Stress Management

Stress Management by Dr. Robert Gerwig

Photo by Author

A small island in the Philippine Sea awaits near Cebu Strait. Shades of dark blue, aquamarine, turquoise. Brilliant. We are island-hopping. It would take several lifetimes to hop to all the islands in the Philippines since there are over 7,000 in this amazing archipelago. Today, we are only hopping to (between?) a handful, a fraction of the 167 islands that surround Cebu Island.

It is spectacular. “It” is the weather, the scenery, the wildlife, the food, the people. Especially the people.
This is a piece of heaven on earth. It is very relaxing. We hop between a couple islands before stopping for lunch (really a banquet, feast, or fiesta!). We dine on crabs, shrimp, chicken, tuna, rice, fresh fruit (the mangoes are incredible!), and the specialty, lechon, a roasted suckling pig. For plates? Banana leaves. I love it! Did I mention the people are wonderful? Smart. Friendly. Helpful.

After feasting on the beach under an “umbrella tree”, we island hop our way back stopping along the way to feed fish in a marine park. The clouds roll in a bit, the engines drone on, and the waves gently rock the boat. I’m laid out in a big, comfortable bean bag chair. A nap? Are you kidding?! I couldn’t stop a nap from overtaking me if I wanted to, but who wants to? This is paradise.

People, especially leaders, often forget to relax. To recharge their batteries. To enjoy life. To refuel. … Those that work with machinery know the dangers of running full out, all the time, no rest. Things break. Cars break down. Equipment breaks down. Machinery doesn’t perform at design specs.

People also require rest. You can’t run at a sprinter’s pace indefinitely. Without rest, you begin to lose your edge. Ironically, you become less effective as well. People need rest to manage their stress. Stress, to a point, can be good for you and there are times when you must run at a fast pace for longer than normal because of deadlines, customer issues, “problems”, etc. Yet, you must rest at some point (or increase risk of failure). Don’t overlook or undervalue rest. It’s “OK” to relax. To take a vacation. Or a mini-vacation. To get away.

Rest, if used appropriately and strategically, can help you deliver more and better results. Rest produces better health and longer life.

Whether you’re island-hopping in the Philippines, watching a sunrise, having a nice meal, or spending time with your family, take time to relax. Plan to relax. No, I’m not suggesting being lazy or complacent, I’m talking about building reserves of energy for the important battles we face. I’m talking about performance over the long-term.

You, and only you, can determine what is relaxing. I love the water, but if I were afraid of the water, then island-hopping might not be relaxing. I’d be thinking about tipping over, falling off the boat, getting stranded due to a faulty motor. Some people love the beach, others hate the sand. You decide. Figure out what is relaxing to you, plan some relaxation, and then go do it – relax. It’s an easy overlooked component of a good stress management program.

The island-hopping, food, scenery and the people were amazing! The stress relief was as well.

It sounds odd, but if you relax, you’ll achieve more in the long-run. Learn to build periods (or events/activities) of relaxation into your schedule.

What are some ways you relax?

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