If you find yourself overwhelmed by the demands of your job, your personal responsibilities and the general stress of the holiday season, take a deep breath and remember the words of teenage philosopher Ferris Bueller, who reminded us that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” While I’m not suggesting that you skip work, hijack your friend’s dad’s Ferrari and belt out some Beatles’ tunes on a parade float in Chicago (although that sounds like a pretty awesome day), there is a lesson to be gleaned from the ’80s icon. Sometimes we all need to be reminded to slow down.

Americans are working harder than ever before, and your profession is particularly taxing. Long hours, physical labor, reduced budgets and unreasonable expectations from field users can combine to create a perfect storm of stress. While it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of these factors, experts say learning to manage stress effectively is vital to protecting your health.

Here are some quick tips for managing stress, during the holidays or on the job:

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

No matter how hard you work, there are some things in life you just can’t control. Recognize and accept that there are things you can’t change.

Master some relaxation techniques.

Studies have found that people who practiced relaxation methods like yoga and meditation and deep breathing have not only less stress, but also more disease-fighting genes than people who don’t relax regularly.

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng.

Get some sleep.

Research shows a link between sleep deprivation and stress. Since it’s nearly impossible for most people to devote a solid eight to 10 hours to sleep each night, try to squeeze in a 20-minute nap during the day to help you relax and give you a boost of energy.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Having a good laugh provides a variety of short-term stress- relieving effects, including stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles, and increasing the endorphins that are released by your brain.

Just say no.

You can’t do it all on your own. Learn to delegate, and don’t feel guilty about doing so.

Most importantly, find a balance.

In a profession as demanding as yours, it’s easy to spread yourself too thin. Creating a balance of work and play, as well as social and alone time, is crucial to managing stress.

Give yourself a break this holiday season. Enjoy every little happiness. Take time to celebrate with friends and family. Put your feet up and relax, you’ve earned it.

Lifelong Learning

In the sports field management industry, staying on top of new technology, trends and research is critical to success on the job. Whether you’re a turfgrass student or a veteran field manager, there is always more that can be learned. On page 20 of this issue you’ll find a sneak peek at the many educational sessions that will be held at the STMA Conference & Exhibition coming up in San Antonio, Texas, January 21-25. Check out the schedule and plan ahead to make the most of these valuable opportunities.

Closing the Door on 2013

This issue marks the end of 2013, our seventh year of publishing SportsField Management. Thanks to all of you for supporting our magazine over the years and giving us the opportunity to be a part of this great industry. We have some exciting things planned for 2014, and look forward to serving sports field managers for many years to come. As always, if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in an upcoming issue, please let me know. Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy and safe New Year!

Katie Meyers