I’m Dominica McBride, President of The HELP Institute, Inc., a nonprofit organization that uses program evaluation to strengthen programs in impoverished communities. I’m Rita Fierro, owner of Fierro Consulting. I specialize in building organizations and communities by inspiring genuine relationships, shared decisions, and growing results. I’m Pauline Brooks, Independent Consultant specializing in social determinants.
The life of an evaluator is packed with variety and can be quite stressful. This stress can clog our senses and abilities to see what is both in front of us and inside of us (e.g., biases, stereotypes, preconceived notions). We have some tips to help relieve stress, add clarity, and increase your satisfaction with life.
Lesson Learned: With personal reflection, introspection, and relaxation, we gain access to key details, critical opportunities, and chances for innovation and further program (and self) improvement. Various techniques, (e.g., Reiki, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation), help to increase focus, decrease stress, and support emotional and physical health and hone yourself as an evaluation instrument.
Hot Tip: Take 15 minutes in the morning and night to sit down and focus on your breathing. Your mind will wander at first, but with continued redirection towards your breath, silence and relaxation will come. Breathe deeply, fully, and very slowly. Count your breaths up to 10 and start over again. Do this for 2 rounds. The more you practice the easier it will be to quiet your mind and the longer you can go…and the clearer your mind will become!
Hot Tip: Keep a journal on the core growing you are doing in your relationships with yourself and others. Chances are, the way you treat yourself, you’re also treating your clients and coworkers.
Hot Tip: Close your eyes and listen to where in your body you accumulate stress. Place the palms of your hands over that part of your body. You can do this even before you go to sleep or throughout the night. Relax. Breathe like a child, deep into the belly. Your hands generate a vital energy flow that can nurture your body.
Hot Tip: Movement is important. Move the body in ways that are designed to release stress, tension, and tightness—e.g. using Tai Chi or Qi Gong. These long-existing technologies help to regulate excesses and insufficiencies that block the body’s natural activities, while also releasing stress: relaxing the body relaxes the mind and the emotions.
Rad Reference: Bell, C. C. (2001). Cultivating resiliency in youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 29, 375-381. – don’t be fooled by the reference to youth, the information in this article applies to everyone.
This contribution is from the aea365 Tip-a-Day Alerts, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to learn more from this team? They’ll be presenting as part of the Evaluation 2011 Conference Program, November 2-5 in Anaheim, California.