The Best Ways to Efficiently Deal with Stress
Some years ago, I was working with a business partner who asked me for help on a very challenging assignment. The Client's team was under a great amount of pressure (their manager is now probably in a mental institution) and we had to help them. After long working hours, we would routinely take a couple of drinks at the hotel bar to let go of the tension. In some way, it was efficient and fun (my colleague had a lot of stories to tell) but it played havoc on my stomach. Since then, I worked on getting smarter about stress-management and I came up with healthier alternatives.
Exercise to Release Stress
Numerous researches point to the fact that exercising is your first solution to fight stress. A pair of sneakers should always be in your suitcase. If you don't like hitting the gym —understandably, you can always go for a long walk. It's nearly as good as a jog. Don’t try to be a hero. A 30 minute workout is far better than nothing. Keep in mind that the time you invest in sport is balanced by an increased productivity.
Unhealthy food increases your stress level
Unhealthy food is pretty much anything that contains a high level of fat, sugar, or salt. Here is a-non exhaustive list: burgers, pizza, French fries, deserts, ice cream, chocolate bars, potato chips, donuts... You can top that with most of the products in vending machines. The challenge is that the most tired and stressed you get, the more you will crave for junk food. To break this circle, make the time to have proper healthy meals and carry healthy snacks like fruits or nuts. It should keep you away from the vending machine and destructive cravings.
Keep Yourself Entertained
The list of activities to pursue on your free time is up to you.
My list includes the following: - Discussing with people in my close circles (friends and family) - Listening to music - Playing game on my IPhone (I’m all about Draw Something these days). Some games can even be good for your brain. - Read books, magazines and even comic books —l’m a big fan of the lather. - Playing with my pet (when I'm home) - Cooking (I'm fairly good at it...) - Walking, especially when I'm in a beautiful city. - Going to Art Galleries and Exhibitions.
I also keep a list of work related activities that I enjoy doing (such as writing articles).
Meditation is widely advised but not that many people include it in their daily routines. To be honest, it requires a strong discipline and patience.
If you've already tried and failed, here are my advices: - Find a regular time that you can fit in your schedule. Some people meditate better in the morning, some in the evening. - Try yoga breathing exercises. They are easy to practice as you can simply keep your mind focused on your breathing. - Use relaxing soundtracks. They make relaxation easy since you just have to listen. You can try for instance Paul McKenna or Paul R. Scheele, downloadable on iTunes and Amazon.
As a matter a fact, Consulting is not an easy job. Going through stressful situations is part of our daily routine. Clients call us because they have a tough situation on their hands. Be wise and accept that stress is part of your life. Keep in mind that a lot of positive things come out of the stressful situation you are faced with too: challenge, reward of wining new contracts and solving problems, meeting new people etc. Trying to eliminate all tensions from your life would make it even more stressful.