It’s that time of year again. New Year’s Resolutions!
We are going to run a marathon, cut out carbs from our diet, exercise for an hour every day, keep our inbox below 50 emails ….whoa, whoa, whoa, slow it down. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here! How about we take it one step at a time, starting with stress management.
As meetings professionals, we tend to have high expectations of ourselves and we want to do it all. Our day-to-day lives are about making the impossible, possible! But like everyone else, we only have 24 hours in a day, and setting unrealistic expectations leads to missed goals and unwanted stress.
Stress affects us in many ways, from the seen to the unseen. It can have an effect on not only your attitude, but your overall health and wellness.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can have an effect on your body, mood and behavior in the following ways:
While everyday stress is inevitable, here are some ways to manage stress and reduce its effects:
1. Physical Activity
Physical activity provides stress relief. But remember, we aren’t aiming to complete a marathon right out of the gate. Ease into a routine that fits your schedule and doesn’t add extra pressure to your busy day. We want to relieve stress, not add to it!
2. Breathing Techniques
Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation. Yoga is a great way to incorporate this into your day. You can even download the Headspace app for quick access to short, self-guided meditation sessions from your phone or tablet.
Laughter is the best medicine, they say! It relaxes the whole body and, according to Help Guide, a good laugh can relieve tension and stress for up to 45 minutes.
4. “Me” Time
Set aside time for yourself. Find at least 20-60 minutes each day to enjoy a hobby, watch TV, read a book or browse social media. Do something that brings you joy and takes your focus away from thoughts that may be adding to your stress.
5. Limit Caffeine
Avoid excess caffeine. I know, I know – you think I’m crazy! But, added caffeine late in the afternoon can have adverse effects on your sleep, from preventing you from falling asleep to affecting the quality of sleep. Replace your evening coffee with a caffeine-free tea so that your body can get to sleep more easily. Try ending your evening with a relaxing herbal tea, such as Get Relaxed by the Republic of Tea.
6. Sleep More
Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Reducing your amount of sleep due to a busy schedule can adversely affect your mood, mental sharpness, energy and ability to handle stress. Rather than reducing your sleep, try getting to bed at an earlier time.
7. Balanced Diet
Eat a balanced diet. Stress negativity affects your blood flow and pressure. Nutrients from healthy foods can improve blood flow and over time can help reduce the side effects of stress.
Use lavender or eucalyptus and spearmint through aromatherapy from lotions, bath bombs or candles.
9. Make Lists
Make lists and spend 10 minutes a day prioritizing that list. This daily routine will allow you to manage your day efficiently by completing the most urgent tasks first, and saving the more trivial tasks for another day or week. It is often when we have so many thoughts and tasks running around in our minds that we feel overwhelmed. Lists help us reign in our expectations, and checking off to-do items is so satisfying!
For 2020, let’s set a resolution to work on making this year the most stress-free it can be! What works best for you? Share your stress management best practices on TheNetwork.
Amanda Sherman, CMP
Manager, Team Member Events