04 Jul Top Stress Busters to Achieve More Peace
In my 15 years experience as a project manager, I have had my fair share of high-stress level projects and non-stop work weeks. What has gotten me through those rough times? Honestly, it has been by infusing some stress relieving methods in my day. Consider incorporating stress management strategies such as deep breathing, taking a brisk walk, or visualization techniques. I’ll just go into two of my favorite ways on this blog post. My favorite ways to reduce my stress level are visualization and taking a brisk walk.
OK, so what is visualization? Visualization is imaging yourself achieving your end goal by stepping into the feelings, emotions, senses, and thoughts as if you were already there.
Why is visualization so important? Visualization helps you to begin with the end goal in mind. Think about visualization as a map: you’re at point A and are trying to get to point B, so why not try to think of the destination instead of the starting point? I use this technique even at the work place. I would often begin a project kick-off meeting by reminding the team to begin with the end in mind. My ideal time to tap into this visualization technique is either in the beginning of the day or in the evening as I journal and reflect on the work-day.
For example, while living in Cincy I have always wanted to run the annual 5k called “The Flying Pig”. All Cincy folks know about it and people from all over the U.S. travel there to be a part of the race and of course I wanted to get involved! Here was the little dilemma: at the time I was working for Procter and Gamble and traveled to Poland and Switzerland around the time of the race working on the analysis and planning phase project activities. I was running a global multi-million information technology project. The only reason I’m telling you this is so you can understand the magnitude of stress and pressure I was under. Also, this was my first time running in a competition so this was a scary goal. Visualization helped me to stay focused even when there was a lot going on. Visualization kept me focused, motivated, and driven to run the 5k. While in Poland, I would set the alarm to wake up at 5 am to hit the gym to get my training in for the day. My motivation and excitement ricocheted to the rest of my team. Even my manager got involved and joined in on running The Flying Pig! At the end of the day, visualization helped pull me through when I lacked the will and motivation to achieve my goal.
A 10 minute brisk walk releases some stress and endorphins (the happiness hormone) without taking too much of your time. Those 10 minutes literally works wonders and just by starting with 10 minutes you can gradually increase to a 30 minute brisk walk.
This technique helped me get through stressful project engagements and maintain a healthy balance. During my lunch breaks I would step out for just 10 minutes to get some fresh air. Those minutes felt like a momentary pause and assisted me in recharging my battery. Taking in the nature of beautiful Mason, Ohio I would just enjoy the sunshine, hear birds chirping walking along the path encircling the perimeter of the building. Sitting behind a computer enclosed in an air conditioned building for hours left me drained; however, taking a step back and observing my surroundings helped me to come back grounded and refreshed. I would sometimes walk alongside a fellow project team member, who wanted to shed a few pounds, and while walking she would share some Indian recipes with me. The 10 minutes of connection not only helped when we re-entered the office but, it established a connection beyond the conference room and built a lifelong friendship. The 10 minute walk assisted me in thinking of fresh ideas for my project and played a key role in reducing my stress. A brisk walk was a vital part of my day contributing to an overall happy and well balanced day.
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