Entrepreneurs and busy professionals–especially women–consistently report high levels of stress in the workplace and at home. Our Spirited contributors share their best stress management strategies for kicking stress to the curb–and beyond!
Enjoy these Spirited Solutions to relieve stress from our oh-so-eloquent entrepreneurs and be sure to grab your copy of our free report, “How to Overcome Overwhelm in 7 Easy Steps!” Click here!
1. Tutti Frutti To The Rescue!
Nutrition is often the first thing to go when you’re stressed out. When you’re a busy professional, you work long hours and you need to remember to eat right. When I’m out and about on a busy day, I enjoy both the taste and nutritional benefits of NAKED Fruit Smoothies (I do admit I enjoy the brand name as well! LOL!). A fresh fruit smoothie relieves my stress and gives me the refreshment, rejuvenation, and mental clarity to tackle all my tasks and eat that frog without a bitter aftertaste.
Thanks to John Short of UNC’s Carolina Sports Business Club
2. Candles Are My Friends
There’s something hypnotic about a flickering flame–when I’m feeling stressed and there’s more to do than time, I light several of my fat scented candles (cookie dough and chocolate are favs) and the burning of the match and the pucker of flame lulls me into work mode and I get ‘er done! When my work is complete, I love blowing out the candles and really smelling the sweet scents float all over my desk and into the rest of the house.
Thanks to Alice Osborn of Write from the Inside Out
3. Calming Breath Technique
This breathing technique from yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the mind and body. It even reduces all sorts of cravings!
Breathe through the nose. Inhale slowly for eight counts. Hold the breath for four counts. Exhale for eight counts. Repeat for 2 to 15 minutes. If you find yourself short of breath, count faster. If you still can’t catch your breath, end the practice and return to your normal breathing.
This technique is so simple, but incredibly powerful!
Thanks to Jon-Erik Lido of Balanced Being Acupuncture
4. Self-Talk Is Self-Fulfilling
Self-talk is too often negative and produces a lot of stress. If you make a mistake and call yourself an idiot, a moron, a jerk, or a loser, stress is sure to follow. Set a goal to make your self-talk positive and empowering of yourself. If you make a mistake, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this, why did this happen, and what beliefs caused this?” If you say things like “I knew I’d screw things up,” it can become self-fulfilling, and create more problems in the future.
Thanks to Ronald Kaufman of Ronald Kaufman Consultancy
5. Quick, Easy Stress Reduction
Stress raises our breathing rate as well as our heart rate. A stress free breathing rate is
about 10 to 12 breaths a minute. Nowadays, everyone’s breathing rate is usually much higher than tat. But bringing our breathing rate down also brings down our stress levels and calms our bodies and our minds.
Simply take normal but timed breaths, 3 seconds in, 3 seconds out. In a couple of minutes your body will be breathing naturally at that rate and your stress levels will be much lower.
Thanks to Barry Maher of Barry Maher & Associates
6. At Least Tell Yourself The Truth
We use the word stress as a catch all for every challenging emotional state. We ‘stress ourselves out’ by saying how stressed we are. It is far more therapeutic to identify what we are feeling. Acknowledging a feeling helps it to dissipate. Saying ‘I feel sad about the loss of my pet’ or ‘I feel overwhelmed by all the work’ settles your mind and body. We often add to challenging situations by telling ourselves ‘I’ll never get it done’ or other untruths. If you’re doing this, stop it.
Thanks to Melanie Smithson of Melanie Smithson International
7. COUNT Your Blessings!!! Ask, “What Are 5 Things I’m Grateful For?”
Take a moment BREATHE and then ask yourself what are 5 things I’m grateful for? What are 5 things I love about myself, my family, or business?
Count your blessings. the way to ensure that more blessings will come your way, more sales, more opportunities, etc. The universe is constantly sending you blessings, Your job is to just OPEN THE DOOR. To jump start the flow, simply take a minute to COUNT YOUR CURRENT BLESSINGS! name 5 things you’re grateful for! Name 5 you love about yourself!
