5 Stress Reducers for Work and Life

Alumna Lynn Berger '84TC, '90TC, of the Columbia Career Coaches Network, offers her top tips on stress relief for the office and home. 

Daily pressures are thrust upon all of us.
Most careers have stressors but you can re-define your relationship to these pressures. The first response to too much stress is simply: create space and clear pathways so you have lots of room to grow in the physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual sense.

First, you want to become aware of daily habits that nurture your health and your spirit. Ask yourself if you have adequate exercise and physical activity in your life.

Is there something you look forward to every day? Do you need to rush, or use adrenaline throughout your day? Are you taking care of any physical or emotional problems you may be having?

Wellbeing is not a choice, it is crucial! Your strength and vitality will shine through everything you do. A healthy, happy person is an attractive person. Being attractive in that way goes a long way with co-workers or potential new employers.

Second, look around your environment and simply dispose of those unnecessary papers and clutter around you. You might want to break this down into manageable steps by eliminating one thing a day. In a surprisingly short time, you can begin to see results.

For many, financial stress may be cluttering your life with worry. You must look at your income, and your spending. Especially where you are spending. Do your spending patterns coincide with your values? If not, where can you change your spending habits?

Most people are amazed that so much of their income becomes depleted before they know it. But, they have little sense of where their money is going. Below are a few tips to reduce your financial stresses to manageable levels.

1.) Don't focus on increasing revenue; reduce costs instead. Let yourself keep more of your current income.

2.) Identify 10 ways money is spent in an unrewarding way. What expenses can you eliminate without being unhappy? Studies show that the average household wastes up to 25 percent of its income. Being more resourceful and organized can go a long way.

3.) Build reserves in other areas of your life. Friends, family, pleasure, knowledge, energy, and space. Feeling abundant can decrease your urge to spend.

4.) Change your recreation. Some shopping behavior is just a form of recreation. Instead, go for a walk in the park, spend time with family and friends, or read a book. There are creative pursuits that do not cost a lot of money.

5.) Clean out your closets. You may find treasures that can be sold on the internet and eBay, or donated to charity for a tax deduction.

Hopefully, you will be able to include one of these suggestions in your daily life to reduce your current level of stress.


Lynn Berger '84, '90TC is a career counselor and coach, specializing in helping people make the most of their lives and feel fulfilled. Berger received her Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology and her Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Columbia. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Master Career Counselor, and Professional Certified Coach. Berger has appeared as a guest expert on radio and TV shows nationwide and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsday, The Huffington Post, Businessweek.com, and Monster.com. She authored The Savvy Part-Time Professional - How To Land, Create Or Negotiate The Part-Time Job Of Your Dreams.

View the complete list of Columbia Career Coaches Network members.

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