When stress is due to EMOTIONAL overload:
- NON-Smoking Break – Go outside for 5-10 minutes, sit alone if possible and try to breathe slowly and deeply. Breathing deeply decreases your heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels. As it balances the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood, you’ll find improvement in memory, mood, processing speed, and mental agility.
- Brain Nap – Breathing deeply and taking a “brain nap” is a fabulous way to reduce stress and anxiety. Try repeating one word, like “peace” or “yes” slowly over and over. Each time a thought disrupts you, notice it and return to repeating your word. Even if you spend 90% of the time getting distracted by thoughts and emotions, the mere practice of this technique will teach your brain to better control itself during the remainder of the day. The true benefits of meditation are actually seen in all the moments you spend not meditating.
- Primal Break – Feeling the sun on your skin, the breeze on your face or the grass under your feet is a fantastic way to balance the cortisol and adrenaline levels in your body. We are animals and allowing ourselves access to nature resets us in a very primal way. You may find you have more patience and a new perspective on the situation, after taking a nature break.
- Quill & Parchment – Grab your journal or a piece of copy paper. Without planning or thinking, begin writing whatever comes into your mind. Give yourself 5 minutes to pour out everything. This practice often allows you to find clarity and focus by pulling subconscious fear and frustration up to the surface and then out of your body. You may find yourself better able to focus after doing a free-write.
When stress is due to TASK overload:
The Six “D” Steps*
- Do it now – IF it will take you less than two minutes.
- Delegate – Look at your list and determine what you can delegate. Then, do it.
- Delete – What can you delete from your list now? Ask yourself, does this truly need to
happen in the next week?
- Do Not Disturb – Put up a sign at your desk and/or send out an office email announcing that for the next three hours, you’re on a work sprint and only 911-level emergencies will be accepted. Then close all social media windows on your computer, hit airplane mode on your phone, and get to work.
- Divide it up – If your projects are daunting, divide them up into reasonable chunks.
Alternate between chunks you’re dreading and chunks you enjoy.
- Dessert – Celebrate your hard work! (Preferably away from devices and outdoors if
possible). Take a walk with a friend, go to a fun exercise class, or dig into an artsy craft or an old hobby.