Take Good Care of Your Self

Because of the stress many are experiencing these days from the recession, work overload, and uncertainty of the times, I am frequently asked to teach Stress Management to my client organizations.

If you (or someone you know) are stressed out, let me suggest an outline for your consideration, adapted from Dr. Kathleen Hall's wonderful book A Life In Balance.

Dr. Hall recommends that you take good care of your SELF:

Serenity, Slowness, and Sleep - To protect yourself from rising anxiety, seek out your daily dose of serenity. There are many pathways to consider. Find one or two that work for you. Maybe meditation or yoga. Maybe a walk or listening to music. Perhaps prayer.

And if you find yourself rushing around and running short of breath, recognize the value in slowing down. Just as there are times for urgency, there are also times to take it slow. Slow down with eating, for example. You'll enjoy it more. (For more great ideas on taking life slower, see this TEDtalk by Carl Honore, the author of In Praise of Slowness.)

Be sure also to slow down enough each day to relax. There are many ways to relax and unwind. Get in a comfy hammock under a tree, if possible. (That's my wife's favorite.) Or try this 3-part mix:
1. a comfortable chair
2. pleasant thoughts
3. slow deep breaths
You will be triggering the relaxation response in your body.

And don't shortcut on your sleep. Research strongly supports its importance to your health and performance. And consider the value in a daily power nap!

Exercise, Energy and Engine of Success- Your success depends upon your energy. All of the above "S" ideas (as well as the "L" and "F" ideas below) will support the energy you need each day to be at your best.

Find a type of exercise that works for you. Walking is great. Park away from your building so you have a longer walk. Take the stairs. (Note: This is especially vital for all of you who have sedentary jobs. Beware the danger of sitting too much!)

Just as you need to maintain the engine in your car, the "engine of your success" is your own internal combustion system, namely You. Since energy is the key component, make sure you have plenty of energizers in your life. Energizers are those things (e.g. exercise) and people (e.g. a support group) that fuel, recharge and replenish you, physically, emotionally, spiritually. And be careful about the things and people (especially the negative ones) that drain your energy and deplete you.

For more great stuff on energy, see The Energy Project with Tony Schwartz.

Love and Learning- Love means relationships. You shouldn't go it alone. And in truth, you can't hope to succeed by going it alone. You need the support of others, especially family, friends, and anyone else that cares about you. So be sure to reach out to others, make connections, and give freely from the heart. It will come back to you many times over.

And set a learning goal for yourself. Maybe learn more about social media such as twitter and LinkedIn. Maybe learn another language. Whatever it is, keep stimulating those brain cells.

Focus, Food, and Flexibility - Finally, here are three "F"s for taking good care of your SELF. First is Focus. What are you after? Set a clear objective for yourself and pursue it. Share your objective with your others so they know what you are seeking and can lend their support.

Food, while obviously important to our health and energy, has another advantage that might not appear at first glance: It's a great way to bring people together. Consultant Kenny Moore has pointed out that the word company derives from "sharing bread together." You can create your own company of supporters by designing opportunities to break bread together.

And last, it's important to be flexible, because you don't know what is going to come your way. There may be more chaos ahead! Stay loose, and strengthen your resilience so you can bend and bounce as needed along the way.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Wednesday July 27, 2011


andy said…
A very good rule of thumb if you plan on living long. It's difficult especially now and days it seems everything is face paced.
Great information!

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