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5 Ways to Practice Stress Free Living

5 Ways to Practice Stress Free Living

There’s a funny phenomenon that happens to me daily. It happens the moment a person stops and asks me the question, “How are you?” My reply is often one of the following, “I’m always well”, “I’m perfect”, “I couldn’t be better”, or “I can’t complain”. As quick as the words exit my mouth, I am usually hit with a whiff of skepticism from the questioner and often asked the follow-up question, “So how do you do it?” Well, here it is in 5 steps.

1. Get Rid of Stressors

If you cannot rid yourself of all your known stressors, learn to disarm them.

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Phase one: Ridding yourself of stressors. Often times our main stressors stem from the feelings we develop when we feel we need to or have to perform some task that we aren’t fully passionate about or committed to. Basically, we can’t stand unwanted responsibilities. Other times our stressors can be the people around us. Now, I am sure as you read these lines, you have already gone ahead and implanted that person or persons into this equation and that’s fine but keep the following quote in mind.

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” – Epictetus.

If people are the cause of your stress, then it may be time to consider creating some distance in order to develop better strategies of approaching and handling the relationship. It may also be time for you to reassess the necessity of the relationship. An important piece of advice to remember is that no task or person is worth more than your own sense of well-being. You have to be at your best in order to give your best and stress takes away all possibilities of you being able to be your best consistently and over time.

Phase two: Disarming your stressors. If you cannot rid yourself of your stressor(s), don’t panic. Learning to disarm them can be just as powerful. Disarming your stressors involves following steps 2 through 5 listed below. In short, disarming your stressor(s) happens the moment you decide to focus on personal development and work on yourself for yourself. A strong sense of self activates an impenetrable force field that only lets in what you allow!

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2. Think, Speak, Act, and Radiate Positivity

  • Think Positive and throw out everything that enters your mind that isn’t. Not giving in to negative thoughts of your own and from others requires faith, confidence, discipline, and the ability to choose the correct perceptual position at the appropriate time.
  • Speak Positive and don’t allow yourself to have or be influenced by your own negative thoughts or negative conversations, opinions or suggestions around you. Avoid negative communication and conversations as they have the tendency to effect your thinking consciously and subconsciously.
  • Act Positive (to do so successfully and consistently, your thoughts and words must align with your actions) and watch your environment and the people around you change or take notice. In order to create lasting change, you must be willing to model the change you seek. Modeling is one of the easiest ways to help others experience the benefits of a behavioral change without feeling like you’re reprimanding them.
  • Radiate Positivity because as Maryanne Williamson beautifully stated:

“When we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

3. Be Truthful

Honesty can go a long way when it comes to authenticity but it also works well as a stress reliever. If you really want to unload your burden, be truthful with yourself and others. Acceptance may be the final stage of grief but it’s the first stage of truth.

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4. Be Consistently Authentic

Being consistently authentic is being true to yourself. This is done through communicating your truth through your thoughts, speech and actions as close to you as humanly possible. It allows others to experience you for who you truly are and makes you more likely to be accepted, respected and admired thus increasing your ability to influence others positively. Being consistently authentic alleviates the often stressful and unnecessary belief that you need to live up to expectations or act differently among groups or environments, both familiar and unfamiliar. After all; it’s simpler to be yourself than it is to be someone else.

5. Be Grateful

If you allow yourself to take a more conscientious approach to how you view your life and the world around you, you will most surely be able to identify not only things you have to be grateful for but also things you do not have that you can be grateful for. When you can acknowledge the infinite amount of problems the creatures of this world face and are effected by in comparison to whatever problem or problems you have in your life, I’d hope you’d be able to find a few scenarios that not only humble you but cause you to seriously reflect upon all the things you have to be grateful for.

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Being grateful is not just being thankful for having or not having, being effected by or not being effected by. It is the ability to understand and grasp the big picture life presents to us and be thankful for our place in it. It is the ability to keep everything in perspective as it relates to humanity as one being. It is the understanding of life’s longstanding fundamentals and lessons that have been communicated and demonstrated throughout time and history. When you have everything to be grateful for, where does stress fit in?

Featured photo credit: Photo by: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Tyrone Robinson

Life, Career, Executive Coach & Business Consultant

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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