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Can’t Get Away on Vacation? Try Tech for Relaxation, Even at Work

Stress happens. Even in the summer. And, unfortunately, we don’t always make the best decisions when we’re stressed (it’s science).

While technology may be at least partially to blame for stressing us out, it can also offer a variety of solutions to help soothe your mind and body.

Learn mindfulness techniques with helpful apps

The level of concentration and social interaction some professions require can be incredibly tolling on the mind. Meditating can help you reset and may be exactly what you need to let go of whatever has you stressed.

Headspace is a popular app that offers a variety of guided meditations that you can choose from based on your goals. It even offers quick three-minute “singles,” including ones for when you’re feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, or flustered. However, it starts at $7.99 a month (if you pay for a year at a time).

There are other mediation and mindfulness apps as well, such as Calm, Buddhify, and The Mindfulness App, that may offer some free content and have a fee or subscription for complete access.

Remember to give your eyes a break

Whether you’re slouched behind a phone or staring at a computer, too much screen time can harm your vision, leave your eyes feeling tired or strained, and may even trigger a headache.

But it can be hard to break away without a little reminder.

A Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browser extension, such as Protect Your Vision (which also has a web-based app that doesn’t require installing an extension) could help. You can choose several modes, including one that can help you follow the 20-20-20 rule—every 20 minutes you should take a 20-second break and look at something that’s at least 20 feet away.  

Get active and relaxed with wearable tech

Fitness trackers focus on counting your steps, calories, heart rate, and sleep. Exercise can be a great way to manage and get rid of stress. But some of the options, such as the Fitbit Ionic and Garmin Vivosport, also suggest breathing exercises or quick meditations if they detect your heart rate rising (a potential sign of stress).

And there are also several wellness-focused wearable devices, such as the Spire Stone, Leaf, and TouchPoints that were explicitly created to help decrease stress levels.

Unwind your body as well

To break up the day, fight a post-lunch energy dip, or just give your body some TLC, consider setting aside time for yoga or light stretching—even if you’re sitting in an office chair.

While there are a number of yoga apps available, an easier option might be to simply check YouTube. Searching for “office yoga 15 minutes” (or whatever best describes your circumstances) can results in dozens of options, including some with additional qualifiers, like desk-chair yoga, energizing yoga, and yoga for beginners.

Find the right music for the moment

Music has the power to quickly change your mood, and picking the right song might just be a perfect way to add a little self-care to your day.  

Spotify and Pandora offer playlists curated to help you focus or relax. Or, check out the 10-hour version of Marconi Union’s “Weightless,” on YouTube which was created with the help of sound therapists and designed to lower listeners’ heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels.

Even a few minutes can make a difference

Whatever your day looks like, try to incorporate at least a few minutes of self-care into your normal routine. Whether you focus on taking care of your mind or body, being intentional about breaks can impact your level of productivity, ability to be creative, and help ease the stress in your life.

Louis DeNicola is a freelance personal finance writer and credit enthusiast. You can find him on Twitter @is_lou.

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