Stress is one of the most prevalent health issues in our society and the underlying cause of many emotional and physical ailments. Unfortunately for many of us, it’s also an unavoidable part of our day-to-day. That’s why, as a part of our #Stressbusters campaign, we’ve tapped some of the most time-strapped influencers, CEOs and entrepreneurs for the ways they’ve learned to manage and combat stress. Hopefully some of their unconventional tactics can prove successful in your own routine.
EVERUP: What are the largest sources of stress that you encounter in your daily life?
HARPER: Being an entrepreneur! All the pressure is on you as an entrepreneur—yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are never enough hours in a day. Until a few months ago, I was working from home and there was no work/life balance—my couch was where I worked, watched TV, hung with friends, meditated and ate. It was too multi-purpose and didn’t allow for any separation between my personal life and business. I was always on. Getting an office was a life-changer.
Are their certain symptoms, emotional or physical, that you recognize when you are particularly stressed out?
I feel out of body/out of control. My heart races fast, I’m not breathing seamlessly and I feel like I could explode in an instant.
Do you or have you ever found yourself coping with stress through unhealthy/unproductive means?
Absolutely! Self-care becomes less of a priority even though this is the time that it should be more of a priority. I eat poorly, don’t attend yoga classes and sometimes disregard my afternoon meditation. I’ve also canceled plans with people who make me happy because “I’m too busy” when really these people are my support system and help lift me up. Foregoing these rituals is never a good thing and I often beat myself up about it.
What prompted you to finally realize you needed to do something to help cope with and eliminate stress from your life in a healthy and productive way?
In 2013 I was working in event production which required me to be on 24/7. Everything felt “urgent” and time sensitive. One of the events we produced was for the David Lynch Foundation, an incredible nonprofit that teaches Transcendental Meditation (TM). I learned so much from the panelists of the event about how TM changed their lives and was immediately intrigued. Several weeks later, I went through the course to learn.
Prior to learning TM, I knew nothing about meditation. If you asked me to define meditation, I don’t think I could have given you a clear definition. Transcendental Meditation immediately had an impact on my life. I immediately became a better person as a meditator.
How do you incorporate this tactic into your routine to help keep stress at a manageable level?
Since learning TM in December 2013, I have been meditating twice a day for 20-minutes. Of course there are days when I get swamped and/or forget to meditate in the afternoon, but I try my best to be consistent. I am definitely the best version of myself when I am fully meditated. I also utilize the mantra that was given to me throughout the day when I am feeling any amount of stress or anxiety. I am not a big fan of elevators so sometimes when I’m in extra scary ones, I think my mantra to remain calm.
What improvements did you begin to see as you implemented the tactic?
Oh goodness, I could talk about the benefits all day. The benefits have ranged from lower blood pressure to a general sense of clarity. In my afternoon meditation, I typically feel revived, awakened, and more apt to productivity for the remainder of the day. If I disregard my afternoon meditation, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I won’t sleep that night, so it’s imperative for me to get that second 20-minutes in.
Would you recommend this tactic to others? And why? Do you forsee it being a better option for certain personality types?
Yes, yes, yes, yes and YES! I think absolutely everyone can benefit from Transcendental Meditation. The David Lynch Foundation teaches meditation to women who have been through domestic violence, at-risk youth, veterans and more underserved communities. Their efforts are taking place worldwide and impacting so many lives.
Harper Spero is a business and career transition coach and business development consultant who has found a way to integrate passion with purpose. From music and beauty to social good and well-being, she uses her own journey through health scares, career transitions and self-discovery to inspire, motivate, and drive people in the direction of their dreams. By implementing organizational strategies in her one-on-one coaching programs, Harper helps people break free from toxic environments, create goal-oriented strategies, and pursue career to bring new balance, fulfillment, and structure to their lives. Diagnosed with a rare immune deficiency at age 11, Harper’s commitment to healthy living is as personal as it is professional. Yoga, meditation, holistic approaches, natural skincare and beauty routines, vegetarian cooking and positive environments are essential to Harper’s well-being.