“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” —Ovid
Today we’re going to share three things that can reduce stress of any kind, and for anyone. But first let me give you a little backstory.
Last weekend, I had brunch with a dear friend of mine. He’s the CFO at a production company and he told me he’d recently been very sick from an ulcer that was caused by stress. He eats well and exercises, and is one of the happiest people I know. However, when I asked him what happened, he admitted that he’d been working a lot and let things go.
“But I’m great now,” he explained.
So I asked, “What did you do to get rid of the stress?” and he told me he did just three simple things that anyone can do. And since they work so well, I’m passing them on to you. Check it out.
So we’ve all heard about the benefits of meditation, and if you already have a meditation practice, that’s great. Studies have shown that meditation improves productivity and creativity while reducing anxiety.
Here’s what my friend does. Every day at lunchtime, he does a 15 minutes meditation. His bookkeeper joined him in this daily practice and now there are 8 people from his company participating in this lunch meditation. (How cool is that?!) They use a guided meditation and eat lunch afterwards so that they are not sleepy after eating. This isn’t something that was organized, it just happened organically.
He says it’s like getting a jump-start in the middle of the day, and that he has more energy for the afternoon as a result, which in turn boosts his productivity. His co-workers must think so too, since the group keeps on growing.
2. 30-minutes of cardio daily
You may exercise regularly—or if you’re like me, maybe sometimes you do and sometime you don’t. Yet when you make it a regular practice, it feels weird when you don’t exercise.
It doesn’t matter if you take a walk, go to the gym or participate in team sports, the benefits from exercise are not only good for our bodies, but also for our minds.
In fact, an article from Mayo Clinic describes exercise as “meditation in motion.” As it turns out, the repetitive motion of walking, jogging, swimming laps—or whatever you do—releases tension. And exercise supports alertness and helps us feel better overall.
Talk about a win-win!
3. Stop working at a reasonable time
If you are a business owner, an entrepreneur, or CEO, it’s sometimes hard to get out the door. Or if you work at home, it’s super easy to keep working even when it makes sense to stop.
So here’s what to do.
Decide what a reasonable time to quit work is, and then—unless there’s something on fire—make a commitment to yourself to be done for the day at that time, no matter how tempting it is to “do one more thing.”
Studies show that there is an association between working long hours, fatigue, and stress. The thing is, when we only have time for work, we don’t have time for the other things we want to do. And that’ll wear you down every time.
Even if you are doing what you love, you’ll bring more of yourself to your work if you give yourself time to recharge.
My friend made a commitment to leave work by 5:30 every day. That was a big step in cutting back hours for him, yet he’s finding that everything is getting done.
Amazing how that works out, isn’t it?
The key is to be mindful of the hours you work, and to choose what the right hours are for you. Then make the commitment to yourself to stop working when you say you will. Of course you can change it up if you need to, but the idea is to consistently stop working at a reasonable time.
Handle Stress with Ease
Last of all, life happens. Maybe you can’t always exercise, meditate, and put work aside at a reasonable hour everyday.
That said, if these three things become a part of your work rather than separate from it, they’ll simply become part of what you do. Then, if there are times when you don’t exercise, meditate, or work reasonable hours, it won’t matter.
As challenges or problems arise, you’ll find yourself moving through any stress that comes your way with greater ease. And that right there is a stress reliever in itself!
Got stress relief tips of your own? Please share in the comments!