It’s Sunday night, 3 in the morning, and you are once again, up, at your desk, on your computer and or writing in your notebook. Searching, typing, saving, erasing, rewriting, copying, pasting, saving, dragging this here, moving that there, second guessing, saving, and why? Why are you in this situation again? Poor planning? Perhaps, and if you were to get down to the root of it all, it probably is a yes. That being said though, no matter what the time of day, no matter whether it’s for work, school, or just dealing with day to day life, we all have to deal with some form of stress. Stress can either make you, or it can break you. It’s the difference between a Da Vinci, and a piece of paper with a stick man drawn on it praying that you will get an “A” or a raise just for making an effort. Stress brings out the best and worst in people in all ways, shapes and forms, however like you, sitting at the desk with RedBull in hand, it must be dealt with and not get between you and your deadline. If stress is the kind of thing that makes you awesome at everything and you therefore love it (as there are those people out there), might I suggest you become an Air Traffic Controller? Could be your natural calling. But, if you are like most of us, stress tends to bring us down and make everything else seem either incredibly daunting or just flat out impossible to do. So how do we beat it? How do we conquer stress and still be productive in our day to day work, school, and lives in general? This list of 10 ways to relieve stress should help you in your journey to overall efficiency (without losing your mind).
Everyone always says that you should take a minute, breathe, relax, and move on. Although most of us know that this is just generally a saying, turns out there is some actual science behind the breathing to calm you down thing.
The whole point of breathing, besides keeping you alive, is to absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide through the movement of their lungs. Now the diaphragm is the happy muscle that makes that movement in the lungs and with the muscles in your lungs playing Robin to the diaphragm’s Batman. Take a minute and think about when you breathe normally, and when you breathe when you are stressed out. Generally what happens, same as when you are nervous, is that your breathing becomes more of short, shallow breaths and instead of our Batman and Robin team, you are relying on your shoulders for that movement which screws up the gases in your body (so…, your shoulders are like Jack Nicholson’s Joker when he gases the place; not good, NOT GOOD!).
9 This is so stupid it’s funny.
8 Go outside!!!
7 I’m not crazy!
6 Listen to The Beatles, and Let It Be
Sometimes, no matter what you do, nothing can help you. Your classmates are jerks, and you hate your co-workers as much as you hate yourself for getting into this situation, and their shiny new car. However, one thing has never failed you in everything you have ever done. Your music.
5 Change it up at Starbucks!
Normally, you get stressed in the morning if you are running late as no one in the office would like to experience your mood if you DON’T get your morning coffee. However, instead of heading to get a cup of coffee at lunch, try getting a cup of tea instead. I know, I know, it’s not the sweet blissfulness that is coffee, but listen: having too much caffeine can cause a whole bunch of unpleasant physical and mental conditions including, but not limited to nervousness, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, headaches, and heart palpitations because caffeine is a stimulant that effects the nervous system and increases cortisol along with blood pressure. FYI, cortisol levels being high and increased blood pressure is what causes stress. Switch to decaf, or even better, switch to green tea. Yes green tea can taste like lawn clippings, not going to lie to you, but it has half the caffeine of coffee, has antioxidants in it, and has an amino acid called theanine, which makes you calm down. Or, if you don’t like the taste of grass, then just keep a cup of water at your desk and fill it up a few times a day. This does a couple of things:
1) It makes you get up and go for a quick walk (like we talked about earlier)
2) Is healthier for you than all the coffee and pop you would normally drink at your desk (especially if you put cream and sugar in your coffee)
3) It keeps you hydrated which helps you think better, so you can focus and be more effective at solving your problem.
4 Plan ahead and get organized, dammit!
We talked about it before, and I know it sucks, especially if you are a lazy person, to have to plan ahead for the next day or even the next week. However, you will also notice that some of the most successful people (like Gene Simmons) who have gotten their crap together by getting organized and planning, and this cuts their stress down substantially. Example: Plan ahead and bring healthy snacks to work versus relying on the vending machine. Bring something like some carrots, celery, berries OR if you are literally going to be running out the door, an apple, orange, or banana as those are easy to grab and go. When we are stressed and at work or school, and we don’t have anything healthy at our desk, we automatically go for the junk food in the vending machine. Sure, the sugar levels are great for a quick pick me up, but like caffeine, it affects the nervous system. So kick that habit now, that and this will help you save money.
3 That dust in here is NOT HELPING!
2 Get those vacation photos printed
And then put them in a frame (even those cheap ones from the Dollar Store) and put them on your desk or on your wall away above and off to the side from where your computer monitor is. Why? Few of reasons:
1) It makes you look away from the problem for a minute.
2) It brings back memories of how epicly awesome the trip was.
3) If it’s a funny photo, it can make you laugh, which we talked about as being a way to relax.
4) It reminds you of how relaxed you were when you were enjoying the trip, hence making your brain force everything to relax too.
1 The best word in the English language for slackers in management everywhere.
DELEGATE! Awesome right?
It’s not always possible, but whenever it is possible, make the problem someone else’s problem. But don’t just pawn it off onto just anyone. You should learn something of the people that work for/with you and learn what their strengths are. You would not give someone a problem that involves numbers to someone who flunked Math eight times in school; that’s a career limiting move. Also make sure that you lay out clear expectations and clearly communicate deadlines to them and make sure that it’s a reasonable deadline. No one wants to be delegated to do a presentation on the pros and cons of market economies that’s going to be presented to the CEO with only 2 days to work on it; another career limiting move! However, not only does delegating take tasks off your plate, but it empowers the people who you delegate to. It also allows you the opportunity to develop them professionally, to see who is exceeding in their role and who clearly is not, and it gives your boss the opportunity to see how well you manage people, work in a team environment and see if you are ready for a promotion and or raise. And everyone wants more money so we can buy all the cool shiny things that make us smile when we look at them, like a car. Cause they’re shiny. So relaxing.
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