Government workers these days are facing mountains of stress. Limited resources. A 24-7 news cycle. Constant connectivity and all of its demands. A growing disconnect between public perception and needs and the reality of services.
Stress manifests itself in a variety of ways -- from illness to grumpiness to self-isolation -- and too often it can get in the way of a government worker who wants to be an effective leader and change agent. Therefore it's important to try to diminish it -- and with diminished stress comes better health, wellness and even motivation and ability to lead.
That was the message Frieda K. Edgette brought to the morning keynote session at the Next Generation of Government Training Summit. Edgette, an international executive coach and organizational strategist, believes that with just a few strategic activities that take 60 seconds or less, you can be more focused, more relaxed, and more effective at your job.
Edgette walked the NextGen crowd through the following five activities during the keynote -- and they're ones you can do at your office, too.
Edgette had everybody in the crowd participate in a bit of meditation for 60 seconds. Start breathing deeply and slowly, then on an in breath think of a word that describes you as a government leader, and on the out breath, a word that describes how you impact your community. Breath slowly like this, repeating those words, for 60 seconds. Even a small meditation session like this can hugely impact your focus and stress levels.
Everybody in the crowd simply stood for sixty seconds as Edgette walked the group through a variety of stretches. Google "mountain pose" -- a yoga pose -- and follow those instructions to do some relaxing stretches of your own.
It's hard to put your phone down -- but necessarily to do so from time to time for your sanity. Edgette recommended one small tweak you can make: stop bringing your phone to the bathroom. Even that short time away from constantly looking at your phone can be helpful.
Edgette asked the entire keynote audience to high five everybody at their table. "We are social creatures built to connect and touch," she said. Based off of the laughs and cheers, something as small as a high five to your neighbor really does cause a shift to a happier mood.
Dance! Edgette walked off the stage to some bouncy music as everybody shimmied in their seats and smiled. Turn up the tunes when you're feeling stressed or like you're coming down with a cold, and the shift in your brain that music can cause might just make you feel a little bit better.
From July 20th – 21st we’ll be blogging from GovLoop and YGL’s Next Generation of Government Training Summit. Follow along @NextGenGov and read more blog posts here.