'New year, new me', a phrase that sounds off in the digital space and IRL for people for everything from eating, drinking and fitness to jobs, family, and even stress management. Resolutions may not be your thing, but finding a new way to handle stress might help you solve more problems than you think.

2018 is the year of the dog, predicting an exhausting but fulfilling year overall. While the rule of thumb is that hard work = more money, this year is predicted to be a very successful financial year. Now wouldn't it be nice if that came as easy as it was to read? As per regular zodiac rules, the good news doesn't come without the bad, meaning the financial success is an option but it may take a little toll on overall health. While increased finances sound great, poor health and exhaustion don't sound quite as thrilling.

Though you should always take zodiac predictions with a grain of salt, you CAN use the following five de-stress techniques this year and beyond to stay calm and collected no matter what year it is.

  1. Breathe. Working at a creative agency has its ups and downs, some days are easier than others but when the stuff hits the fan - it can be chaos with a capital 'C'. Many people on the team are regular yogis, and practice the art of mindful breathing. Though this is tricky at first, pausing everything for just a moment to breathe in and breathe out can truly bring focus and realign the issue. Will that take away the problem completely? Of course not. But it can put the problem(s) into perspective and turn the mountain back into a molehill.
  2. Move. Jump, run, dance, walk up and down the stairs, get upside down even! Pick your poison, but get some blood pumping. At EMB, Twister is the current office movement of choice. Studies show getting the blood moving can have a positive impact on overall mental health. Thank the infamous Elle Woods for this gem, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't kill their husbands. They just don't." In all seriousness, getting up and moving can not only take your mind off the stress point, it can also potentially help you see the problem from a new angle, and help you work on your fitness goals.
  3. Play. This can go along with movement, but taking time to be silly can get you in a better mood or at least in a better head space. Word association games, sudoko, word finds, or even a puzzle can be a great. Get your team together and play Heads Up or even Around the World after a long conference call, meeting, or when the stress levels are high. Even just 15 minutes can be the refresh your brain needs.
  4. Laugh. Laughter is the best medicine, truly. There are science-backed reasons, and of course, it's just fun. Do yourself a favor and find something to laugh at, you can thank me later.
  5. Think. With all the commotion of technology, social media, and the constant need for attention the feeling of FOMO is real. While there are apps and gadgets at our beck and call to do practically everything, the one big thing that apps and technology cannot do for us yet is to think. When deadlines, clients, or even family start to add to your stress load, focus your thoughts on something simple to carry through that moment and on to the next. Drawing all your attention on a simple thought or phrase for even just a minute can help you collect yourself to tackle the obstacle ahead of you and get past it. Meditation can be the next step, but for now simple thoughts can get you through.

You can interchange these methods, or even just focus on one but don't let this year be a year of stress, live, make mistakes, and have as close to a stress-free future as possible.

Published on: Jan 17, 2018