The past couple of weeks I've been having migraines. Now, I've always been prone to headaches but recently my stress level has seemed to go through the roof and the resulting cycle is more headaches and I can get less accomplished, equally LESS productivity which causes more stress resulting in more headaches. It's a vicious cycle. Get it?
Well, because of this, I've done some research on stress relief and everyday things you can do to eliminate or expel stress. Yesterday I took a day off work both formally and client side for the most part and spent the day treating myself to recovery. And today, I can honestly say the results have paid off big time! I feel amazing! So here are some of the things I did . . .
1. Take a vacation day just FOR YOU. That's right, try to make minimal plans so that you can simply do what YOU want to do. For me, this was a little difficult, as when I finally decided to do this, I already had scheduled 2 client meetings and an oil change. The oil change I was able to reschedule but I went ahead and kept the meetings, they were with some of my favorite clients anyway.
2. Sleep in and then just lay there. I had no problem with the sleeping in part until my phone starting ringing off the hook and alerting me to new emails and texts. Yeah, unfortunately I actually had to get up. Take my phone to the other end of the house. Even on silent, the phone still vibrates ever so slightly and I realized even that sound of work piling up was NOT going to help me relax. By the time I got up at about 10 I had already received 4 phone calls, 3 client texts and 24 emails. After I had finally decided there would be no more sleeping, I went back, found my phone and made some calls, chatting with family members and catching up on things that were happening. Snugly under the covers. For me, that in itself was relaxing as I'm normally talking on bluetooth or earbuds while accomplishing other tasks.
3. Take a long bubble bath with aroma therapy and spa supplies. Now, obviously if you're a guy this is probably not on your list of "relaxing things". If it is . . . well, don't tell me . =P But for me, I took the time to relax, gave myself a pedicure and a facial and treated my hair to a leave in conditioner as I was getting ready to go to lunch with a client and my business partner.
4. Enjoy the sunshine. Yesterday in Tulsa was a beautiful Spring day, at 71 degrees and sunshine I was able to drive my convertible. The sunshine made such a difference on my outlook! Days like that certainly make a difference. If you don't have a convertible, consider opening your windows, sunroof or just go for a nice long walk out in the sun to get the right chemicals awakened in your brain.
5. Sing at the top of your lungs. This was something that I read during my research last week, but singing at the top of your lungs, whether in the car or in the shower, will actually alleviate stress! Try it . . you'll be amazed how much better you feel.
6. Wash your car. Did you know that a seemingly simple task, such as washing your car can be very relaxing and rewarding? It can. Not only will you be subconsciously proud of how your car looks afterward when you're driving, but there is something about "cleaning" that affects our brains. We expect things to be clean and when they are we have peace. Between errands I spent about 45 minutes washing/waxing and vacuuming my car I felt so good
7. Express yourself. As an artist, it had been a really long time since I've done any traditional art. So I bought some new small canvases yesterday and spent the evening painting. It was not only therapeutic and relaxing but also used an entirely different skill set for me.
8. Drink hot tea. Yeah, it may seem strange. But if you're not normally a tea drinker take the time to slow down and enjoy a good herbal tea or something a little stronger like a nice black tea. Yesterday I picked up Chamomile and Earl Gray.
I'm sure the list could go on and on, and we all have things we "do" to get ourselves back on track, but don't overlook the little things you can do to really set yourself right. Not only will your designs show that you are relaxed, but I'm sure your customer service will improve as well.