Three Exercises to Relieve Stress at Your Desk

Michele Warg
Posted by

Negative stress increases tension and makes it difficult to concentrate. As an administrative professional, the demands of managing multiple projects and dealing with dozens of people each day can create negative stress that will make you less efficient. Experts recommend exercise as a way to relieve stress, but it's not always possible for an administrative or executive assistant to get away from the office to take a walk or visit the gym. Try these three exercises to help you relieve stress without even leaving your desk.


Joshua Steckler of the "Daily Herald" recommends doing neck stretches to relieve stress related to inactivity. While sitting at your desk, rotate your head to the left, drop your chin, and hold the position for thirty seconds. Tilt your chin toward the ceiling and then hold that position for thirty seconds. Repeat this with your head rotated to the right. Be sure to consult a physician before attempting to relieve stress with this exercise¾especially if you have a known neck problem.


Sitting in the same position for a long period of time creates physical stress and mental stress. If your legs are stiff or uncomfortable, try a leg stretch to ease the discomfort. Doing this exercise at work is easy, as all you need is a sturdy desk to use for support and balance. Face your desk, bend one of your legs, and grasp the leg just above your ankle. Pull toward your buttocks until you feel the muscle stretch. Once you feel the stretch, hold the position for several seconds. Repeat this exercise several times for each leg.


Frequent seated work puts a lot of stress on your upper and lower back, especially if you do not have an ergonomic workspace suited to your body. Relieve stress by performing an easy upper back exercise at work. While sitting straight, bring your left arm across your body while keeping your elbow loose. Using your right arm, pull the left arm across your body until you feel a stretch. Repeat this stretch several times with both arms.


These exercises can help you relieve stress, but your results will be fleeting if you do not use other stress-relief techniques. Although you may not be able to eliminate some sources of stress, you can reduce its effects on your body by following a healthy diet and getting enough exercise. If you have to eat lunch at your desk, avoid caffeine and try eating yogurt at breakfast or lunch. Eating yogurt rich in probiotics may ease some of the stress you are feeling. Consider performing simple yoga poses at your desk to help you relax and eliminate the stress related to working as an administrative professional.


It is almost impossible to avoid stress, so the way you cope with stressful situations will dictate how stress affects you physically and mentally. Use these three simple exercises, along with healthy foods and relaxation techniques, to relieve stress and reduce its negative effects.


(Photo courtesy of Ambro /


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks, Amber. I'm glad that they worked for you. Stretching out periodically or even just changing positions makes a huge difference over the course of the day. Sometimes I forget and when I stand up, all of my muscles are stiff and creaky.
  • Amber B
    Amber B
    I loved it..  I even tried some of the things recommended to relieve stress..  and it worked
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for the comments!@Dawna - Even with spinal issues or other disabilities, there are some stress relieving things you can do at your desk, like drinking herbal tea or using aromatherapy.@Shahida - Walking is a great idea. Sometimes it's the best thing to do to beat stress and clear your mind.@Tonya - i'm so glad they helped.@Deborah - You're right, going out with friends and moving your body is the best way to de-stress.@Peggy - Thanks for the tip! Do you think that dietary choices have a large impact on stress levels?
  • Dawna M
    Dawna M
  • mickey l
    mickey l
    the article was very useful if somewhat long. the same info could have been put in a shorter and attentive format.
  • Shahida A
    Shahida A
    Useful article for people, who have to do lot of desk work. I practice this exercise regularly and it helps me to relieve stress and feeling relax. Walking for a while and maintaining balanced food habit is also important.
  • suzanne j
    suzanne j
    thought it was helpful information although nothing I haven't read before .  but the information is accurate so ill say it is good
  • Teri M
    Teri M
    Its ok.
  • Tonya B
    Tonya B
    I tested the exercises and they do relieve stress some.
  • Deborah D
    Deborah D
    I really think these people need to get out more with friends. Go dancing. Move your body. That is a natural distraction from stress. Throw in  a little sunshine and fresh air, Forget the desk!
  • Tiffany J
    Tiffany J
    I actually tried these 3 exercises and they do help with both stress an tension.
  • Tiffany E
    Tiffany E
    Thought this was a useful article. Will use this exercise.
  • mikelle m
    mikelle m
    I like it
  • traceyc
    I found the article to be informative. I tried the exercises and felt more relaxed!
  • Cassandra D
    Cassandra D
    Very useful information will definitely be trying these to relieve stress!
  • Peggy J
    Peggy J
    I think you missed don't eat wheat, (ever) do not drink sodas, (ever) get up and walk around a bit after sitting an hour. Eat more greens and veggies.  Can't avoid stress with the Standard American diet.  Take responsibility for you own health.  Medicine is not going to help if you don't help yourself, AND STOP SMOKING, drink lots of water.
  • Quiana L
    Quiana L
    I think these exercises can be quite beneficial to people like myself that work from home or a white collar workplace. I will be implementing these exercises in the coming days.
  • You Might Also Be Interested In

Jobs to Watch