Thanks to Benson Simmonds of masteryouraudition.com
8. Move Like An Animal
Healthy vertebrate animals naturally pandiculate. They are not stretching, they are contracting a series of muscles and then let them go. When we consciously do the same and use our brain’s motor cortex, it’ll reset the contraction levels of our amped up muscles. In 1680, Herman Boerhaave, founder of clinical medicine noted pandiculations bring the muscles to rest. Isn’t it great to have a brain which can create chemicals of relaxation merely by pandiculating our way to health. Woof! Me-ow!
Thanks to Eduardo Barrera of Gravity Werks
9. For Stress Relief Take A Tip From Mary Poppins!!
Remember Mary Poppins? Remember the song “I love to Laugh” I would listen to this as a child and sing along ” haa Haa Hee Hee” and before I knew it there I was really laughing!! Stressed? Try Laughing at nothing at all.Close your office door, go sit in your car, any where where you can find a few minutes to yourself and begin. First a little chuckle… ok now a little harder.. now harder… are you laughing for real yet… are you laughing so hard the tears are begining to flow? Feel better now?
Thanks to Debbie Orol of Body Mind and Soul Nutrition
10. Take A Dog Break
Office dogs are the best stress-relievers on the planet! They’re always happy to see us. They offer unconditional love, and they can be downright silly. They motivate us to get outside, away from the computer screen, breathe the fresh air and give our eyes and minds a break. They teach us not to take ourselves too seriously, to laugh and keep things in perspective. And they sure do know the value of sleep…
Thanks to Joanne Ritter of Guide Dogs for the Blind
11. Accumulate Peace To Manage Stress
Successful stress management starts with accumulating peace. Otherwise, you just accumulate more stress. You can accumulate peace by taking at least 30 seconds out of each hour for stretching, prayer, deep breathing, offerings of gratitude, meditation or anything that accumulates just a little bit of peace. If you use your brief down times in this way, you will notice a huge difference a month down the road. Your energy levels and productivity will be much higher.
Thanks to Tom Von Deck of Tom Von Deck, Corporate Meditation Trainer and Author
12. Swim That Stress Away!
If you’re feeling stressed out, nothing soothes like a vigorous swim in a heated pool! Head out to your local gym that has an indoor pool. Grab that kickboard and bring some flippers so you can glide through the water. With each stroke, the warm water invigorates tired legs, achy muscles, and eases back pain from sitting behind a computer all day. Set a goal of 25 laps, 50 laps, or even 100 laps. Keep going between laps; don’t stop until you’ve finished. You’ll be glad that you did!
Thanks to Nicky VanValkenburgh of trainyourbraintransformyourlife.com
13. 1 Magic Word To Stop Stress
Stress, Anxiety, Sleepless Nights? Sound is the Simple Solution!
1 Magic Word, Just Say HU! The HU not only alleviates the symptoms, it addresses the cause
The HU Technique is simple and uses Sound. It’s called HU (hue) and goes like this—HUUUUUUU.
The HU is a universal tool that provides relief 100% of the time. It can be used for anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, clarity, and overall well-being.
3 Step Technique
Exhale while saying HU(hue) like HUUUU(silent or aloud)
Repeat 5-20 min.
Thanks to Nicole Sebastian of Dream Team Coaching & Divine Guidance Institute
14. Why Manage Stress When You Can End It!
We all know what stress is and how it feels when the “chatter” in our head says, “A future event can hurt you.”
Like a computer, our psyche has a belief based system that communicates to us through the “chatter” in our head. Our chatter knows what our expectations are and loves taking us into the future and beating us up with what if questions, we can’t answer. What if you lose your job, etc? Keeping our attention in the present moment, enables us to end these stress producing activities
Thanks to Richard Waldman of CoachMeRich
15. Adjust Your Attitude!
Keep in mind your body doesn’t know the difference between a real and a perceived stressor; either way, it reacts just the same. So one way to reduce the effects of stress on your body is to adjust your attitude by changing the way you perceive stress. For example, your long commute to work may not be as stressful if you listen to a good book on tape during the drive. If your child gets a C on a test, it’s not the end of the world; look at it as a chance to talk, reassure, and offer tutoring.
Thanks to Dr. Madeline Lewis of Deline Institute
16. Dance. Love. Breathe.
Dance. Play your favorite get-up-and-go music and have a private dance party each morning!
