How to Stay Calm Under Pressure

One thing I've been told over and over both in my personal and professional life is that I always seem calm. The funny thing is that I'm often told this during situations when I have been dealing with managing stress head-on. As a classically-trained violinist since age five who used to do a lot of auditions, I have learned a few tricks for how to remain calm under pressure (or at least to look calm on the outside).

1. Have a mantra or special sequence that gets you to chill out every time. Ever since I was little, I've had a mantra, a repeated word, that helps to slow my breathing and calm me down if I'm panicked, nervous or stressed. When I say it either inside or as a whisper, I can actually feel the tension diminish dramatically. Before a performance or job interview, I say my mantra, sit in a quiet place, and breathe deeply for a couple minutes. I also find that doing arm stretches helps to loosen me up and makes me feel more energized.

I also love this book for more
ideas on staying calm and
boosting happiness.
2. Smile. Sometimes the only thing you need to do to calm down is smile. Use a photo as your phone lock screen or desktop image that will instantly make you grin. I always have a photo from my travels on my computer and a photo of one of my pets on my phone lock screen for that reason. If you're going through a stressful time at work, smiling will also help others in your office relax.

3. Get enough sleep. This is probably the hardest thing for me because sometimes it can be difficult to shut my brain off and fall asleep if I'm stressed. I always have Sleepytime tea, lavender essential oil, and melatonin on hand for those times I need extra help. Prioritize sleep during stressful times.

4. Think about a time you were nervous or stepped out of your comfort zone. When I look back on my life, some of the moments that made me the most anxious beforehand ended up being the best. When I was 22, I bought a one-way ticket to the Czech Republic, with a month-long stint working in the French Pyrenees beforehand. I knew some people thought I was crazy, but I had traveled abroad alone a few times before and knew it was the time in my life to do it. I remember the night before I left, I felt like I was making a huge mistake. Turns out, it was one of the best things I've ever done.

Now, I'm curious to hear from you: What works for you when you need to remain calm under pressure?

Four Friday Favorites

This new feature will be a celebration of four random things that I love in no particular order.

1. "Pupsicles" and Zoku Classic Pop Molds (order here)

I've been making our ten-month-old border collie/Australian shepherd rescue puppy, Carter, popsicles since it's been so hot and humid this month, and these Zoku classic pop molds are by far my favorite. They're easy to make and sturdy enough that I let him lick them right on the stick, although it helps that he eats like a person. To make the popsicles, "pupsicles" as I like to call them, I blend a mashed banana, Greek yogurt, a couple teaspoons of natural peanut butter (please make sure it does not have xylitol in it, which kills dogs), a bit of local honey, and water together and pour into the molds. I make approximately 2-3 at a time and let Carter enjoy a third or half of one at a time.

2. Camille Styles Entertaining: Inspired Gatherings & Effortless Style by Camille Styles

I've been enjoying this book, created by one of my favorite bloggers, since it was published in 2014, and I continue to pick it up with each change in the seasons. It features more than 300 pages of beautiful photos, recipes, entertaining tips, and inspiration on how to embrace the season and celebrate the everyday.

3. Tata Harper Very Bronzing (order here)

I happen to live just a few miles from Tata Harper's farm, but I would love it even if it wasn't a local brand for me. This is the only bronzer I need in the summer, and I wear it over my Marcelle BB Cream in Golden Glow (I've never worn foundation because it feels like a mask but swear by this lightweight BB cream). The medium brown bronzer gives my skin a dewy finish without being greasy, and I love that the brand's products are natural.

4. Summer Sunsets
My favorite thing to do in the evening is to sit on our front porch with some chilled, local hard cider or wine and watch the sun set over the Adirondacks. It's always spectacular, and the perfect way to bid another summer day farewell.

Summer is Here

Happy summer! I just wanted to share this photo from yesterday evening. My husband Michael was mowing around our huge vegetable garden and our border collie Australian shepherd puppy was sitting on the hill watching him beneath the beautiful sunset. A simple moment at its finest.
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