Like an uninvited party guest, Stress likes to weasel its way into our lives without welcome. Affecting our relationships, our work, and our health. We cannot afford to ignore it.
Need some quick, creative ways to cope? I did.
In a recent study, Event Planning was listed as one of the top 5 most stressful careers. Full of high stakes, high pressure, and high visibility.
It even leaves its mark, from time to time, on those of us who adore it.
So often I get asked, how do you manage?
Well buckle up, I am about to give you some tricks of the trade, 8 of my go-to stress busters that you could try right now at your desk!
Get a Giggle board
A what, you say? A giggle board.
Pinterest, one of my guilty pleasures, is where I keep what I fondly call my ‘giggle’ board. A collection of silly animal pics, amusing Ecards, and parenting hilarities that nearly make me pee my pants every time I open it, freeing me from the taxing happenings of the day.
Feel free to browse and follow my giggle board HERE.
I challenge you to not find one that makes you laugh so hard your side hurts. I encourage you to also make your own. Fill it with lol’s that connect to your sense of humor, sure to bring you out of a hectic funk at a moment’s notice.
If Pinterest isn’t your style then take screenshots of funny things you come across and add them to a designated album on your phone’s photo app. Make one the wallpaper on your lock screen giving you a giggle every time you pick up your phone. Make it the desktop background on your computer. Or print them out and literally pin them to a bulletin board.
Just find stuff that would make milk shoot out of your nose and display it somewhere easily accessible for when stress strikes.
Implement a Gratitude Attitude
So often the imbalance of work and hours in the day makes the vein on your forehead bulge and your shoulders creep up to your ears.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and start to silently rattle off all of the things you are grateful for. Write them down. (You can open your eyes first-ha!) Tape them up.
Don’t stop till you get at least 5 that make you smile…
The sloppy kiss my son gave me before school, the sinful cinnamon bun I had for breakfast, a frizz-free hair day, the picture my daughter drew and snuck in my purse, the kind gentlemen that held the door for me at the bank, my marriage, my health, my kids, my home…my EVERYTHING!
This simple act reconfirms my blessings and the higher power that is clearly at work on my behalf.
Before I know it joy replaces stress and I am reminded that this too shall pass.
Listen to the voice of OMMMMMM
I was watching Good Morning America and George Stephanopoulos was preaching about the benefits of meditation and basically shaming me into trying it.
I sat in the stereotypical stance, closed my eyes and waited for the miracle he promised. Instead, came more stress. Stress over what I could be doing instead with the time and stress over how clearly inept I was at the task.
Then someone introduced me to guided meditations on the headspace app. It not only taught me how to do it, but I could set the duration. In as little as 3 minutes, I felt refreshed and energized.
I have since graduated to a few on YouTube and recommend trying, 6 Phase Guided Meditation by Vishen Lakhiani. It is 20 minutes, the longest duration I can be still, and it is Ahhhhhmazing!
Exercise gets us breathing deeper, which triggers the body’s relaxation response.
Stressed about a pending deadline, go for a quick 10-minute walk around the block or the halls of the office.
Feeling overwhelmed by the emails flooding in, stand up and do a few jumping jacks.
Uneasy about a task at hand, complete a few effortless stretches.
It doesn’t need to be a 60-minute sweat to the death kinda thing. Just get moving and work that tension right out of you.
Find a beat to tap your feet
Music has a powerful link to our emotions and can be very effective when managing stress.
Make a playlist of the songs that relax you or that make you want to dance. For some that may be classical ballads, for other’s sounds of the ocean, Broadway show tunes, gangster rap, or all of the above.
I lean on the Amazon music app, free for Amazon Prime members, and without commercials. I highly recommend the Classical Focus and Bruno Mars Stations.
Just find your jam, put your headphones on, and let the rhythm take the edge off.
Doodle it Away
Have you noticed at store checkouts nestled between the magazines and candy bars, there is now a display of intricate coloring books? Ever try one?
Get out a piece of paper and grab some colorful pens, markers, pencils, whatever ya got. Just start to doodle a bit. Don’t think about it. Just draw.
There is no shortage of flip chart markers and highlighters on my desk so that is my go-to. May I also confess, I have no drawing ability what so ever, so I rely on little stick figures, shapes, a rainbow or two, and a couple of funky scribbles.
Regardless of the “art” produced, there is magic in those bright colored hues.
You can also find free Color Therapy Apps for download or search for free Adult Coloring Pages online to print right from your computer.
This nod to the childhood days of carefree curiosity starts to melt away the current adulthood anxieties, giving me the reset I need.
Handle it Softly
All three of my kids have THE blanket that brings them comfort. Rhythmically rubbing it on their cheeks will cause them to fall asleep almost instantly in my arms.
One afternoon, talking on my headset and frantically searching for a pen, I reached into my purse and grabbed a wad of items. As I found the pen and jotted down the notes, I moved the other items, some fleece fabric swatches for a pending project, to my left hand. Tightly I clenched them as the call commenced. When it concluded, I noticed I had been inadvertently massaging the swatches in a circular motion with my thumb. Gradually my fist began to unclench and I could feel myself unwind from the chaos of the call. It was not only the soothing texture but the repetitive action that had relaxed me.
Are you wearing a soft plush scarf today? Do you have a fuzzy keychain perhaps?
Sounds crazy, until it works!
Put some pressure on it
Reflexology is another stress-busting gem you can turn to on a dime.
Here are three of my most commonly used techniques for when the stress gets thick.
Technique 1: Use two fingers to massage the area where your neck meets your skull. Repeat in a circular motion for 20 minutes or less.
Technique 2: Firmly press on the spot in the middle of the palm until you feel the stress evaporate
Technique 3: Close your eyes and lightly tap the area in between your eyebrows with your middle finger. Typically only takes me about 25 taps before I feel at ease.
I hope one or ALL of these quick stress-busters grants you the relief you seek.
Please share your story or a tried and true method to add to the list…be well!