Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Stressed, Overworked, Feeling Down? Try This...

The Christmas season is upon us and you know what that means? Yes, we get a little time off work to celebrate the season with those close to us. This time off work also means that we will be shuffling papers, crunching numbers, and pulling our hair out trying to meet deadlines so we can have a work-free holiday. These last few days before some much needed time off can take a toll on you if you're not prepared to handle the stress that comes with the pressure of meeting deadlines. Here are some great tips from Inc. Magazine on beating stress.

1. Bring a photo of your significant other or close friend.
A minute or two spent looking at the photo before you are "on" can reset your nervous system. You'll then feel more relaxed and confident because you'll feel more grounded and at home, even in an uncomfortable or unusual setting.
2. Play with a squeeze ball.
The process of squeezing and tensing muscles and then letting go--even if just using fine motor movements--drops your heart rate and makes you less nervous. You can also play with beads or roll stones in your hand; that's why playing with a pen helps many people focus.
The effect is based on proprioperception, the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation (and a word really hard to say three times quickly.) "You can eliminate fear by 'knowing where you are,'" Dolan says.
Playing with a squeeze ball is perfect for phone calls or webinars. In person, make sure whatever you use to ground yourself isn't distracting to others.
3. Sit on a very large yoga ball and bounce away.
While any amount of bouncing is good, Dolan recommends 15 minutes. "It's really fun, it makes you laugh, and it causes changes to the chemicals in your brain," she says. "You can't release cortisol and adrenaline when you're having fun. You release endorphins instead. That eliminates the fight or flight response and makes you feel more relaxed and confident. The effect can often last for a couple hours."
Sound crazy? Here's some of the underlying science:
  • Bouncing promotes vestibuluar integration. The vestibular system provides the body with information about space, balance, movement, and triggers balance receptors. Vestibular input acts to "prime" your nervous system to function effectively.
  • Bouncing stimulates proprioperception, increasing alertness and decreasing anxiety and making you feel more safe and secure.
  • Bouncing stimulates the speech and language centers of your brain, making you speak more easily and fluently when you're done.
  • Bouncing stimulates the reticular activating system, a neural mechanism that produces alertness and focused attention.
Told you it works.
4. Visualize.
Mental rehearsal is a tool used by successful athletes, performers, astronauts--pretty much everyone.
"Before you walk in the room, visualize a time when you did something and really nailed it, even if what you did doesn't apply to the current situation," Dolan says. "That will cause your brain to secrete serotonin and oxytocin, two chemicals that boost confidence, enthusiasm, and motivation."
You'll be thinking about what you're about to do anyway, so why not visualize exactly how you want it to go and how you'll feel afterward?
Worrying about failure won't help, but visualizing success can.
5. Breathe deep.
Deep abdominal breathing cuts adrenaline and is the scientific basis for the old saw, "Take a deep breath." Adrenaline can trigger fight or flight and also shuts down your frontal cortex, which causes you to be less rational and reasonable.
Two minutes of deep breathing--picture expanding your chest and your stomach, or what Dolan calls belly button deep breathing--will make you a lot less nervous.
Try one. Try two. If what you're about to do is incredibly important--and you're incredibly nervous--try them all.
The impact on your performance will be worth it.

Who would have thought that bouncing on an exercise ball could keep you from pulling your hair out? Now that you've been filled in on the secrets for beating stress, get back to knocking out your work so you can relax this year and enjoy your time off work over Christmas and New Years. You know you deserve it. 

Once again, thanks for reading! I'll be taking the next few weeks off the blog to enjoy my holiday festivities. I apologize in advance to those of you clinging to your seat for the weekly update. Perhaps I can squeak out a small post from my phone if I can figure it out. 

Have a great Christmas and a tremendous New Year!

ServiceMaster by Bell, Inc.
814-764-3232   877-214-1664

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Change of Pace

So for my dedicated blog followers, you may have noticed this blog has been primarily focused on cleaning issues. Today, I will take a slight step off the beaten trail.

I was recently asked to join a referral networking group. My first thought was "Wow, I have to be in Oil City at what time every Monday?!" While an 8AM meeting almost an hour away from home may seem a daunting task to begin your week with, it has proven to be a great resource and a vehicle to meet new, exciting people. The group consists of a variety of business owners. There is a photographer, a chef, a chiropractor, and a salon owner just to name a few. You might ask yourself, "What can these various business owners possibly have in common?" The answer is simple. They all want to make their business thrive, not just grow, but shatter expectations.

Each week we cover various topics and learn more and more about each other. Bonds begin forming and growing amongst the members, and it was not long before the referrals began to flow. Aside from referrals we also share business tips. Week after week these tips have provided a vehicle to get new ideas flowing and spark the creative genius in all of us. We have passed on tips and tricks from our own minds as well as the minds over at Forbes and other influential business publications and writers.

While I was skeptical at first, I am very excited about the group and encourage other business people to get out and find a similar group, or even join us if you are in the Oil City area. If you have any questions please feel free to send them my way.

As always, thanks for reading!

ServiceMaster by Bell, Inc.