I’m in New York City for a series of business events, especially the Book Expo. It’s the largest publishing event in the country and just walking into the Javits Conference Center is an assault to the senses – if I let it be. One pause, one breath later, I’m ready to join the conference crowd swirling between aisles and exhibits. It takes a focus that this usually solitary writer doesn’t encounter often and while exhilarating, is also exhausting.

Walking for hours in crowds can be hard on the body. Standing in booths is challenging too. Here’s a few tips I’ve found helpful to be more effective, relaxed and energized in a demanding day:

  1. Breathe. Sounds simple but when focusing outward on something or someone, your braining buzzing with thought, it’s too easy to hold your breath. Your body hangs suspended waiting for attention. Too much of that and your mind becomes muddled, your body strained. Remind yourself  often to take a deep breath and sigh it out if that feels nourishing. Release fully and then inhale deeply. You’ll tap reservoirs of energy.
  2. When you find a moment to pause. Stand and feel your feet in your shoes. Ground into the space and continue breathing, releasing. It’s a great technique to boost mental clarity .
  3. Check in while standing in lines. That means use the pause in activity to scan your body. Is your shoulder aching from the bags you’ve been toting? Perhaps it’s time to switch sides or put the bag down for a few moments and roll your shoulders to release tension.
  4. When you’re shaking hands, grasping brochures and carrying notebooks, your fingers get a workout. Find a moment to put everything down and stretch out your hands. Open up your fingers, spiral them around in one direction then another, rotate your wrists. Shake them out.
  5. Walking for hours in the best of shoes still takes it’s toll on your back. I like to find a fairly quiet, private space – perhaps in a lounge hallway or spacious restroom to put my bags down and lean against a wall. Then I start folding forward from my neck down, releasing vertebrae by vertebrae until my head is hanging with my neck relaxed. Breathing there for a few moments bathes your brain with oxygen. Roll up slowly to stand. You’ve done something great for yourself and should be better equipped to get on with the day.

More to come…I’ve got to catch that last shuttle to the expo floor and put these techniques to work! Then back tomorrow to tackle that conference crowd once again.