Whether you’re an entrepreneur like myself or working in Corporate America, chances are you are no stranger to stress. For many of us, 55% to be exact, stress is a daily occurrence. While it’s common, it’s not something to be taken lightly, especially in this challenging year as nearly 8 in 10 adults (78%) say the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their life.
Working remotely is no help. It’s offering us less movement than we’re used to (walking around the office floor, stepping out to lunch) and less stillness than we’re used to (remember your 30 minute commute where you read your favorite book, listened to your favorite podcast, or just sat quietly in peace?). As much as we try, our current reality makes it extremely difficult to step away from work and have those natural moments of movement and stillness that gave us much-needed mental and physical breaks throughout the day, and not having those moments has pushed our stress levels to the limit.
So, while we can’t change our remote work environment, at least for the unforeseeable future, how can we manage stress before it continues to affect our work – and our lives?
I started by chatting with Melanie Weller, trained Physical Therapist, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, and Certified Athletic Trainer to give us some insights. Melanie specializes in decompressing the vagus nerve, a nerve responsible for bridging our stories and our physical experience in the body, and for countering our fight or flight response. Her work involves helping her patients identify where their stress is coming from and how it shows up in the body, whether it’s headaches, foot pain, digestive issues, etc., and teaching them actionable steps to manage it.
Here are some of our tips for managing high stress, particularly in this year:
- Find Movement – Whenever possible, take walking meetings. Zoom has made it harder to leave the computer, but when possible, I request good old fashion phone calls so I can take a walk outside on a nice day or on my treadmill on a rainy day. By the end I feel great because my blood has been moving. Any movement is medicine for the mind.
- Find Stillness – We all have two minutes. Grab your favorite meditation app and take a quick break as you feel stress build through the day. Stilling the mind through breath (which is all meditation really is) will reel you back into reality and help your brain from spiraling, saving the body from unnecessary manifested tension.
- Find a Body Language of Your Own – In my conversation with Melanie, she explains that stress impacts our bodies so much that 75-90% of illness and disease is caused by none other than stress! To manage this, test out how your body and mind react to certain choices you make and activities you do throughout your day. How do you feel when you wear your favorite shirt vs. when you choose something else? Does it make you feel negative? Starting with simple things like this can help you learn your own behaviors so you know how to mitigate stress when it happens.
Something so complex is really so simple! Listen to my full conversation with Melanie on The Going Beyond Podcast for even more insight, guidance and inspiration from a true expert. Click the link below or head over to your preferred podcast platform!
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