Toys help de-stress at work

Toys help de-stress at work

Many corporate professionals are playing with slime, dough and even building blocks to relax in the middle of a hard day’s work

Squeezing a stress ball can help to channelise restlessness and focus on a task that needs immediate attention.

Corporate professionals are getting their hands on toys that were once meant only for children. 

Slime, play-doh, kinetic sand are mindless, repetitive and purposeless activities that give the brain a break and help it refocus, psychologists say.

The human body is not designed to sit still and pay full attention in a rigid manner. Sitting for long hours and concentrating too hard can cause tension, either muscular or mental.

Toys can improve the wellbeing of an individual, says Dr Sulata Shenoy, psychologist, Turning Point Centre for Psychological Assessments and Therapies. 

“Before the introduction of these toys, people had their own ways of relieving stress, such as playing with their hair or bursting bubble wraps. The fact that these activities are uncomplicated makes one calmer and more focused,” she says.  

How do toys help relieve stress? 

“For example, squeezing a stress ball can help one channelise restlessness and negative energy in the mind and body to focus on a task that requires immediate attention,” says Sulata. 

Playing with adult colouring books, doodling or even a fun round of carrom can relieve stress. 

“I usually doodle when I am stressed at work. Using colours soothes me. I also find slime relaxing. Just fiddling with it in a stressful situation helps me,” says Keerthana Verma, software engineer. 

Poorva Vijay, interior designer, often resorts to Lego (an interactive game of interlocking plastic bricks) to relieve stress. 

“It diverts and relieves stress without your knowing it. I also play board games and card games at home. We have a dartboard in the office, where the dart is an Angry Bird that sticks to the target when thrown. Someone is always playing it,” says Poorva. 

Though many are turning to these handy relaxation techniques, Dr Sugami Ramesh, clinical psychologist, says they only provide temporary relief. Using stress relief toys doesn’t help a person cope with a serious psychological condition. 

“An increase in stress level depends on several factors — environment, personal or professional. And in the long run, people tend to feel guilty when they are unable to keep themselves mentally or physically fit. It is always better to seek help if stress is getting out of hand,” she recommends. 

Stress relief at work

Slime/ putty

This gooey-soft substance is for all age groups. Not only is it satisfying to watch the slime change shape,
but squishing or stretching it can
also be a great way to relieve stress and give your brain a break. It comes in multi-coloured, glittery or crunchy versions.
Repeatedly squeezing the toy can relax the nerves and trigger happy hormones. Pull it, knead it or squish it and take a break from stress.
You can also create your own slime at home by mixing half cup water, one-fourth cup of white glue and 
half teaspoon of borax. If you wish to add colour, you can use a drop of food colour or glitter.   

Stress ball
This is one of the most common stress relief toys used by adults, especially, while at work. Repeated squeezing of the soft ball, tightens the hand and wrist muscles and relaxes them once released. This helps one release a considerable amount of stress and negative emotions. It is also a good exercise for the fingers. Stress balls are available in foam-based, rubber-based or water and gel-based forms. 

Adult colouring books

If you thought colouring books were for kids, you might want to reconsider it. We now have adult colouring books that have geometric figures, mandalas and other intricate designs to colour in. There is no right or wrong; pick any colour of your choice and let your creativity take over. Turning to any sort of art when stressed or worked up, can be quite therapeutic; for some, it can
be meditative too. Many even resort to doodling. These colouring books can help boost self-awareness and reduce anxiety.

Kinetic sand 

It is satisfying to see how the sand breaks and falls apart. But, nothing comes close to the feeling you get when you smoosh the kinetic sand. Create your own shapes using the clay-like substance — a castle, a ball or just about anything. The smooth texture of the sand is calming. 



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