Whether stress is brought on by work assignments or another aspect of life, it complicates any working professional’s ability to best serve themselves and their companies. Following these five steps can help.
1. Exercise regularly.
It’s commonly said but easily forgotten: Exercise reduces stress. “We keep hearing about the long-term benefits of a regular exercise routine,” reads an article from the American Psychological Association (APA). “But even a 20-minute walk, run, swim or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.”
This stress relief occurs, in part, because exercise produces endorphins, which are natural painkillers that make it easier to sleep, and sleep brings down stress levels, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
2. Perform simple stretches.
In a similar way that exercise relieves stress, so, too, can simple stretching. For an article titled “4 stretches you can do anywhere in 5 minutes,” Michelle Simakis, editor of sister publication Garden Center, spoke with Atmadarshan, assistant director at the Atma Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. “People say they go back to their afternoons feeling more productive and more rested,” Atmadarshan says.
The four stretches outlined in the article are the triangle pose, palm tree stretch, spine and back pose, and cat pose. None of these stretches require a yoga mat, large space or taking off shoes, Atmadarshan says. What’s more, employees can do these stretches with their colleagues and clients, and they often end up having meaningful interactions with them as a result. You can see the stretches at bit.ly/2mSHfTh
3. Practice breathing exercises.
Focused breathing isn’t just for Buddhists and new age spiritualists — it’s considered effective stress relief by medical professionals at institutions such as Harvard University. When people feel tense, they breathe faster and take more breaths, according to Atmadarshan. “Deep, slow breaths are associated with calmer states of mind,” she says. “I call it ‘vacation breath.’”
Three popular breathing exercises are natural breath awareness, belly to chest breathing and rhythmic breathing. Natural breath awareness is focusing on breathing without changing it, belly to chest breathing is inhaling from the stomach through the chest and rhythmic breathing is counting breaths. For more on these three techniques, read “3 breathing exercises to help you relax” at bit.ly/2mi39NV
4. Manage time.
Without a means of scheduling the tasks that encompass life’s hours, days and weeks, not much can be done to manage stress. In a Forbes article titled, “Five Time-Management Tips To Lower Your Stress,” Liz Ryan makes the case that because other people can be hard to catch, one of the first things professionals should do in their workday is make contact with anyone they need to. Professionals should also schedule times to work on specific projects, she says. “Don’t wait until the last minute to dig into quiet work like research, report creation and design projects and don’t use your whole workday on other things so that you’re forced to work on your projects at home,” she writes. Read more at bit.ly/2mCYBCp
5. Go outside.
For greenhouse professionals, the wonders of nature aren’t usually too far out of reach. But spending large amounts of time in any controlled environment — even a greenhouse — can take its toll. No matter the season, the elements of the great outdoors help to relieve stress, writes Sophia Dembling, blogger for Psychology Today, in an article titled “17 Psychology Experts Share Their Best Stress Relief Tips.” “I try to be mindful of my surroundings, noticing the trees against the sky, grackle on a lawn, the patterns of clouds,” she writes.