By Silver Rose
The Top 10 Ways to Prevent
Stress, Burnout & Chaos
I’ve been leading a teleclass (a workshop delivered over the telephone) entitled, How to Get More Done With Less. As always, we teach what we most need to learn. I’ve gotten just as much from leading the class as participants have received – maybe more.
During last week’s session, I presented the Top 10 Ways to Prevent Stress, Burnout & Chaos and the feedback was tremendous. People seemed to really like these reminders. And so, I want to share them with you. With a tip of the hat to David Letterman who invented this top 10 list format, here they are:
#10 Schedule leisure time & commit to it. There’s a reason it’s called “a break.” Use it to relax. Take a walk. Read a chapter of a book. Call a friend. But don’t use it to work. If you actually take some leisure time during the day – on your break and at lunch – you will find you are significantly more productive during the rest of your day.
#9 Look for reasons to laugh. Laughter is one of the greatest stress reducers of all time. I’m always intrigued by the statement, “A year from now, we’ll laugh about this.” I say, “Why not laugh about it NOW?!?” If nothing else, laugh at how dramatic you are being. In fact, when you’re having a fit because the copy machine is jammed, I want you to put the back of your hand against your forehead and, with a chuckle, give the martyr’s salute.
#8 Give yourself permission to enjoy what you are doing. It is truly okay to like your work, even if everyone around you is moaning and groaning. Often, we go along with the crowd to our detriment. You don’t have to be vocal about how much you’re enjoying your work. It can be your little secret. The more you enjoy your work, the less stress you will experience.
#7 Consciously slow down and breathe. I added this one to the list several months ago when I experienced the following: I was preparing for a trip. I was already packed and had plenty of time to spare. As I showered, I found myself frantically shampooing my hair as if I were in a rush. It was the Indy 500 of hair-washing. Suddenly, I became aware of it and said out loud, “WHAT are you DOING?!? Slow the heck down!” As I thought about it, I realized I do that about a lot of things. Do you? Do you automatically assume you have to rush? Has rush turned into the only speed you have? If so, slow down – and BREATHE!!!
#6 Relax your jaw. I learned this from Richard Strozzi-Heckler when he delivered a keynote address at a conference I attended. He was leading us through a body awareness exercise and, when he got to the jaw he told us that there is never any reason for your upper teeth to hit your lower teeth. I was astonished by this. It seemed wrong somehow but, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I have since practiced keeping my own jaw loose and I teach others to do the same. During a one-hour class I once delivered, a woman raised her hand at the end and said, “I came in here with a massive headache. When you told us about the jaw, I consciously started to relax mine. The headache is gone.”
Remember, the Law of Attraction says, “You attract more of what you focus on.” If the focus of your entire body, consciously or subconsciously, results in your being tense, what do you think you are attracting? That’s right – more things to make you even more tense!
It’s all about focus. Where do you want yours to be?
Next week: You will learn the final five ways to prevent stress, burnout and chaos and yes, the #1 way will be unveiled (so start practicing hearing a drum roll in your head.)