Stress: a constraining force or influence; a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, an employee, a stay-at-home parent, or a student, you have stressors in your life and you need to schedule time to relieve the tension or your health will suffer. Our society has reached the point where only the best and the fastest is acceptable; how can we take time off and “unplug” from our technology? We might miss a client’s text, an important email, or what about a phone call? It’s maddening. Years ago, I swore I would not let work or clients become a deterrent from my exercise, my health, or my family. Guess what? I did. In rebuilding/rebranding my business after 17 years, I found myself involved in this “insanity” again. I fell back into the craziness of it all. For the past several months, I spent at least 12 hours a day at the computer, hunched over the keyboard, taking every class known to man, doing everything I could to “land” new clients and all for what? Sore shoulders, tingling down my arms, irritability, and weight gain (after losing 12 pounds last spring).
I decided in the last few months to put my foot down and make time for me and my family first (after God) but what I’m trying to say is while my business is important, in the long run, clients will come and clients will go, but if I don’t take care of myself, I’ll miss out being around for my family and enjoying life, and we all only have one life to live! Here are some thoughts for destressing and living your life to the fullest:
Unplug for a few days – Your clients will be there when you return. I did this a couple of months ago for four days. I emailed all of my clients to let them know I would be out of the office for four days and if they needed anything urgent to please have that work to me by a certain time or else they would have to wait until the following Monday to have something returned. I really did unplug for the most part. I was proud of myself and I did relax. I do have team members so it makes it a bit easier but you can still make it happen.
Exercise at least four times a week – I am actually leaving my office at lunchtime and going to the gym to work out; swimming or doing the rowing machine. Guess what? The work is still there when I return and I feel 100% refreshed for the afternoon’s work list. I’m also taking off at 6:00 one evening a week (no matter what) for my Zumba class which I didn’t attend for over six months. Exercise lowers your blood pressure; over time exercise will lower your cholesterol and help you lose weight, or help you maintain your weight.
If you aren’t able to exercise 30 minutes at one time during the day, do 10 minutes three times a day. This is known as a metabolism booster and it works. I did this a few years ago when my schedule didn’t allow me to take time off for 30 minutes at one time (I don’t recommend this every day but once in a while do it if it’s all that works!). Walk in front of the TV for 10 minutes, run in place for 10 minutes, or walk up and down the steps for 10 minutes (contact me for more suggestions if you want). The important point here is to move! Don’t be a couch potato! Somehow, my husband is even walking with me now! He really understands now that when I move I’m less stressed. Last week he agreed to train with me to do a MS bike ride this summer. It’s a two-day bike event where we’ll train and do either 25 or 50 miles each day. Our friend’s child has MS and we’ll be on his team. This was kind of easy because he loves to ride bikes. Find something you love to do!
Laugh – Laughter gives us an instant happy perspective. Watch a funny TV show or movie.
Sing out loud/listen to music – Listen to your favorite music and sing! If you don’t want to sing then listen to music and dance and just enjoy it. My favorite quote is “Music Makes Us Human.” I don’t know who quoted that but it’s true. If you don’t feel less stress after listening to music and your heart doesn’t feel happier, then my heart feels sorry for you.
Meditate – If you meditate correctly, you feel in touch with yourself, will relax and feel confident. It only takes 10 minutes to breathe, relate to yourself, and clear your mind.
Make a list – I started making a list at the end of my day for the next day so I know where I need to start the next morning. It helps me take my mind off of work for the evening and I can clear my head for at least 12 hours or so.