Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

This Science-Backed Trick to De-stressing at Work Only Takes 5 Minutes

person at computer
Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

This morning, as I waited for the elevator in a lobby crowded with people, I overheard tense conversations about stress and anxiety and overflowing inboxes.

On any average day, you’re also likely facing a mountain of work, a growing to-do list, and multiple demands from your boss, colleagues, or clients.

Since you can’t very well turn around and go home, there’s no choice but to push through and get through the workday. That sounds great in theory, but how do you actually do that in practice? And how do you do it fast?

I recommend taking a cue from science. A new study, as reported by The New York Times, explains that standing up and walking around for a mere five minutes every hour reaps big benefits, ranging from mood-lifting, fatigue-combatting, and hunger-pain dulling.

Participants reported that their “feelings of vigor” grew as the day went on when they were consistently active—as opposed to simply being active in the morning for thirty minutes or so. While there’s no reason you should skip your morning workout if that’s part of your routine, there’s evidence to suggest that regular activity throughout the day is hugely helpful to your well-being.

While you may not be able to get your company to spring for a standing desk or have the luxury of working out in the middle of the day, you can most definitely get up and move for five minutes. When you rise to fill your water glass or head to the restroom, make a point to going the long way.

Bonus points if you can actually get outside or decide to take a few flights of stairs.