Guest blog by Elodie Caucigh, Corporate Wellbeing Officer and Founder of REAL LIFE YOGA, who is going to give a stress-management and productivity workshop in the afternoon at the Campaigning Summit Switzerland on Friday.
Leading a campaign from start to finish can be strenuous as it includes many shareholders, deadlines and even more elements tbd and feedbacks to give asap. Yet in the most hectic projects, there are ways to keep a cool and clear head.
1. Time is yours
You may have the feeling that you are short on time. Deadlines, budget restrictions and more feedback loops that you had originally hoped for can challenge your timing and make deliverables more challenging. So what do you? Are you tempted to work extra hours, to skip your weekly run and shorten your lunch break? Well, this is exactly what will prevent you from performing better on your project and will add unnecessary pressure. Instead, know that even when time is scarce, it is still yours. Not only do you have the choice and the time to take breaks but breaks are beneficial for you to focus and to avoid making mistakes.
Start allowing yourself to take qualitative breaks, even if it is just 5 minutes to reset mentally and physically. You will see, this short time off is enough to:
. prevent yourself from making mistakes due to the lack of attention, especially when you have been working on an excel spreadsheet or scanned through your budget for the tenth time. Best in these cases is to get up, breathe, and come back to it later, with a refreshed set of eyes.
. gain valuable insights by letting your prefrontal cortex (rational thinking) switch off. One way to do this is by letting your mind enough free space to wander around. This typically happens when you go for a walk or look out the window.
So next time you head for a break or for the coffee machine, make the most of it with these tips:
. Turn off the stress alarm and relax by breathing deeply in your abdomen.
. Empty your mind to focus better with this balancing trick.
2. Know your level of stress
Psychological tension often starts in our own thoughts, more so than in reality. Now, ask yourself where you are storing all these thoughts and their resulting emotional charge. Emotions and other psychological byproducts such as stress and pressure, do not accumulate in our brain, instead they settle in our tissues such as muscles and joints. So if we don't attend to them by releasing physical tension regularly, they build up, settle in and ultimately transform themselves into pain and aches. So how to avoid this and make sure you won't find yourself calling off a meeting because of a migraine or a physio appointment when your project needs you most?
. Release mental stress and physical tension in your upper back by dropping your shoulders down.
. Give your body regular check-ups. How are you holding yourself while answering your emails? Are your shoulders cramped up to the ears or can you gently and consciously bring them down? How tense are your jaws or the space between your neck and shoulders? Can you find knots of tension there with your fingertips and massage these spots for a minute?
As you have seen, even in the midst of the most hectic campaigns, there are ways to withstand the unexpected and to avoid self-sustained stress, keeping all the calm and focus for yourself. Not surprisingly, it all starts with you. From your relation to time to simply being conscious of yourself, from your physical tensions to your level of stress. In this sense, keep campaigning for yourself and your wellbeing, this will make you and your campaign more successful.
Elodie Caucigh, Corporate Wellbeing Officer and Founder of REAL LIFE YOGA
With REAL LIFE YOGA, Elodie has developed a blend of accessible methods - such as breathing, moving and stretching - to help business professionals manage stress and improve productivity in their companies. Directly at their desk, with normal office clothes and without yoga mats. At conferences and in her recent interview with CNN Money Switzerland, she demonstrates how desk yoga can reduce work stress.
Her career in the high-paced advertising industry gave her the insight that employees worldwide need wellbeing solutions to be accessible directly inside their offices, when and where they need it most. Working jointly with business partners and communities in Switzerland, she aims to provide an even more complete spectrum of corporate wellbeing solutions, with the goal to set higher and more conscious standards for health at work.
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