I just got back from a breakfast session with the operating room staff at Guelph General Hospital. The session focused on stress management techniques. I focused on two techniques – mindfulness meditation and structured/unstructured physical activity.
I have to be honest, I was very stressed for my stress management presentation. I was concerned for a number of reasons but namely because my activity break for the group was a Zumba number.
Last night, after reviewing the presentation with my partner, he said that the Zumba component may not be well-received. He wasn’t being negative, just honest. I had to agree with him; not everyone wants to Zumba. So I decided to call it an activity break and tell them it was Zumba afterwards. Regardless of this slight change, I was still nervous for how it would be received.
Well, guess what? They loved it. I had a room full of Type A, highly-intelligent and achieving individuals moving, dancing, laughing and smiling. When I told them they had just completed a Meringue, they were fairly impressed with themselves. I was too.
The energy in the room improved. A feeling of connection with their fellow colleagues appeared to be present. And I think (and hope) that the stress level became somewhat lessened as laughter and joking took over.
To me, it’s amazing that a three minute activity break/Zumba dance can change the mood of a room. My point with using Zumba was that something is better than nothing; that if you cannot make it to the gym after a strenuous shift, do a short bout of activity at home.
Something is better than nothing when it comes to your health. Standing while watching TV is better than sitting. Walking from the third floor to the second floor bathroom is better than staying on the third floor.
By making small and steady change we will become better able to manage our stress. Physical activity is beneficial for a number of reasons when it comes to stress management, however, the bonding and social aspect of activity is perhaps the key motivator to start and stick with something.
Remember, something is better than nothing.