Fun Stress-Relieving Activities

by Nicole DeRosa, CPA, MAcc, Withum – December 3, 2018
Fun Stress-Relieving Activities

Let’s be honest, life in the accounting industry is not a walk in the park — if it was easy, our profession would not be held in such a high regard.  Client obligations, constant industry changes, and pressing deadlines make our jobs often times quite stressful.  The evolution of technology has also made it very hard to disconnect from our jobs.  Maintaining a work-life balance is very important; it is also important to have various outlets that help to manage stress when times get tough.  In no particular order, here are several activities you can easily incorporate into your life to help relieve stress.

  • Keep it moving. Exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy – it’s as easy as that. In addition, exercise also lowers cortisol, which is a stress hormone. The beauty of exercising is that you can literally make it your own; find something that you enjoy and stick with it. The options are endless – some examples include:
    • Group fitness classes (such as Zumba Fitness, Spinning, Les Mills Body Pump)
    • Weight training
    • Jogging/running
    • Swimming
  • Yoga/Meditation. Yoga is considered to be one of the oldest forms of self-development and dates back over 5,000 years; like yoga, meditation has also been practiced for thousands of years.  Many studies have found that by incorporating yoga and/or meditation into one’s daily routine can help minimize stress and also increase productivity – it’s a win-win!
  • Massage. When administered by a licensed professional, a massage can help your mind and body to relax which in turn leads to a decreased stress level.  Studies have shown that massage is also helpful for anxiety, the digestive system, the immune system, and can actually improve sleep.  For added relaxation and reduced stress, try an aromatherapy massage that incorporates essential oils.  Lavender, cinnamon leaf, cedarwood, and eucalyptus are just a few essential oils that are most commonly used for stress relief. 
  • Laugh it out. Like exercise, laughter triggers the release of endorphins which we have already learned make you happy.  There are endless ways to laugh – go to a comedy club or show, rent a funny movie, or simply turn on the TV and watch comedy central.
  • Socialize with friends. Being a part of a group can help get anybody though stressful times; being a part of a network of friends gives you a sense of belonging, self-worth, and an outlet during these times.  Spending time with friends, whether in a social atmosphere or a private atmosphere, helps to elicit the “tend and befriend” effect (opposite effect of the “fight or flight” response).  Some ideas for adult socialization include:
    • Wine & Paint – not to worry, you don’t have to be Picasso
    • Attend or watch a sporting event (professional, college, high school, etc.)
    • Interactive establishments such as hatchet throwing, TopGolf, or Dave & Busters
  • Pick up a hobby. Everybody has hobbies, right?  You may not realize it but by incorporating a hobby into your daily routine, you are unknowingly improving your mood and relieving stress.  By engaging in a hobby, you are essentially providing yourself with a work-free and responsibility-free break (with a purpose).  If you do not already have a hobby, no need to worry – there are endless choices.  Some people might choose a hobby strictly to relieve stress (i.e. gardening, coloring, reading, or cooking) while others might choose a hobby to socialize with friends and be more active (i.e. golf, hiking, dancing, or volunteering).
  • Make time for furry friends. Having a pet not only can reduce stress and improve your mood, but it also provides companionship.  If you do not own a pet, consider volunteering at your local animal shelter.
  • Walk it out. Who ever thought such a simple activity that is inherent in our lives could have such great health benefits?  Well, we are back to those endorphins again!  Studies have shown that just a daily ten-minute walk can actually lower stress levels. 

Nicole M. DeRosa

Nicole M. DeRosa

Nicole DeRosa, CPA, MAcc, is a senior tax manager with Wiss & Company, LLP. She is the chair of the NJCPA Emerging Leaders Council and serves on the Federal Taxation Interest Group and the Content Advisory Board.

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