Ways to Reduce Stress

Since the pandemic started last year people have had to make major life changes. Many people are now working from home and may not be aware that they are working more hours. The combination of increased workloads and the pandemic has led to employees feeling increased stress.

Here are 6 ways to effectively reduce stress…

1. Prioritize life – Having a to-do list is important but is often overwhelming. Instead, try creating a “Focus List” each day on the 3-7 items that must be done before the workday is done.

2. Avoid Tight Deadlines – When assigned a new project or working with a new client, set a deadline that provides enough time for you to comfortably provide your best work. Having too many large projects with tight deadlines causes burnout and will make you more error prone.

3. Take Breaks – It is important to take some breaks. Remember to get outside for a few minutes or take a walk to clear your head and get some vitamin D.

4. Avoid Distractions – Too often when we get overwhelmed it is easy to get distracted. Do not leave your phone on your desk to be able to easily grab it.  Track your daily activity on your mobile phone. You may be amazed how much time you spend on social medial apps.

5. Do Not Get Cluttered – Keep an organized space. Get organized and stay on top of the little things that you must deal with every day. If an email takes a couple of minutes to respond, it may be easier to just respond to avoid having a bunch of items clutter your to-do list. 

6. Stay Positive – Do not listen to the negative voices in your head robbing you of peace. Instead, stay focused on the big picture to keep perspective. Never be afraid to ask for help if the work is too much for you to handle alone.

In these challenging times, you must take care of yourself. At the end of the day, work will always be there, so do not lose sight of what is important. Set boundaries, stay positive, and stick to your plan!

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Take A Deep Breath

It seems like living with high stress is just an accepted part of the American lifestyle. A survey by Gallup in 2019 found that Americans are among the most stressed people in the world. I think it is safe to assume 2020 has only increased this exponentially for most people. If stress is not effectively managed it has an impact on our mental wellness and leads to increased physiological problems like higher blood pressure and higher occurrences of sickness. Amazingly one of the best ways to manage stress is through something you probably do not think about and take for granted, breathing

Perhaps Apple knows best

I have had an Apple watch for years and perhaps you have been mildly annoyed (like myself) when the Breathe app notification goes off. For the longest time, I ignored this but this is something I have learned to appreciate over time since research has shown how daily focused breathing reduces tension and relieves stress. The daily reminder helps me to remember to take time out of my day and do focused breathing.

How to Breathe Deeply

Below are directions from an article from the University Of Michigan Medicine on a simple breathing technique called Belly Breathing. It is simple to do and can be done anytime to help manage stress and to relax:

  1. Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
  2. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
  4. Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
  5. Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Practice Makes Perfect

Breathing to reduce stress is nothing new. The benefits have been touted for centuries by individuals who practice meditation, yoga, or Tai Chi. For the best results a recent article from Harvard Medicine encourages you to create a routine with these tips:

  1. Choose a special place where you can sit (or lie down) comfortably and quietly.
  2. Don’t try too hard. That may just cause you to tense up.
  3. Don’t be too passive, either. The key to eliciting the relaxation response lies in shifting your focus from stressors to deeper, calmer rhythms — and having a focal point is essential.
  4. Try to practice once or twice a day, always at the same time, to enhance the sense of ritual and establish a habit.
  5. Try to practice at least 10–20 minutes each day.

Aside from reducing stress, deep breathing helps us to relax, relieves pain, increases energy, and improves immunity. This is something we encourage you to try daily and let us know your favorite ways to practice deep breathing!