It is a peaceful Saturday afternoon in October, the sun is shining, the temperature is 20 degrees and there is not a single cloud in sight. Ideal for a walk in the park or a nice cold drink in the sun.
Not today, not for me. For months I have been telling myself I have to carve out more me time. I wanted to meditate daily, improve my yoga practice, read lots of books, ride a bike, swim, and so much more. However, somehow something always comes up or the Netflix offer is just too enticing. I was also often overwhelmed with all I supposedly had to do to simply relax. The consequence of it all: I never even tried.
During the last yoga class in one of my favourite studios in Cologne I saw the notice “Let’s talk about stress”. The workshop description fit exactly what I wanted to do: understand my stress.
And there I was. The sun was shining outside, and I was sitting inside in the cosy yoga studio to talk with strangers about stress for four hours on Saturday and another six hours on Sunday. What can I say? It was amazing!
How did the workshop go?
To begin with, the six participants introduced themselves using the keys on their keychains. When explaining which key I use what for, I immediately revealed a lot about myself and my everyday life. That was ok because we all did that.
The next two days were then filled with a good mix of theory, practical exercises for relaxation, various yoga sessions and lots of tea.
We dealt with what stress is and how it can affect our body. We also exchanged ideas about our personal psychological and physiological reactions and set relaxation goals that we want to pursue.
I have also set myself a resolution: read at least 10 pages every evening out of the specialised magazine Neue Narrative, a novel, or the phone book – it doesn’t matter. But what happens if something comes up? What if I spontaneously go to the pub for an after-work beer with friends or the Netflix offer is again an insurmountable temptation?
Quite frankly: I still manage to read 10 pages no matter what! I first set my goals small in order to create a routine that I can integrate in my everyday life.
In addition to a few goals, what else did I take away from the stress-prevention weekend for myself and my job?
- There are situations in which I just feel overwhelmed.
Even if it sounds trivial: The confirmation that I am not alone with this feeling has given me positive energy for my everyday professional life.
- I believe we are very open as a company. We talk about many things and consciously create spaces for them.
However, this is not enough. In the future, I will speak to my colleagues even more clearly about how I feel and what concerns me. I cannot find the solutions to my problems alone, but in a team.
- Progressive muscle relaxation or PMR for short is a relaxation method that I rediscovered for myself over the weekend and which I will do with the team at the next opportunity. (1)
- And finally: The next internal SAPERED workshop is already being planned and I will prepare and share a few of the topics I have learned with our team. I’m curious to see which takeaways we as a team will take from it.
(1) What is PMR?
In PMR, individual muscle groups are briefly tensed one after the other in a certain order. The tension is then released. The duration can then be varied. For example, short periods over large muscle groups such as hands, arms, legs, etc. or longer periods over individual, smaller muscle groups starting with the little finger and ending with the little toe.