Recently, there has been a renewed focus on the amount of stress we are under, what it does to our bodies, and how much time we are (or are not) taking for rest and relaxation. My Feedly, LinkedIn Home Page and favorite news sites have new articles each day on tension, happiness, productivity, and rest.
It does not takes much convincing to make one believe that we all live busy lives. My coworkers here at Shelton Interactive are parents, grad school students, marathon runners, and members of extracurricular organizations, all in addition to working full time. Our wonderful clients are balancing work, family, book writing, blogging, and starting new companies, just to name a few.
All of the articles I see are talking about this busyness. They serve as great reminders to actually stop and combat the pressure caused by my drive to work and constantly be productive. But, the question is no longer whether or not I should manage the stress in my life; the question is, “Where do I begin?”
Everyone seems to have his or her own take on how to cope with the urgency of our world. Some recommendations I’ve seen are meditation, kickboxing, or a month-long fast from the Internet (yeah, right!). Some advice is unique, while other advice is repeated, and sometimes the different pieces of advice outright contradict one another. However you choose to go about it, the shared conclusion is that we all need to take time to disconnect and recharge. But, which method of renewal is best for you?
After reading many different articles, and trying out various pieces of advice, I found that these factors will all have to be considered when answering, “How do I deal?”
1. It can be done frequently.
- You should be able to do this at least every other day, if not daily.
2. It makes you feel focused.
- You can feel focused by limiting the number of stimuli to one or two things.
3. There are no expectations.
- No one is asking anything of you, you don’t feel hurried (unless running sprints is your happy place) and there is no pressure.
1. Time of day.
- In this Fast Company article, Paul DeJoe says that he finds contentment and balance in waking up early. How early? 4 a.m. early. Other great times are during your lunch break or at the end of the day.
2. Level of productivity.
- Some of us are like DeJoe who, in his Fast Company article, says that he likes a place of “productive peace.” This may include cooking breakfast, exercising, or playing guitar. Others need to be completely still and seek out activities such as meditation or watching the sunrise. Either way, the activity should produce an inner peace.
3. Level of energy.
- Do you find renewal through high levels of exertion or using minimal amounts of energy? JC Deen, a fitness professional and writer, challenges his readers to meditate daily. He says that he has “not experienced this much joy with my work in a very long time,” all because of meditation. On the other hand, there are numerous articles proving that exercise is as beneficial mentally as it is physically.
So, how do I take a step back in order to recharge and fuel myself for another day in the world of social media? My two methods are waking up early and swimming. I like to wake up with enough time to walk my dog, get ready slowly, and cook myself a great breakfast. In the evenings, I like to swim. The pool is one of the only places I go where I am forced to not have my phone because, unfortunately, my phone has become like another limb.
What do you do release stress and experience moments of fulfillment and renewed focus?