate

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