How to Creatively Get Through a Really Frustrating Day at Work

A regular day at work can turn into a stressful day at work in a blink of an eye. The office is a stress fertile land, no doubt about it. Personally, I feel these things rarely change, we only find better ways to cope with the stress, and this helps us get through the day. There are different types of stress we can experience, but the majority of them simply register as anger on the emotional spectrum.

Stress is not always a bad thing, very often there is a surge in our performance when we work under pressure. However, it’s in our best interest to stop cultivating ill humour, which is why everybody should have some sort of stress reliever nearby. The problem is that combatting stress at work in the same way we would do it at home is a bit more tricky; common sense and office etiquette limit our range of possibilities. Despite the fact that there perfectly acceptable tactics to efficiently address this issue when you are not at work, it’s difficult to find ways to get through a frustrating day when you are still at work. Here are some creative ways to mitigate the intensity of stress when you are having a particularly frustrating day at work.


1. Adult Colouring Book

Yes I am aware that putting the word “adult” in front of “colouring book” does not make it sound any less immature. The first time I heard the phrase I thought it was a colouring book with perverted PG 18 content. However, I quickly came to my senses once I saw the book, I changed my opinion. The majority of pictures are mosaics, which makes the colouring process incredibly absorbing, thus making you forget all about stress in a matter of minutes. There is something incredibly satisfying when you finish colouring a picture, which is why this book climbed all the way to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed and anxious during a workday, take a moment to get your mind off things. Pick up your crayons and start colouring, you will definitely start to feel calmer. Moreover, after a sequence of particularly hard days is over, you can go through the pictures and feel proud of your work. 

2. Play Tetris

Here is a great way to spend your break time. Tetris is one of the most well-known games in existence, and it still perseveres. In addition to providing brain gymnastics, Tetris is one of the best remedies for stress. You get to organize the pieces so that they fall in perfect order, the very definition of serenity. Another fun fact about Tetris is that it can help with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), there was a whole study on this topic. I won’t delve into any details in order to stay on track, but the point is the results were positive. In other words, if Tetris can help with an issue of such gravity, it can surely be used to suppress everyday stress.

If you work from home, another game that you can play to serve as catharsis for your rage is God of War. Anyone who has played the game will tell you it is the best video game stress reliever on the market. I guess people really love to brutalize the Greek pantheon and wreak havoc on Olympus.   

3. Stress Buster Desktop Punching Ball

Well, sometimes Tetris and colouring just won’t do the trick, because all the pent up stress has manifested as anger, and you need an adequate vent. Punching a wall or punching your equipment will only make you look like a psycho, plus it can get you fired. Therefore, you need something to help you fulfil your need to beat someone to a bloody pulp. A perfect tool for channelling built up rage is the Stress Buster Desktop Punching Ball. You can find this item on Amazon for $18, and the whole setup procedure is rather simple. All you do is attach the punching ball to your desk, make sure you clear the perimeter around it, since it will wiggle a lot when punched, and start punching whenever the mood strikes you.

In case you find its design inconvenient, you can opt for a punching cushion, or a squeeze stress ball. Both items are adequate tools for stress absorption and you will surely grow to like them. Alternatively, if you want to purge your anger, rather than riding the wave of violence, you can get other types of stress balls, e.g. ones that produce the sound of tiny tolling bells as you manipulate them in your hand.

4. Have a Drink

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Sometimes it can be unimaginable to get through the day without drinking some alcohol. Of course, this does not mean that you should become the office drunk. There are some benefits to drinking during working hours, as long as it is in moderation. However, if you have an urge to occasionally take a sip, as a solo drinker, you will have to take some precautions in order to cover your tracks.

So, if you need a drink to cope with stress, make sure you take necessary steps to preserve your office reputation. Don’t carry your drink in a flask, don’t drink something with noticeable scent (Smirnoff Vodka is hard to distinguish, for example). Don’t use regular mints to mask the scent, take chewing gum that people usually do not purchase, so that no one knows just how the gum is supposed to smell.     

5. Miniature Zen Garden

These are great as both desk accessories and relaxing tools. It is truly soothing to slowly drag the miniature rake through grains of sand and arrange them in this tiny garden. If you haven’t tried it yet, I strongly recommend it.  

You can also get a Miniature Zen Garden on Amazon for approximately $30, but the price varies depending on the model. Alternatively, you can easily craft your own Miniature Zen Garden – all you need is a picture frame, beach sand, stones or whatever else you feel like using for accessories, and you can use a fork as a rake, or craft your own zen rake

6. Go to Your Happy Place

You can also use a method which only requires breathing and positive thinking. It is called meditation or going to your happy place. The procedure is rather simple – you close your eyes, take a few slow deep breaths and imagine yourself walking through a serene field with a warm breeze going through your face. Clearly, this is not a definition of everyone’s happy place, but it is somehow a general vision, or the first thing that comes to one’s mind when they imagine a peaceful atmosphere. There was a study on this matter as well, and results revealed that it is a good method for decreasing anxiety.      

See Also: Stress and Work: How Harmful Is It to Your Career?

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Whenever you are having a rough day at work, or a rougher day than usual, try to think of these suggestions. Sure, nothing here will give you an idea of how you can actually solve the problems, or target the source of your stress, but these are more of a first aid kit in stressful scenarios. Besides, it can sometimes be impossible to eliminate the source, since it is the very nature of the job that causes problems. In that case you can either toughen up or change your job if you feel that you are not up to the challenge.