By: Lisa Martinez
Stress! We can’t avoid it. It seems to surround us these days with the omnipresent COVID-19, loss of jobs, the resulting financial challenges, social isolation, and trying to get rest to stay healthy. How are we supposed to stay positive with all these pressures?
Let’s face it- Stress is a part of our day-to-day life and we must be able to accept the challenges and associated pressures that come with it, in order to continue to move forward. Some days we do better than others but in general, we need to find a way to be thankful for our gifts no matter how small. Being mentally strong and having a plan to deal with your stress is important.
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. – William James
The most powerful tool you have at your disposal is your brain and how you manage your response to the various stressors you experience. In addition to our personal stress, work brings its own set of challenges and stressors. As consultants, we travel across the country and deal with the associated stressors including late or canceled flights, rude people, uncomfortable beds, loud neighbors, and traffic patterns that we aren’t familiar with.
We wanted to share some of our favorite stress management techniques and links to websites that we’ve found valuable and hope that they help you on your journey to managing stress.
- You can’t control everything. Accept that there are situations and events that you cannot control. Identify the risks that may go wrong and develop a plan B. Having a place to start when things don’t go exactly as planned will minimize unnecessary worry and stress.
- Keep a positive attitude. In the middle of a disaster think of the good things that have happened. At Yellow Brick, we have a daily huddle where on top of sharing what each of us may be working on, we also share accomplishments, give shout-outs, brainstorm, and troubleshoot together. It’s always good to know that others have experienced what you are going through. This helps us to keep perspective and move forward.
- Time management. When managing multiple priorities and initiatives, take a step back, plan your week and day, set deadlines, and delegate if you can. Determine what is absolutely necessary and prioritize what must be done each day. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
- Get moving. Exercise regularly and eat well-balanced meals. Your body can fight stress better when it’s fit. Many of us sit all day at work. Schedule time to take a walk around the block and get up every hour, move your body, and get your blood pumping! I personally LOVE Zumba and look for Zumba classes in every city that I visit. it’s my personal goal and it’s been wonderful connecting with people across the country and Canada. As a result of Covid-19, many instructors have started live streaming on platforms like Zoom or Dacast allowing me to take a class right from my living room. Check out classes near you by following this link.
- Make time for interests and relaxation. It’s easy to get consumed in the day-to-day grind and forget about your hobbies. Make time to do what makes you the happiest. This can be cooking, gardening, yoga, visiting with friends or families, or a virtual board game with the family. Seeing each other on video helps make the connection feel special, especially when you cannot see one another. If it makes you happy- go for it!
- Develop a routine to clear your mind and take time to mentally decompress. Find space in your day to reflect and have quiet time-this can be early morning, mid-day, or in the evening. Some relaxation techniques that work for me include:
- Breathing – Begin by taking in a deep breath through your nose to the count of 4, expand your lungs and exhale through your mouth to the count of 4.
- Meditating – Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes and pick a sound, word or thought and focus on it while you breathe. If you find your mind wandering, you can say the sound or word out loud to help you focus.
- Grab fresh air– Take time each day to go outside and inhale fresh air. If possible, take your break outside and let the sun reenergize you.
- Get enough rest and sleep so that your body can recover. This can be challenging, especially when we are on the road and/or worried about something. Some of our team’s favorite sleep techniques include:
- Eyeshades to block out the light. Using these can also help you resist the temptation of looking at your phone at night.
- A diffuser with essential oils such as lavender, sandalwood, and bergamot. This can help the body and brain relax and a plus is that you will always smell amazing. Follow this link to learn more about the benefits of essential oils
- Toe-tapping. This technique that you can use to help clear your mind and move energy away from your brain. Learn more by following this link.
- If you are in a strange place, bring a white noise machine or download an app on your phone. This can help reduce the discomfort of unfamiliar sounds and help you get to sleep faster.
I personally travel with a throw from home, this brings that sense of comfort to help get a good night’s rest.
We hope these tips help you balance the day-to-day stressors of life. Be well!