Breathe in. Breathe out.
Are you feeling the stress?
If you’re like most professional women, the answer to that question is probably yes. After all, you no doubt have a lot on your plate, whether it’s meeting work deadlines, attending professional events, fulfilling personal obligations, taking care of your family…or all of the above! If you feel that sometimes your life is spinning so fast you can hardly catch your breath, we’re here to help—or more specifically, IAW members are here to help.
From simple breathing exercises to healthy advice to creative de-stressing tips, our members know just how to conquer stress in their lives. Read on for some helpful suggestions from IAW members about relieving stress and restoring calmness back into your personal and professional lives:
“Women everywhere search for the secret to a stress-free and happy life,” says Monica Dennis, a Registered Nurse and Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach. Check out her healthful tips:
- Nourish Your Body – Enjoy whole/organic fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, and clean meats. A deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals can lead to depression and anxiety.
- Nourish Your Soul – Religion, yoga, reading, a spa day or nature walks. Whatever it is, do it!
- Get Physical – Find a hobby, get involved in community activities, bike, run, walk, dance!
- Just Say No – Over-scheduling, over-working and caring for everyone except yourself all can create stress. Know when to say no!
- Create a Nurturing Morning Routine – Set the tone for the day by having a self-talk. Drink herbal tea, meditate, stretch, restful thinking, etc. Plan to have a “good day” no matter what may come.
Monica Dennis is a Registered Nurse and Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach. She is very passionate about helping both women and men achieve health goals through the power of clean eating, herbs and meditation. Monica owns a holistic health practice, providing clients with customized weight loss and detox programs as well as motivation for increasing energy and stress.
Janet Lesley Powers, IAW VIP Member
“We all experience stress at times in our workplace, whatever and wherever that may be,” says Janet Lesley Powers, a Transformational Life & Leadership Coach. She suggests an exercise known as the Heartmath Quick Coherence Technique, which you can do at work:
- If you can, find a quiet place, or do this at your desk. Sit up straight yet comfortable, supported by your chair, with your legs and arms uncrossed.
- Focus your attention on the area around your heart. Consciously relax as much as you can. Quietly and gently slow your breathing. Breathe in deeply for a count of six and breathe out for a count of six.
- Continue to breathe deeply in that way, and continue to focus on you heart area. While doing that, think of something, perhaps a place, someone you love or an enjoyable memory. Feel that lovely, positive feeling.
- Continue in this way for (preferably) three minutes. Don’t worry if other thoughts come up. Simply notice them and return your focus to your heart area, your breathing and that positive-feeling place.
After the first 60 seconds of this exercise, your heart and brain waves will begin to resonate together. After a couple of minutes, you will feel calmer, more centered and able to think from a different ‘place’ in your mind as you carry on with your day.
Janet Lesley Powers MSc, is a Transformational Life & Leadership Coach. Janet works independently in the Washington, DC Metro area. She also serves clients in worldwide organizations via Skype and phone. Janet graduated as a Leadership Coach from Georgetown University, at the renowned Institute for Transformational Leadership.
Valerie Friedlander, IAW Member
“As an Empowerment Coach, dealing with stress is a key area where I support my clients,” says Valerie Friedlander, Owner of Inner Light Coaching. “Here are a few basic steps I offer to move from reactive to creative:
- Breathe! Our bodies respond to stress by tightening up and taking on a defensive posture, which re-affirms the sense that we need to defend ourselves and limits our sense of options. Roll your shoulders back, open your chest and take a few deep breaths, feeling your feet on the floor and getting yourself present in the moment.
- Consider the story you’re telling yourself and how emotionally reactive you are to it. Remember that what other people say and hear is about them and what I say and hear is about me. We all interpret the world around us through the filters of our experience, beliefs and attitude. Believing our interpretation is the only way to see something is extremely limiting.
- Find three alternative possibilities. This helps remove the blinders that have you focused on one solution, enabling you to step out of the box and into a more creative space. You have just expanded the choices available to you.
- Look for the opportunity. Shift your attitude by finding the opportunity. Problems are stressful, opportunities are exciting. This takes practice because we are so often taught to problem-solve but we have WAY more energy and creativity when we are looking for solutions. Look for what you WANT and you’re way more likely to find it.
Valerie Friedlander is an Empowerment Coach and Owner of Inner Light Coaching. She offers one-to-one empowerment partnership sessions and group coaching sessions in person or by phone, as well as public speaking and local workshops.
Catrina Zanotto, IAW Member
“When I was a young mother, it was hard for me to take time for myself,” says Catrina Zanotto, Agency Owner at Tilted T Companies, LLC. She offers this simple yet effective tip to ward off stress:
“When I get really stressed, I take a break to refocus. I like to go work in my gardens. There’s something about pulling weeds that restores my balance. I’m better able to go back to work and focus on getting the job done. It’s all about detaching from the stress and spending time doing something that you really enjoy. So my advice is to find something you really like and spend a few minutes or hours doing something for you. It makes going back to your job much less stressful.”
Catrina Zanotto is an experienced Insurance Specialist. She is the Agency Owner of Titled T Companies, an insurance company located in Sunbury, OH.
We want to hear from you! How do you cope with the stress in your life? What tips can you share that will help other professional women conquer stress?