Love. Surround your work space with things you love, like your kid’s drawings, fresh flowers, an inspiring desktop background – mine’s a hot Mustang I customized at Ford.com. It gives me a burst of energy when I think of driving it as my next car!
And my #1 secret weapon? Breathe. I don’t care if you’ve heard it before – just do it, or drop and give me 20!
Thanks to Tanisha Rodgers of Shao-Lin Lifestyle
17. DESTRESS USING HOT BREATH
I can’t believe how helpful a hot breath can be.
Take 15 – 20 minutes to relax in a hot bath
with sea salt or inexpensive Epson salt and your favorite aromatherapy oil,
Lavender, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang are great for meditating . A hot bath will
help take away muscle tension throughout the body by increasing circulation and
flushing toxins in the body that can become colds and clears your sinuses.
Increase deep breathing aromatherapy is great for the mind as you
meditate. Enjoy and luxuriate!
Thanks to Kristina Marchitto of Massage At Work USA
18. Laugh Away Stress
Think of some of the funniest movies, tv shows,comedians, sketches you ever saw or heard, and think how much fun it is again. Feel as if it’s the first time you experienced the joy of the experience, and just start laughing for seven to ten seconds.Stress will melt away instantly, in 7-10 seconds of non stop laughing, as the endorphins are released, it feels like a natural high.Tension, stress negativity will melt away,instantly.You don’t have to be happy to laugh, laughing will make you happy.
Thanks to Frank Rocco of Altrernative Wellness Methods
19. Cents-less Stress
Allocate yourself a dollar’s worth of stress (put 20 nickels in a bowl) every day. Whenever something stressful happens, decide how many nickels you will give it and transfer those coins to a second bowl. Your goal is to end the day with at least one nickel left in the original bowl. The process forces you to determine how much impact you will allow a given event to have over you. You control the stress, rather than having it control you.
Thanks to Marlene Caroselli of Center for Professional Development
20. STRESS RECOVERY, BECAUSE STRESS MANAGEMENT IS NOT ENOUGH
ENUF WITH THE “MANAGEMENT” MYTH! Stress recovery means taking steps to recover from the detrimental level of stress that makes us sick & affects work, family or personal level of performance. We need to learn how to manage ourselves in the face of the stress we have, because much of the stress we experience is from outside sources& we can’t manage any of it, since its out of our control! Be the pilot instead of the passenger: make changes in ourselves& our outlook; learn how to breathe for recovery.
Thanks to ELLIE WOLF of BIOFEEDBACK & STRESS RECOVERY OF THE NORTHSHORE
21. Lesson From The Kayak
Kayaking is a great sport, but just like life, you need to keep your risks low. Keep balance while in your kayak just like you need balance in your life; be resilient when it comes to surprises like big waves of suprise; breathe and keep paddling; and have fun!
Thanks to Kathy Hoff of Kathy Hoff, LLC
22. 5 Minutes To Less Stress
We can’t stop the outside world but we can learn to stop our ruminating, negative thought where stress starts. Do this at your desk, on a train, or anywhere! Find a comfortable position, close your eyes and practice being mentally still for at least 5 minutes. Do not watch the clock or set a timer, this is approximate, if you go over, great! Calmly breathe in and out with your exhale lasting longer than your inhale. As thoughts and to-do lists come into your head, let them go and refocus on the now and nothingness. It might help to pretend you are floating on a lake or pool and your ears are partly submerged so you can’t hear or sense the world around you. I like to visually pull my sight inside so I am seeing the inside of my eyelids with colors that change like my own. Practice this once a day for a week and when ready, increase your time. The result will be calmness, clarity and a feeling that you can handle whatever comes your way.
Thanks to Darla Arni of Full Plate No Fork
23. 2 Quick, Go-to Stress-Busters
As a yoga teacher and ‘Get Unstuck’ Coach, I help others de-stress, yet “Um, Hello” I get stressed out too! I use 2 quick go-to stress-busters. Okay, the 1st sounds simple but it’s powerful: I breathe deeply; not into my chest but deep, into my belly 3-7 times. Number 2: I imagine myself somewhere calm/peaceful (usually a beach in Hawaii). I really allow myself to go there: feel the warm breeze, hear the ocean, see waves lapping at the shore, etc.). Then, I’m so bliss-ed out I can face anything!
