Stretchly is an open source program that reminds you to take a break at regular intervals
The best way to deal with work related stress, in my opinion, is to take a break whenever you can. This is the concept behind the popular Pomodoro Technique which many people use to improve their productivity.
Instead of working continuously for hours, splitting the task into smaller chunks makes it a lot easier to handle. Just walking away from your workstation for a few minutes can help take your mind off of things, and when you come back you will feel more relaxed.
A lot of people aren't used to this practice. Stretchly can help, it is a timer program that reminds you when to take a break. You can install the app, or use the portable version, they're identical in terms of functionality.
Stretchly runs in the background, and can be accessed from the system tray via a right-click. The program offers 2 kinds of reminders; Mini Breaks and Long Breaks. The Mini Break as the name suggests is the shorter one of the two, and sets a 20-second timer for you to take a breather. The reminder for it pops-up once every 10 minutes, and the app will display a notification, about 10 seconds before the break starts.
Long Breaks occur once every half an hour, and run for 5 minutes. Use it to take a stroll, listen to some music, or unwind with some other activity of your choice. When the break timer is triggered, a reminder window pops-up on the screen. Besides the timer, it also displays a suggestion for what you can do during a break, like closing your eyes to relax. A sound is played at the end of a timer to indicate that the break has ended. The program does not allow you to pick a custom audio for the notifications, but has 3 sounds to choose from.
You can dismiss a break by clicking the Skip Break button, or by using the hotkey Ctrl + X. Both reminders are enabled by default, i.e., Mini and Long Breaks. Head to the Schedule tab to toggle one of them off if required. The timers are customizable, so you can set a custom break duration, the start time, and also toggle the notification pop-up.
Some people may prefer to delay things to focus to something that requires your immediate attention. Stretchly lets you postpone all breaks, which allows you to skip a break when necessary. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it can be handy when you have a meeting or a video call to participate in.
There are two ways to delay a break in Stretchly, the first of which is a temporary one. Its tray menu option is captioned "Skip to the next", and lets you skip to the next mini or long break. The other method to postpone breaks is the Pause break menu, which has options to disable the timer by an hour, 2 hours, 5 hours, until the next morning, or indefinitely. The Strict Mode does not allow you to skip breaks or postpone them, you can use it to force yourself to take some time off your work.
Stretchly is an open source program, it is written in Electron. The application is available for Windows, Linux and MacOS.