Rebrand Workplace Stress

Movement Memo

To: The Stressed

From: Make Movements

Date: June 3, 2019

Re: Rebrand Workplace Stress to Avoid Burnout


Did just seeing the word stress bring a series of feelings, maybe guilt, a little bit of shame, annoyance sprinkled in with a hint of anxiety, or worse, more stress?

Let that go, and take three deep breath.

One. Two. Three.

Last week the World Health Organization redefined burnout as a syndrome linked to chronic stress at work, "resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed."

This is a big deal for a few reasons.

First, because burnout will now be classified as a chronic condition, by the International Classification of Diseases, and unlike before, this new definition specifically ties burnout to the workplace, not general areas of life.

Second, the formal recognition of burnout legitimizes the imperative to better manage our workplace stress. This brings greater attention to this topic, and highlights the value of companies to build and maintain positive workplace culture while promoting a healthy work-life balance. Stress, a majority of which stems from the workplace, now has an even greater correlation to our overall health.

In today’s workplace culture, the new normal is the expectation to multi-task like a rockstar, to be productive not just within the blurred lines of 9-5, but 24/7, to put in a few hours on the weekend just so you're caught up on Monday morning, and casually respond to an email or text at 8:30 pm.

Greater productivity is not necessarily a bad thing, as we are now able to do more. In addition, stress is natural and going to happen no matter how perfect our job appears. In fact, low levels of sporadic stress are shown to sharpen your brain and enhance our ability to problem solve.

However, while our workplace landscape and expectations have shifted, the amount of stress stemming from the workplace has grown. Employees and leadership need for a new set of tools to manage this new landscape, and the growing stress levels to avoid burnout. Instead of digging deep in an outdated toolbox, let's rebrand our workplace stress.

True, a typical rebrand often includes new packing, logos or marketing materials. So instead let’s look at our office habits: how we sit, what we eat, what thoughts our mind whispers to us, and even how we move through our day, symbolically and literally, and create a new look and feel for office habits.

Re-brand your workplace stress to release your potential for burnout.

Hungry? Instead of inhaling the month old candy lingering in the office kitchen, or downing a sugar-dossed coffee at 3:00 pm, snack on a piece of fruit, eat raw nuts.

Stuck? When tempted to aimlessly scroll Instagram, take a break from screen time, get outside, take a walk around the block or your office space.

Frustrated? If a colleague, a supervisor, or the progress of a project, or even all three are aggravating you, make movements.

Physical movements allow your body and mind to release stress. Think of this as clicking the refresh icon on your web browser, but instead, it refreshes for your mind.

Read below for a movement tip to rebrand our workplace habits, so we’re able to release workplace stress, enhance professional efficacy and avoid burnout.



Forward Fold

Hinge forward at your hips and grab opposite elbows

Bend your knees as much as feels good

Release the top of your head down to the floor to release tension in your head

Make Movements, and softly shake your head to say yes, no, wiggle hips side to side

Benefits: This move releases tension in lower back and hips, and is fantastic after sitting at your desk or long meetings.


Ear Drops

Drop your left ear to left shoulder and ear

Place the palm of your left hand on your right ear, acting as a paperweight

Soften your jaw and facial muscles, and then switch to repeat on the opposite side

Benefits: This move releases tension in your neck and upper shoulders, two hot spots where we hold lots of our stress.


Leg Moves

Stand up and root down on one leg

Bend one knee back and grab a hold of your ankle with same hand as the bent leg

Keep both knees in the same line, and soften your jaw, and invite five solid inhales and exhales

Option to use your desk or desk chair as balance

Benefits: This move enhances flexibility in your spine and hamstring, and stretches and strengthens your ankles, and hamstrings. A great compliment to a forward fold stretch, to augment long periods of desk sitting.


Wrist Flicks

Extend your arms out wide like a capital T

Start with your fingers lose, and pointing down

Begin to flick your fingers, first slow, then speed up to quick, fast flicks

Turn your fingers to point up, continue to flick

Extend your arms up to the sky, and continue to flick, (likely feeling the heat in your forearms now!)

Benefits: Due to the common frequent use of phones and computers, our wrists are tighter than ever. This move is fantastic for your wrists, and to reverse any effects of carpal syndrome