Four Quick Ways to De-stress During Meeting Crunch Time

Calm single young woman leaning back in chair at work. Shelf with globe, printer and notebooks behind her

No matter how well planned your event is, hiccups will occur.  Sometimes it is a small detail that is easily fixed, on occasion a big problem arises that needs to be fixed ASAP.

Self-care is a buzzy word splashed around in the media these days, encouraging us all to make time to have a de-stress massage or a well-deserved pedicure. These are fine ways to experience moments of calm before heading back out into the workaday world, of course, but not the sort of thing you can indulge in during a fast-paced event week when you might need it most.

Remember though, the important advice we hear at the beginning of every plane ride…put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. So, how do you quietly and unobtrusively put on your oxygen mask, so to speak, before beginning to calmly work to fix the problem that has arisen in the midst of your carefully planned event?

Here are a few simple methods to remember for those moments:

Acupressure—Kimberlyann Brousseau, an aesthetics and massage specialist and owner of Monterey Bay Bodyworks, suggests a way you can secretly practice a calming technique even if you are surrounded by event attendees in a panic.

“Using the thumb and index finger of one hand, firmly grasp the fleshy part of your other hand between the thumb and index finger and apply firm pressure. This pressure point can help alleviate shoulder tension and headaches. After a few moments, switch hands and use the acupressure technique on your other hand.”

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Focused Breathing—Brousseau also recommends using a focused breathing technique to help yourself stay calm while trying to work towards a solution.

“Breathe in for a count of six, and then out for a count of eight. You always have air on your lungs, but by concentrating on your breathing technique and making yourself focus on counting, you will shift your focus from the tension for a few moments and allow yourself to collect your calm and be a better problem solver.” Navy Seals use a similar box breathing technique which calls for four steps: inhaling for four seconds, holding that breath four seconds, exhaling for four seconds and then waiting four seconds before inhaling again.

Aromatherapy—plan ahead and pack a small aromatherapy spray in a roller bag for the tense moments that can arise, or for a treat to help yourself relax after a busy day in the privacy of your hotel room.  Escaping with your spray bottle to the restroom for a few moments can help shift your energy and mood.

Look for natural herbal products like Aura Mist from Kate’s Magik or the Stress Relief Aromatherapy Spray from Living Earth Herbs. Products that contain herbs and botanicals like lavender and sandalwood can give you that small self-care moment and help you stay prepared for challenges.

Sunshine and Fresh Air—yes, just like your mother told you on days when you were feeling low…”Go outside and get some fresh air.” Give yourself a few minutes outdoors to breathe deeply and consider how best to solve the situation. If you are holding an event in a place near the ocean, all the better.

Head outside for some negative ions, natural mood lifters. Sunshine is a proven mood enhancer and will help you stay clear-headed and ready to tackle problems both big and small. Even if your event isn’t drenched in sunshine, deep breaths of fresh air of any kind—fog, rain, mist, evening chill—will add to your ability to effectively cope with the situation.

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“Anything you can do to briefly shift your focus for even a moment can help you relax and be more effective,” Brousseau told us. “Once you have started to obsess over what has happened, stepping back in some way before returning mentally to the problem can help you proceed calmly.”

What is your favorite way to stay calm when a problem presents itself?

Jennifer Basye Sander is a New York Times bestselling author who writes books and articles to entertain and enlighten. Her most recent is “Churchill: A Drinking Life.”    

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