Anytime you are overseeing a project, whether painting, repair, minor construction or major renovation, stress creeps up! Even to seasoned HOA Managers! Yes, really. Did you know that stress wasn’t “discovered” until the late 1950’s? Not sure what it was called or chalked up to before that, but it stress as we know it wasn’t identified and documented until 60 years ago.
Today, it is an everyday occurrence. And, as we all know, some days are more than others. Here’s our Top Ten List for relieving stress.
Listen to music
Calming music has a positive effect on both the brain and body. It lowers blood pressure and helps to decrease cortisol – the hormone linked to stress. So, put on some tunes, the calmer the better … classical, ocean waves, jazz or the “oldies.” Maybe even try some 50’s music.
If you are in a stressful season, by all means exercise before or after work. However, during the day when you feel the wave of stress come over you – move! Walk around the office, or the block. Get up and stretch. If you have access to a basketball hoop (or punching bag), give it a go. When you get your blood moving, your body immediately releases endorphins which improves your mood instantaneously. Since the music is on – dance. Dance like no one is watching, just make sure they aren’t!
Call a Lifeline
If you are sinking into stress, call a lifeline. Reach out to a friend. You can talk about your stress or just use it as a distraction. Sad to say but sometimes their issues make yours seem a lot smaller. Identify those one or two good relationships with friends or family, that you can process with. That quick reassurance or redirection just at the right moment can bring everything back to center.
When we are stress – as well as when we are tired – we eat poorly. Somehow we think those sugary, fatty, quick-fix foods will help. They don’t. When stress levels are up, adding blood sugar highs and lows will make it worse. Now your body is trying to ward off the stress and process junk foods. Good, clean eating helps control stress levels. Skip the burger, go for the salad. Pass on the chips and bring fruits and vegetables in. Omega-3 fatty acids actually reduce stress … now we know Sushi decreases stress and nourishes the brain!
Laugh it off
When all else fails – laugh. It is nearly impossible to maintain stress while laughing. When laughing, endorphins that improve mood are released. At the same time, the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline are decreased. Laughing literally tricks your nervous system into making you happy. If you can’t laugh at the situation, there is an unlimited variety of fun on the internet. Check in briefly, watch a few videos and laugh it off (just don’t read any of the news feeds.).
Skip the coffee. Skip the energy drink. These large punches of caffeine increase blood pressure and fuels your stress. Instead, drink green tea. With its healthy antioxidants and the amino acid theanine, it is a natural calming agent. In a stressful season? Try Kava Stress Relief Tea by Yogi Tea before breakfast, plus keep some on hand.
Although there are many immediate ideas for stress relief, there are also lifestyle processes that can help in the long run. If you are prone to stress – it may be time to reevaluate. The age-old adage of “Will this matter in 5 years?” is always a good perspective redirect. Take time in the morning, and maybe mid-day, to be mindful. Calm your thoughts and slow your actions. There are a multitude of meditative and mental health processes including yoga, tai chi and meditation, that incorporate physical and mental exercises to reduce stress.
Breathe, when all else fails Breathe
During stressful times, we tend to resort to short, sharp breaths. Shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing infuses oxygen into the blood. It helps clears your mind and recenter your emotions. Just like stop, drop and roll. Stop, breathe in and breathe out – slowly and deeply. Do this for just 3 minutes and you’ll find the stress has been breathed out.
Keep an active social life (and no that’s not Facebook). Play a sport, join a book club, or take a walk with a friend. Any activity that promotes eye-to-eye contact. This engages the right side of our brain which helps balance our emotions. The more we interact with others, the better our ability to handle our stress.
Just like eating poorly, we tend to lose sleep or restless sleep when we are stressed. We don’t sleep because we are stressed and lack of sleep causes stress. It’s a vicious circle that severely messes with the brain and body. Relax before bedtime and go for that recommended 7-8 hours. Sleep helps with a multitude of ailments, including stress.
Bottom line keep an eye on your stress. Don’t let it get the best of you or become overwhelming. Untreated stress can problematic in the long run.
But, stress is manageable. Have some patience and implement these useful strategies and you can manage your stress, whether it’s from family or work.
[Of course, we have to give a little self-serving plug here that PacWest Painting strives to remove your headaches, keep your stress to a minimum and make your projects shine.]