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Release the Stress: Simple Strategies for Overloaded Workers

business-1302849_1280I recently stepped up my workload and position at work. One of my co-workers went into labor a month early and is now out on maternity leave which doubled the workload for another member of my team, and I. I have spoken previously in posts about not handling stress well, it is a known flaw that I am working on day-by-day. My post this week I thought I could give you a list of what I do to help keep myself level both on the job and off. My hope is that if you find yourself struggling to manage your stress, you can implement these strategies and find yourself more calm, cool, and collected when problems arise.

Intention. I stole this from yoga – at the beginning of each class they ask you to set an intention for your practice. It is the same idea each morning I start my day by setting an intention. The intention or mantra can be a word or phrase, something you hope to accomplish or cultivate throughout your day. Throughout your day repeat this word or phrase to yourself, and it will help you to bring your focus to the present time and place. Recently, my intention for the day has been to breathe.

Breathe. One thing that does help calm me down is taking a deep breath in and then slowly exhaling. Just taking a few seconds doing that can help to uncloud your mind and focus on the task at hand. I wrote on a piece of paper, ” In life, all we have to do is keep breathing” and I taped it to my desk at work to help me remember throughout my day to take a few moments and breathe deeply.

Hydrate. It may seem odd that drinking water is on my list to relieve stress; however, a lot of issues can arise if you are dehydrated. I am a frequent culprit of not drinking enough water throughout the day. I either fill up my water bottle and then forget to drink it. Or, during times when work is crazy, I purposively don’t drink water, so I don’t have to go to the bathroom and stop what I’m doing. But, when I am dehydrated it causes irritability, sleepiness, and my productivity goes way done. So take some time to drink water throughout the day and as you drink, complete the first two tips simultaneously to get a full trifecta for stress relief.

Move. Even if you are just taking a short walk around the office or going to the bathroom, get up and move. Walking around allows you not only to take a break from what you’re doing but gives you some exercise to get the blood flowing which helps you think better. I will take a walk around the outside of our building to de-stress, and it helps to be out in the fresh air. I also will do some light stretches too which relieves the stiffness in my neck and shoulders from sitting at a desk all day.

Take a few minutes out of your day to try these tips and strategies to help you de-stress; doing so, could help with your physical and mental health.


Have a good week!

Abigail R.C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management


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The Gift of Being Present This Holiday Season

presence-615646_960_720Over the last 30 days, I committed to a daily challenge to focus, reflect and act on “being relational” with others. This challenge sponsored by the non-profit organization, Orans and lead by William and Louise Phipps – Senft, authors of Being Relational: The Seven Ways to Quality Interaction and Lasting Change gave me a lot of food for thought during this holiday season.

Being present, fully present with someone you are engaged with takes intention, focus and commitment. My life is normally filled with timelines, endless tasks and pressures to be somewhere and do something leading to checking things off my to-do list and missing opportunities to being fully engaged with the person in front of me. What the Being Relational challenge did for me was to focus on how I use my time, resources and power to connect with others in a genuine and kind way. It doesn’t matter if the person is a complete stranger, an acquaintance, family or friend, or business colleague. What are we doing in that moment with the other person to be kind, to connect and to relate to one another as loving human beings? Even if this means, we are interacting with someone that irks us.

This week is Christmas where many of us will travel even short distances to see family and friends. For some of us, we are under pressure to make the obligatory rounds in one or two days to visit household after household. Is this you? Rushing from one place to the next, barely connecting and checking the box of those we need to see showing we made a effort. And yet, what is the quality of this interaction? Here are my thoughts and my checklist of what I will practice this holiday week and beyond to be present, kind and engage in a genuine way.

Let’s look at three possibilities. Strangers, friends, and estranged individuals whether they are family, co-workers, neighbors, etc.


  • Pay attention to their needs. Usually, we know what is important to our friends if we have been listening. What makes them light up with joy? If it is talking about their children, then give them your undivided attention and listen to how proud they are of their children. Or, maybe they lament they have been too busy to wrap gifts. Pitch in and help them wrap. Your friend could be stressed and simply needs a hug or to simply hear “I am here for you. What do you need?” Extend yourself to be fully present, listen and engage in kind, simple ways.


  • Acknowledge their presence. We meet strangers just about every day. Think about it. We see strangers while standing in line at the grocery store. We interact with strangers standing in the post office line. We nod at strangers asking for money to feed their families. The easiest gift of all is to acknowledge their existence. I am not saying you have to give your change to the stranger on the street asking for money. You can smile at them making that human connection and even say Merry Christmas. You can acknowledge the stressed out cashier handling mass volumes of last minute shoppers by saying “Thank you for handling all of us stressed out ” Simple words of kindness go a long way.

Estranged (Family, friend, co-worker, neighbor)

  • Reconnect with respect. We are all too familiar with the person in our life that we are estranged with because we didn’t see eye to eye; they irked us in some way, or we are holding onto resentment. At some point, we have disconnected with them, and we usually have some ill ease when we are around them. We might very well see them as part of our visit this holiday season. The key is to think intentionally about how to reconnect with this person in a respectful manner. It doesn’t mean you have to reignite a long-term relationship. It could mean simply saying hello and genuinely asking “How are you doing?” and listening for a short while. It could also sound like “I enjoy hearing your laughter.” Or “It is good to hear you are doing well.”

Ultimately, this Christmas week and into the New Year holidays think about how you relate, connect and are present in genuine and kind ways. To learn more about Being Relational, listen to the podcast “Change the Interaction, Change the Outcome.”

Pattie Porter

Founder and Host

The Texas Conflict Coach

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