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First off, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve endured the cycle up to this point: non-stop campaign events, responding to the 24/7 media cycle, fundraising, debate prepping and fire drilling to the nth degree.
It may seem like the end is near. But with less than two weeks before Election Day, now is the time when you need to stay healthy and focused.
To keep yourself energize and performance optimized, here are five accessible, evidence-based practices to keep you healthy, motivated and performing at peak levels in this final stretch. These practices can be implemented anywhere and at any time – and many take 60 seconds or less.
Balance in 16 seconds.
Close your eyes. Inhale and exhale normally for two to three breath cycles. Next, breathe in for six counts. When you cannot take in anymore air, hold your breath for four counts. Then, exhale slowly and measuredly for six counts. Open your eyes. Continue on with your day
Performance Plus: Our bodies and minds ramp up on adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormone) — often when we’d benefit from ramping down. Grounded in evolutionary biology, this fight-or-flight response can impair judgment, memory and communication, not to mention physical health. Taking four to six breaths per minute equalizes our nervous system, reorienting us to a calm and focused state.
Focus with a campaign mission statement.
For the remainder of the campaign, what do you aspire to achieve? What is your greatest contribution to the campaign? Keep in mind that not everything you want to do before Election Day will get done. In fact, a large portion of it won’t, so prioritize.
Write out a one sentence personal campaign mission statement for now through Election Day. Keep it simple. Couple your statement with an inspirations image. Put it on your desk or make it your screen saver. When the going gets tough, read and reboot.
Performance Plus: Vision is your lighthouse in the dark. Circumstances and people may change. Your vision remains constant, guiding actions, behaviors and decisions in the right direction. The repeat, visible reminder helps create new, future forward neuro-connections.
Energize with a high five.
Yes, high five a team member, a supporter or (even) the candidate. Hear that fulfilling sound when your hands make contact. Want an extra resiliency boost? Say “thanks” or “I appreciate you.”
Performance Plus: Campaign life can feel isolating. We are social creatures built to connect. High fiving releases oxytocin (the “feel good” or “trust” hormone) in the brain. This recharges us with the enthusiasm and energy to show up, to stand up and to speak up.
Log a daily awesome.
Write out one way the day will be awesome. That’s it. For an added bonus, get an awesome buddy. Choose a time and commit to sending in your awesomeness by that time.
Performance Plus: With a campaign’s constant volatility, it’s easy to focus on what went wrong and dismiss what went right. In fact, our brains are predisposed to the negative by a 3:1 ratio. Pessimism narrows focus, whereas positivity widens attention and cultivates a mindset of generation and openness to the unexpected. This simple practice also increases happiness levels immediately after and for up to six months with regular practice.
Shake what your mama gave ya.
What’s accessible to get your body moving? Take the stairs. Step up and down on a box at HQ. Jump around. Turn on some music and dance like no one is watching.
Performance Plus: Cardio offers a triple whammy: it releases endorphins and serotonin, activating the brain’s reward system. It also alleviates stress and reduces cognitive decline. Plus, it builds focus and endurance. If your office doesn’t have stairs or you don’t have an office to groove in, take a quick walk down the hall.
Set a timer and just press go. And, congratulate yourself: You are in the final stretch.
Frieda K. Edgette is principal of Novos Consulting, a civic-minded organizational strategy and coaching consultancy.