Wining down with a friend after a long day is a New York to-do list essential, but shockingly, there are other ways to rock a little more serenity. Here are a few I’ve found to be equally effective, well, almost.
Consider The Source: A statement so common it has become somewhat of a cliché, there is serious lesson in this short-yet-brilliant statement. How many times have you allowed some random person to ruin your day with a flippant comment you took in as fact? Not only is walking around allowing every opinion of what we say, do, look like a waste of time, it’s a sure-fire way to ignite some serious self-doubt, and that’s dangerous as it’s what poses the strongest threat to success. We can’t have that. Bottom Line: The stranger or colleague making comments about your life choices should hold a lot less weight than those made by a friend who knows the full story and who has shown, through example, they have your best interests at heart.
Get on The Vespa, Feel The Breeze, Kiss The Boy (or Girl): I have done the first three and can assure you they all bring a serenity and excitement that no pill can match.
Refuse to Be Scared Into Submission: Having been at the mercy of plenty of them, I could teach a masters class on bullies. What I have learned along the way is that bullies are like the man-behind-the-curtain in the Wizard of Oz, nothing but little cowards who want to control you through fear. Take away their ability to scare you and they have nothing. While it’s an unfortunate fact that not everyone in the world has laws, rules, and social norms to protect their rights, those of us who do should not only be grateful for them but rely on them to protect our right to live honestly, openly, authentically and to never allow anyone to make us afraid to use our voice or do the right thing.
Stretch It Out: By way of Yoga, a massage, or an actual stretch at your desk (who cares what your coworkers think? You have knots to address!)
Pay Attention To What’s Important: Paying attention to details makes for a great event and outfit, but getting caught up in them is often what stirs up drama and discord. If you’re in a fight with someone you love, remind yourself that the relationship is more important than being right. If you’re annoyed at the slow walking stranger in front of you, focus on how to get around them to get to work on time. If you’re unhappy with your job, be grateful you’re not unemployed and spend more time talking to colleagues and connections than complaining to friends. Pointless distraction is not for bosses. You’re a boss, so get it done.
Stretch It Out, girl. You Got This.
Plan For Problems, Don’t Look for Them: Once, when I was about to make a life-changing jump, my good friend, Lauren Cosenza told me to “Think of everything that can go wrong and plan on what you would do if it happened and then decide if it is worth the risk.” Amazing advice that literally saved the life as I know it. My friend, Stacey, however, also offers great problem-solving by reminding me not to “ worry about a problem before it is a problem.” Example: If you have just met a guy or girl and they mention they have always wanted to live in London, what is the point of stressing about a long distance relationship on date two?
Be Gentle, Even When Being Firm: Knowing how to set boundaries is an essential component of healthy relationship navigation, but there’s a way to say “that’s not OK with me” without bringing in the gasoline and matches. In most cases we find that a soft and strong “enough” does as much to draw a line in the sand (if not more) than screaming like a haughty two year-old.
Be Clear: We sometimes say too little or avoid saying anything at all as a way to “be nice” or avoid a problem all together. Keeping someone in the dark isn’t all that nice and most people can’t pick up on hints because needs, desires, projections and fears get in the way. Say what you’re thinking (see above) and be as clear as possible. They may not like your message, but they will ultimately appreciate it (and you’ll have less stress yourself.)
Be Goal-Focused: Knowing what you need to do and how to prioritize is a lot easier when you know what it is that you ultimately want to get done. Whether it’s on the train during your morning commute, in the shower while getting ready for the client meeting or at the table while you sip your morning coffee, spend a minutes really thinking about who you are and what you want–out of the day, week and month and year. Not only does this help you stay on-track, it also helps you identify what (and who) is working for and against your goals a lot easier.
Don’t Play Psychic: As much as we would love to know what will happen tomorrow, we don’t. That’s bad news when feeling anxious and good news in general because–hello–without an element of surprise, life would be Groundhog-day boring. Still, there is good news for worry-warts and that is that most of us live in patterns. We can use our consistent past behavior (and the consistent past behavior of others) to gain a pretty good sense of a situation. Translation: If your boss tends to be moody, his snarky comment or silence doesn’t necessarily mean you’re about to get canned ;).
Have Your Back: Reminding your friends to take care of themselves, letting them know that you will be there for them, no matter what, and reminding them of their worth and talents make you a great friend. Why not be one to yourself?
Carry Yourself Like The Person You’d Like To Meet, Love, Be Friends with and Work With: It’s the basic do unto others rule, but in that rule one finds the key to stronger relationships, better business and an unbreakable reputation.
If none of these work, call a friend and make a plan to meet to break open a bottle of red.