Emily Brantz

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”

… it is a period of social distancing, moving deadlines and changing regulations within the Profession. Although a vaccine has been released to the masses, talent has been driven to intense levels of stress and a tipping point may be approaching.

The evil lord Burnout, obsessed with tightening its grip on experienced and novice Leaders, is within striking distance and will most certainly spell disaster to firms across the nation.

Meanwhile, ConvergenceCoaching dispatches Jedi Knight Emily Brantz to instill peace and share stress management techniques from the Jedi arts…

Welcome, Jedis, to the 3rd annual May the Fourth be With You blog! I thought it was important that we address the Sith Lord in the room, aka stress. We are all well aware it has been a year since the pandemic began and people are burning out left and right. So, for the next 5ish minutes, depending on if you stop to practice any techniques, I invite you to channel your inner Jedi and use the Force to combat stress with these strategies from a galaxy far, far away!

“Run, Luke! Run!” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Episode IV: A New Hope

If you are familiar with ConvergenceCoaching, I bet you are not surprised that at the top of our Jedi stress management tips is none other than exercise. Exercise offers more than the ability to outrun Darth Burnout. It also releases those feel-good endorphins and reduces stress hormones.

So run, walk, jump, swim, bike, dance, or pick up a lightsaber – whatever the activity or movement you choose, just get up and start moving daily. If you are new to exercise, start by taking advantage of the improving weather, set a timer for 15 minutes and go for a walk or run.

Breathe, just breathe.” – Luke Skywalker, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

In times of heightened stress and anxiety, we often forget how a few deep breaths can significantly change how we feel and react in a situation.

One technique we use at ConvergenceCoaching and encourage others to try is called box or square breathing. It takes less than 2 minutes, which makes it a handy strategy for connecting with the Force in high-stress situations. Here’s how it works: focusing only on your breathing, inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and exhale for four seconds. Repeat a minimum of three times.

If you are struggling to focus only on your breathing, consider using a phrase like: I am breathing in. I am holding my breath. I am breathing out.

“Fear is the path to the dark side.” – Yoda, Episode I: The Phantom Menace

According to a February 2021 Kaisar Family Foundation report on the implications of COVID-19 and mental health, nearly 40% of adults believe reported anxiety symptoms. If you begin to feel fear or anxiousness, I encourage you to reach for the closest notepad or blank word document and start writing! Consider writing, “I’m afraid that…” and list your concerns. As you are journaling, take note of negative statements and counteract them with at least one positive statement for each worry or negative statement. This might be written under the headings, “I’m grateful that…” or “I could try this…”

“Laugh it up, Fuzzball!” – Han Solo, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

This is my favorite stress management technique. Yes, I know this quote and tip isn’t coming from someone “in tune” with the Force but you could rely on him for a good laugh. Laughing has many health benefits from releasing endorphins to offering you a distraction from a high-stress moment. After a stressful week, try to catch a stand-up comedy special on a streaming service, a silly movie or play a funny game with friends to heed Han Solo’s advice to laugh it up!

We don’t have to succumb to Burnout – put up a fight! And, as Yoda said in Episode IV: Return of the Jedi, “Always pass on what you have learned.” Please pass on your stress management techniques from a galaxy far, far away or from closer to home to your team and with us as well.

May the Fourth be With You,

Emily