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4 Ways to De-stress Before GDPR Takes Effect

Mary Rechtoris

If you’re like most people, you spent the last few months counting down the days until spring. Who doesn’t love trading their boots and bulky sweaters for sandals and shorts?

I, however, am among the rare breed that enjoys the cold weather. When I envision warm weather in Chicago, I picture myself plastered to the window of the CTA, wedged between a sea of tourists with oversized suitcases resting on highly-coveted seats and other commuters avoiding eye contact at all costs.

I am getting stressed just thinking about—which is a feeling some of you may share as the end of the month draws near. On May 25, the much-anticipated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe will take effect. Organizations across the globe will have to ensure their compliance or face hefty consequences. Frighteningly, 40 percent of organizations who participated in a recent survey—given mere weeks before the implementation date—reported they will not be GDPR-compliant by the deadline.  

Even if your organization has all the necessary measures in place, the many changes that accompany GDPR may cause some level of stress. Stressing doesn’t help anyone, though, so here are four ways to unwind.  

1. Get Your Sweat On.

I find it hard to suppress an eyeroll whenever I’m a bit overwhelmed and someone suggests that I “go for a run.” Running is a fabulous workout for some people, but others may have a physical therapist that said they have the balance of a hippo and should stop running.

In that case, other forms of exercises are effective, too, like weight lifting and yoga. There is no shortage of different workouts to try. You can jam out in a Zumba class, try spinning, or go for a brisk walk. Whatever you prefer, just get moving to limit stress. Research shows it works.   

Plus, while you’re running, jumping, and/or picking things up and putting them down again, you can consider all of the parallels between athleticism and e-discovery (there are more than you think).

2. Invest in Netflix.

If exercising doesn’t qualm your worries, I would encourage purchasing a Netflix subscription or borrowing a friend’s login. When it comes to Netflix, the sky is the limit. Mindhunter and Longmire are highly recommended. Be careful to not spend too much time binging, as the relaxation benefits from watching television diminish over a long period of time. However, a healthy dose of reality television may be just what you need to relax at the end of a busy day.

Better yet, check out some documentaries that center around justice and technology, two themes that resonate with many e-discovery professionals. Focusing on your work in a tangential way can be a boon for creative problem-solving and innovation.

3. Hang Out with Those You Enjoy (Humans Too).

I apologize if watching Michael Scott burn his foot on the George Foreman grill during The Office induced more stress. To achieve a calmer state, surrounding yourself with pets will likely do the trick. Chilling with a furry friend has proven to increase feelings of wellness and reduce overall stress, according to a University of British Columbia study.

If you feel awkward petting strangers’ dogs, grab coffee with a human friend. By spending time with your best friend, you may in fact be lowering your levels of the hormone cortisol, thereby alleviating stress and anxiety. Sadly, winter and the days of ordering takeout on a Friday night in lieu of human interaction are gone. Don’t flake on the plans you make; your overall well-being will thank you.  

To live a more stress-free life at work, consider venturing with your e-discovery comrades to a Relativity user group session, where you can get a pulse on how other professionals are using the software and engage in conversations about the latest e-discovery trends and technology. 

4. Do Your Due Diligence.

Even if you think you have dotted your i's and crossed your t's, there is no harm in ensuring you are fully ready for GDPR. You may consider looking into ISO 27001 certification or employing a data protection officer based on your organization’s needs.

Victor Kiam, an American entrepreneur and former owner the New England Patriots, once said: "Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin." With the abundant change coming our way, there is also great opportunity. GDPR may prove to be the optimal time for many organizations to redefine their information governance program and get rid of redundant, obsolete, or trivial data. 

Rather than spending this week stressed out, we all should leverage these tactics to welcome whatever change comes our way. After all, the warm weather does have its benefits; the days are longer and walking outside is no longer a safety hazard.

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Mary Rechtoris is a senior producer on the brand team at Relativity, where she's always collaborating and looking for new ways to develop and socialize stories.