Book club concept stacked pile

For 2023, CleanLink is excited to introduce the Book Club series — a biweekly summary of an insightful book for our readership with lessons or takeaways that can improve daily processes or simply the approach to a workday. Topics on the docket will include employee engagement, developing salespeople, how Gen Z will impact business strategies and more. Kicking off the series is Work Smarter, Live Better: The Science-Based Work-Life Balance and Stress Management Toolkit, written by Joe Robinson. Robinson is renowned for mental health strategies, appearing on a series of national radio and television shows to discuss stress management and productivity strategies.

Be it the elevated scrutiny around cleaning, hiring struggles, or the post-holidays simply being a drag for many, stress levels can elevate more easily than normal in January for frontline cleaning managers. The unfortunate reality is these hurdles don’t get any easier once overwhelming thoughts begin to take over. To help managers keep a level head, Fast Company referenced Robinson’s book and three actionable strategies to use in high-stress situations. These situations are easy for anyone to do, don’t require great resources or time, and simple to learn and make habit.

Strategy 1. Apply “Cognitive Defusion” 

Stress can be compounded when people allow negative thoughts circling in their head to define the actual situation at hand. In reality, telling oneself that something isn’t realistically achievable has no bearing on the actual task or situation itself. A negative approach to disinfecting 25 rooms can make it feel like it’s actually 50 rooms, when in reality the number has stayed the same. Being aware that negative thoughts (which are a natural brain trigger when panic starts to set in) are coming into your head can go a long way toward separating them. Not every thought is actually accurate, and the individual isn’t required to believe all of them. 

Strategy 2. Attitude Breathing

The process of attitude breathing begins with someone physically removing themselves from where the source the the stress is — whether it’s a different part of the office, outside, or wherever is more calming. The breathing exercise itself involved placing one’s hand on their stomach, taking deep breaths through the nose and concentrate on the hand rising and falling with the inhale and exhale between two to five minutes. While doing the exercise, adding in self-affirmation phrases into your thoughts can complement it, such as “stay neutral”. This practice embodies the theory that stress isn’t compatible with relaxed muscles, so if the body physically feels calmer, then the stress will subside. 

Strategy 3. Counting Down from 100

Similar to the theory of attitude breathing, stress can be diminished through exercises that require a repeated focus on something unrelated to the root of the tension. While activities like jogging or drawing can work in this sense, managers may not have the time, resources or capacity to do so in a work setting. Instead, Robinson suggested the practice of counting backwards from 100. While simple in a vacuum what counting down does is it allows the person to focus on a simple target, which is one of the cornerstones of meditation. Instead of thinking about the uncertainty of the stressful situation before, the process and objective of counting down from 100 are simple and clear.

These three strategies are just a part of Robinson’s entire book aimed at mastering stress management and achieving a strong work-life balance. Check out the book for yourself here.

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