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Keeping Stress in Check

Keep Stress In Check

In our last blog, we focused on providing breathing techniques that can really make a difference when you’re trying to recenter amongst all the noise that exists right now. This blog covers more ways to create calm, enhance your focus, and survive even the busiest day with your sense of self intact to keep stress in check.

 

Don’t Tax Your Own Systems

Stress is natural, especially when the pressure is on and you’re in the trenches. Liscio customers tend to feel less stress because clients respond quickly, allowing them to get more done with less chasing (plus security worries vanish as well).  Regardless of how you are getting your clients to send their documents, the deadlines imposed by the IRS and the sheer volume of work you have to push through the pipes at this time of year can cause stress to pile up. 

When the stress is on, there are some simple ways you can alleviate those pressures and feel more at ease. Let’s look at a few of them.

 

These “Go to 11”

Did you recognize the movie reference? Well, if not, you’re missing out. (Hint – it’s Spinal Tap – a classic). 

The power of music is undeniable.  It can completely change the atmosphere around you. It can modify your mood and can even make you more productive. 

Researchers at Stanford University have found that “listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication.” 

Read that again. 

Literal vibrations registering on your eardrum and being carried to your brain can have effects on you not unlike some medications. 

That’s potent.

Upbeat music will make you feel more optimistic, while slower music can calm you down. Faster music can actually help you focus more.

Important here, though, is to pick something you like. If you force yourself to listen to music you don’t care for, you probably won’t get the effect you are looking for. 

If you are feeling a bit anxious or on edge, find something soothing, put the headphones in, turn it up to 11, and relax. Let those tunes adjust your brainwaves for a few minutes. Just exist for a while. 

While you are searching for some music that might be on the chill side to soothe those anxious nerves, we might suggest anything by Sigur Ros. Unless you speak Icelandic, you probably won’t understand what’s being said, but you won’t need to. It’s really soothing stuff.

 

Walk Out

NO!! Not like that. 

Go for a quick 15 minute walk then come back to your desk refreshed. 

Walking has been shown to help improve your mental state, and to lower levels of anxiety, depression, and negative mood. It also boosts energy in some cases more than a cup of coffee, according to at least one study. 

The brain-body connection, and the clarity therein, can be improved and lead to higher levels of creative thinking – just by taking a walk. Walking outdoors while trying to come up with new ideas has been studied to find an increase over simply sitting down while thinking. 

When things are really tense and you are feeling stretched, consider taking a step back and put one foot in front of the other.  Sometimes, walking it out is all you need to keep your stress in check.

Look Away!

Seriously. Stop looking at this screen. Well, finish reading this, then stop looking. 

Screens are great, until they aren’t. Sure, they make us more productive. They are how the world works, but staring at them all day can be detrimental to all sorts of body systems. Terrifying is the fact that studies have found that doctors are seeing more prolonged enlarged pupils, also known as “defocus” according to Dr. Glen Steele.  

There’s this rule, the 20-20-20 rule, that is aimed at helping relieve some of the inherent stress that comes from staring at a screen for long periods of time. It goes like this.

Every 20 minutes of looking at a screen, you should look away at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a breath, so to say. 

Another simple way to help your peepers out is to simply get up for 5-10 minutes each hour. Go for a short walk (sounds familiar). Talk to a colleague. Shadowbox in the restroom. Pet a furry friend (if you’re lucky enough to have one around)…anything that isn’t screen oriented works. 

If you’re finding it hard to break away from the screen, here are two tips to help. Increasing your font size or magnification, per your specific device, can relieve strain while looking at whatever screen you’re gazing at. The other is using a screen darkening extension (Dark Reader for Chrome is our favorite) to invert dark and light colors. This has made a huge difference for us. These are just some good things to do in general.

 

If You’re Feeling Stretched Thin, This Section is For You

We’ve included stretching in this blog here at the end because it’s an easy one that can enhance the others listed above. Feel free to use them as standalone exercises, or incorporate them into some of the aforementioned things above to supercharge your stress-lowering techniques. You really can’t go wrong here. 

 

The forward fold

Our next stretch one can be done sitting down or standing up. You feel it differently in both positions, so try each of them. 

First, the standing version has you upright with your feet apart. Slightly bend your knees and allow your body to kinda-sorta collapse at the waist down. Don’t fall to the floor. That’s called a nap, and while those are AWESOME, that’s not what we’re going for here. 

Bent at the waist and dangling toward the floor, sway side to side slowly feeling the stretch in your arms, shoulders, and lower back. If you want to take this to the next level, fold your arms behind your neck and pull on your elbow. Do this on both sides. You’ll feel an extra-awesome stretch down your arm into your side. 

When you’re ready, slowly roll back up to standing normally. 

The sitting version is basically the same, but you’re, you know…sitting. You won’t get as much of a shoulder and arm stretch, but your lower back will feel this one a bit more. 

 

Chest stretch

Stand up for this one. This one is really simple, but it can’t be done while seated. 

Reach your hands behind you and clasp them at the small of your back. Pull your shoulder blades together and lift your hands as high as you can. 

Once you’ve reached maximum height, try to hold your arms there for five breaths. Feel free to modify this by raising and lowering your arms while you breathe in and out slowly.

To take this one to the next level, try bending at your waist as you raise your arms. This will allow gravity to do some work and add a few extra muscle groups into the stretch. 

 

Upper trap stretch

Finally, the last stretch can be done sitting or standing. Get comfortable! This one is easy.

Tilt your head to one shoulder as if you’re trying to get your ear to rest there. Go as far as you’re comfortable with there. Hold this stretch for five breaths, then do the same thing on the other side. 

For a next level version (and only if you’re comfortable with it) is during the tilt, gently pull your head toward that shoulder with your hand. If you weren’t feeling it in the first version, this one is sure to engage the muscles in your neck, shoulder, and upper arm. 

All of these simple stretches can be done while your favorite tunes are playing, while you’re out for a walk, or just simply getting a cup of coffee. 

In Closing

Here at Liscio, we put a lot of effort into helping you have more joyous work days and we are invested in helping you feel rejuvenated at your core. We know your job is hard, and we’re here rooting for you. Always!

 

Liscio offers tools that can make you more efficient which can give you hours of your time back. If you feel like client response times and secure document exchange could help your business flow, check out a free demo to see what we have to offer. It won’t cost you a dime, but it could be one of the best things you do in business that has a huge payoff in your personal time and sense of security. 

 


Liscio gives back!  For every demo we conduct, we donate 10 nourishing meals to children in need.  For every new firm that signs up with Liscio, we fund 30 days of education for children in the world.  Learn more here.