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3 quick and easy stress-busters for your staff this holiday season

Posted by Kate Donnelly | Wednesday, November 25, 2015

3 quick and easy stress-busters for your staff this holiday season Many people love the joy and seasonal celebrations that come hand-in-hand with the approaching holiday season, but there's also no denying that this can be one of the most stressful times of the year.

In addition to the parties, gift-shopping and social events your staff members will likely be engaging in in the coming months, there will also be much more happening at your assisted living community as well. Family visits and seasonal festivities are great for keeping your residents' spirits up, but they can also add to the growing pile of things for your intrepid staffers to manage, increasing their stress.

Fortunately, while holiday stressors are inevitable, succumbing to the tension itself this season doesn't have to be. Here are two ways you can encourage your staff members to cut down on their seasonal anxiety.

1. Stop and take a breath

With all the responsibilities that go along with managing and staffing a retirement community, it can sometimes feel like there just isn't enough time to even stop and catch your breath. It may seem trivial, but encouraging your staff members to actively focus on deep breathing in their moments of down time can be a huge part of keeping stress at bay.

The type of deep breathing associated with stress busting is an active process that you'll need to focus your attention on. Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services recommended lying on your back if you can, and placing one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Breathe in deeply through your nose over a period of several seconds. It's important to ensure you're drawing in breath from your diaphragm, not just your chest - you can check for this by watching your hands. If you're breathing properly, the hand on your stomach will actually rise higher than the hand on your chest when you inhale. You should perform this exercise at such a pace that you're taking around six deep breaths per minute.

2. Reach for relaxation

Have you or your staff ever finished a busy day at work and felt like your whole body was tense, making it difficult to move freely, let alone relax? If so, it's likely not a surprise to you that stretching during the day can help you not just stay limber, but alleviate stress as well. As Jaime Longval, M.S., certified strength and conditioning specialist at Brown University told the National Women's Health Resource Center, stretching can have a direct impact on stress reduction, since it lengthens muscles and relieves tension.

The source recommended that you focus on your neck, lower back and legs for maximum effect. The best part about stretching as a stress-buster is that you can do it virtually anywhere, and it only takes a handful of minutes, meaning you can easily fit it into your busy day. Just remember to breathe deeply while you stretch.

3. The best medicine

It turns out the old adage about laughter being the best medicine may have a grain of truth to it. Laughing causes you to breathe deeply, pulling in more oxygen for your body to use. It also stretches your face muscles. The Mayo Clinic even noted that vigorous laughter can have similar physical effects as a mild workout.

And of course, it's worth noting that laughter also tends to accompany a positive attitude, which can itself have tremendous effects on overall physical health.