Thanks to Rena Hatch of Stretch Beyond Stuck
24. Breathe, Baby, Breathe!
When stress-related issues smack me upside the head, I take a deep, slow breath because shallow breathing can lead to a panic attack.
I ask myself: Will this matter in 10 years? If the answer is NO, then I do what I can and let the rest go. If YES, then I take action. Example:
NO: Meaningless paperwork piling up on my desk because the higher-ups have decided that more is better, sans any real thought on the purpose.
YES: One piece of the paperwork represents a shift in the laws pertaining to my work. That one piece gets attention. The rest gets recycled.
Thanks to Tracy McGee of Isethena Press, LLC
25. Be Here Now, Do What You’re Doing
One reason we find ourselves overwhelmed with stress is that we try to tackle a full day, week or even lifetime at once. But the truth is, we can only live one moment at a time. You can only do what you’re doing. So knowing that, go ahead and release everything you’re NOT doing right now from your mind. Take a deep breath, focus your attention on the task at hand, and just be here now. You can be somewhere else later. Try it, and experience the the lightness that comes from your new approach.
Thanks to Shawn Ellis of thismomentmatters.com
26. Do A Self Vision Check
My strategy for stress management is to STOP and FOCUS! Do a self vision check. Close your eyes and breathe. Slowly open your eyes and look at the situation or circumstance that is causing you stress or overwhelm with a fresh perspective. Generally, things are not as bad as they initially appear.
Thanks to Terrinda Davidson of Light2Success
27. Get Yourself On Drugs Legally – Have More Sex
I’ve taught thousands of folks across North America how to reduce stress and one of the most surprising tips is to have more sex.
Of course any tip that produces results must have the component of altering the chemistry in the brain. The feeling of stress is a direct result of “stressor” chemicals being released such as Cortisol (considered the stressor hormone).
Conversely, the act of sex and all pre-sex activities release a myriad of pleasure chemicals that dissipate the stressor ones.
Thanks to JoAnn Corley of JoAnn Corley Companies, Inc.
28. De-stressing Tips For Mom
Here are several tips for de-stressing your life.
1. Become comfortable saying “no” to non-essential task requests from others. If spending more quality time with your family is your goal, then taking time away from them to raise funds for a non-profit organization may need to wait for another time in your life.
2. Learn to delegate effectively. Do you have a secretary at work who can absorb some of your excess work? Can you hire a nanny or babysitter to spend time with your children and have her pick up some of the extra slack at home? Are your children old enough that they can be tasked with cleaning their own rooms?
3. Use time management techniques. Is there a more efficient way to handle your tasks? (For example, do you really need to get a few groceries every day, or can you make a list and shop once a week?) Can tasks be more effectively performed at a different time? (For example, there is benefit in having the children choose their Tuesday school clothes on Monday evening.)
4. Find humor in things that don’t quite go right. If you can take lightly both your successes and your failures, life will be less stressful.
Thanks to Candi Wingate of Nannies4hire.com
29. Get A Quick Mood Boost With Dancing
My best way to stress down, get better focus and relax is to put on a really good song, dance like a fool for as long as it lasts and then get back to work. Come on, if you’re working from home no one is watching! This gets your heartbeat up, your body gets variation from sitting by the laptop and you get a free mood boost. It’s difficult to feel stressed when you’re having a 5 minute disco at 11am and you get some exercise done too.
Thanks to Isabelle Fredborg of Solopreneur’s Toolbox
30. Have You Breathed Yet Today?
Yeah, I know, you’d be dead if you hadn’t, but I’m talking about purposeful, deep, measured breathing — seven seconds in, seven seconds out. (You can use heartbeats if you can feel yours.) My clients tell me (the few who really take it to heart and practice it) that 20 minutes is the most effective thing to stave off anxiety–better even than drugs for anxiety. One guy swore by three such breaths for anger! I love it when reality confirms the research.
Thanks to Arla Caraboolad of Arla Caraboolad MFT, CFLE