Earlier this week I was sitting at work, scrolling through my inbox. It felt like I had been putting out tiny fires for hours. My body was clenched, my breath was shallow, and I was feeling overwhelmed. Normally, I don’t notice these feelings. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I normally don’t interrupt these feelings.
Instead, the tension continues for hours and I don’t fully realize I’m clenching until I arrive home, completely drained, capable of only binge watching Netflix.
I’ve been trying to leave enough space (in my schedule and in my mind) for me to notice when I’ve fallen out of alignment. Rather than running on autopilot for hours at a time, I’m attempting to slow down, recognize when I feel stressed, and do something to change my state.
Sounds simple enough, right? But when the day is in full swing and you’re balancing 6 plates, taking a moment to breath can easily be forgotten. (I am completely guilty of this.)
I decided to start managing my energy the same way I manage everything else. Everyday, regardless of obligation, I schedule 2 breaks for myself; one at lunch, another in the afternoon. While I’m learning to recognize stress in the moment, having established breaks helps me to slow down. I give myself the opportunity to be flexible and respond to my situations, rather than running from meeting to meeting, task to task.
Below I’ve compiled my best strategies to release stress, change your state, and cultivate positive energy.
Dance Party : Even when I don’t feel like it, I start every morning dancing super hard to Beyonce. Nothing helps me to lighten up and loosen up like explosive dance moves. If you think you don’t possibly have time to take a dance break, consider every car ride an opportunity to jam out.
Take a Walk : Walking is free and accessible to everyone. This is my go to when I’m at work. Even without a ton of trees, walking around my office’s parking lot lifts my mood and clears my head.
Read a Novel : I’ve found myself exclusively reading self help and business books for the last few years. Then I picked up the Cormoran Strike novels by J.K. Rowling. I finished the series in days. Everytime I opened the book, I was completely transported, absorbed into the mystery of who killed London’s most affluent super model. Probably popcorn fiction, but reading a good book can help you get out of your head and ‘live’ somewhere else for a bit.
Meditate : This one had to be on the list, right? You don’t have to sit in Lotus Position om-ing to meditate. You can meditate by sitting at your desk and taking a few deep belly breaths. You can jump on an app like Headspace or Calm. Taking a few moments to breathe deeply, center your thoughts, and relax can be an absolute game changer in your day.
Get Creative : Creativity without expectation is incredibly freeing. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, there are hundreds of ways to get creative in your daily routine. Spend some time doodling or free writing. Maybe curate an interesting Pinterest page or think about how you would redesign your bathroom. Those selfies you are always taking? Consider them self portraits. The key here is to remove judgement and let your inspiration flow.
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