A stressful year
We may be living in divided times, but if there’s one thing we can probably all agree on it’s this: it’s been a stressful year. The pandemic has disrupted all of our lives and we have had to adapt accordingly. Tensions are running high and the stress of it all can feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s especially important these days to find ways to combat that stress. Just taking a quick breather for ourselves can help us get through the day.
We wanted to know how entrepreneurs combat the unprecedented stress and burnout many workers are experiencing. So we asked what kind of tech tools they are using to keep their anxiety in check during the work day.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the apps recommended to us were ones that help you meditate and/or sleep. This makes sense, since the health benefits of meditation are well-documented. Setting aside some time to meditate in the workplace can help increase your attention span, boost your mood and creative thinking skills, and decrease your stress levels.
Many respondents also found that exercising, even just for short periods of time, can help rejuvenate the mind and body. Apps that help users pursue new interests or learn new things also have the power to kick-start a burnt-out mind.
Most of these recommendations are apps. However, respondents also suggested some different tools and gadgets that can help you take a break from technology when you need it.
Excerpts have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Meditation and sleep
“The app is renowned worldwide and includes an impressive library full of guided meditations, soundscapes (think running water, wind in the woods) and, my personal favourite, children’s sleep stories. I switch on a soundscape as I am getting ready for bed or reading then (move) over to a story which puts me into a deep sleep. Most importantly, I believe it helps me get off my phone and laptop before sleeping.”
“One app that I just can’t do without is Headspace. I use this for my daily morning meditation before getting started with work. It’s important for me to set my intention and focus for the day, especially since each day brings new challenges to face.”
“I find the guided meditation courses on here particularly helpful if I need a quick reset. It doesn’t take too much time, and you could sneak a couple of sessions in throughout your day. Centering yourself when everything spins out of control is a huge deal, and saves you a lot of grief in the long run.”
“Connecting to your pituitary gland for 7-10 minutes every day can help bring you into balance and into a space where you can stay grounded while literally doing it all… [This app] has shorter and effective movement and meditation offerings to help keep stress hormones at bay!”
“I use the Seven app for seven-minute HIIT workouts – perfect for when you need movement and exercise but don’t have a lot of time.”
“[This app] makes it super easy for me to squeeze in an exercise even if it’s just 5-15 minutes and I don’t have to do anything except pick one and turn it on.”
“Learning made fun. Games do help when the world feels too overwhelming. They help me focus. Elevate also allows me to train my brain in skills that are always useful: productivity, reading, writing, listening, and more.”
Peters: “[I’m] learning piano in an effort to diversify how I spend my time and do something other than work.”
Your local library app (you can use Libby)
“When I’m reading on my phone, I’m not thinking about anything else. I’m not thinking about work, or other things that are going on in my life, or what I need to do tomorrow. It’s just me and the (digital) book and the time I set aside to read. Sometimes, on particularly busy days, I make time for 20-30 minute breaks in the day where I can relax and step back into my own thoughts. Having that rest time helps me keep my energy up and keep my stress down.”
Bonus gadgets to combat stress
“Using tech to de-stress is always a little bit of a double edge sword..Walking away from my ‘smart’ tech and doing a meditative action such as using a Theragun or my PMD clean facial scrubber puts me back in my body and allows me to put things in perspective.”
“Binaural therapy, or binaural beats, have been scientifically proven in some brain scans to stimulate different parts of your brain by emitting two different frequencies in either ear. This helps with stress [and] improves focus and creativity. I like to use it before bed. As an entrepreneur, it is hard to turn off my brain at night, as the wheels are constantly turning.”
“I received an analog gadget for Christmas a few years ago that I’ve had on my desk ever since. I use it when I’m feeling stressed, exhausted, anxious, and so many more emotions. Speks make very popular desk toys and I know many people who have them on their desk to combat these negative emotions.”
What apps, tools, or gadgets do you use to combat your stress and burnout? Leave your recommendations below!