May 18, 2020

For many of us, the feelings of stress and anxiety often ebb and flow depending on external circumstances. But the circumstances we are living in now; the compounded negative effect of stay-at-home orders, unemployment, and the threat of illness for ourselves and our families, is creating a constant barrage on the efficacy of our body’s biological response to fight anxiety. 

In an April 20th, 2020 article published by The American Journal of Managed Care, “nearly 7 in 10 employees indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic is the most stressful time of their entire professional career” and that “88% of workers reported experiencing moderate to extreme stress over the past 4 to 6 weeks.” That translates into a loss for employers through declines in productivity, creativity and effectiveness. Not to mention the impact on employees’ personal lives.

Already, even in our pre-COVID-19 era, a lot of mind-share was devoted to awareness of the negative impact of stress on our health and well-being. And now that we’re in a new paradigm of a global health threat that currently doesn’t have a cure, or even a preventative, the knowledge of the impact of stress, I think, is even more timely.

When we experience a stressful event like physical trauma or even the mere rumination of a potentially stressful event in the future, our body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated. It’s commonly referred to as our “fight-or-flight” response. The activation of that system releases a variety of chemicals and hormones like cortisol into the body. Chronic, continued activation of the sympathetic system, and those accompanying hormones, is associated with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

In contrast, we also have a natural system in place that restores our body to a calm and relaxed state — the parasympathetic nervous system. And just as various physical and mental triggers activate our stress response, we can also intentionally shift our body into its relaxation response.

Each of our body’s five senses provide a variety of opportunities to relax and manage stress.


Immerse yourself in the natural world — gaze intently at the landscape, the park or even just the clouds and sky above. Stare for a few minutes at a single tree and really notice the colors and texture of the bark and leaves. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reported experimental results that demonstrated a lowered level of stress after just looking at photographs of nature. 


Many of us listen to music while working to help us stay focused and relaxed. As an alternative, try listening to Gregorian or Buddhist chant. Simple, natural sounds like falling rain can also be deeply relaxing. One of my newest finds has been listening to the sounds of “singing bowls” made from brass or crystal. YouTube is a great source for these.


Light a scented candle, apply fragrant hand lotion or diffuse essential oil into the air with atomizers or nebulizers. Lavender, vanilla and lemon are some of the typical scents that provide relaxation. But any particular scent you love, makes you happy or that brings back good memories can help reduce stress. For me, the scent of clover immediately reminds me of my childhood — specifically the summertime laundry that was dried outdoors on the clothesline and took on the scent of the surrounding hayfields of my family’s farm.


As a response to stress, it’s common to compensate with eating — we naturally crave salt, fat and high calorie foods. But eating these foods can create imbalances and spikes in blood glucose that cause irritability and ultimately a cycle of even more stress through increased cravings. Specific nutrients and chemical compounds found within particular foods, however, can actively assist in stress reduction. Salmon, yogurt, oatmeal, nuts and berries are all good choices. And perhaps the ultimate win-win just might be dark chocolate — at 70 percent cocoa or higher, 1.4 ounces of chocolate per day can lower levels of cortisol. 


Another great tutorial to walk through on YouTube is “tapping”, also known as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). It’s a series of gentle taps of your fingertips onto specific points of your face and upper body that help relieve tension and stress. It’s a technique that has even been adopted by professional golf, football and baseball athletes.

An important fact to remember is that any one of these techniques can make a difference in stress management. Don’t give yourself an additional burden by committing to too many. Try just one or two. When it feels right you’ll enjoy the process and more likely continue, and ultimately feel the better for it.


May 16, 2019

Tad Ware & Company welcomes you to the launch of our new blog! This year marks the 40th anniversary as a Twin Cities agency, and it seems appropriate that we are publishing our blog after 4 decades filled with a proud heritage that has provided us a wealth of real-life and story-telling experience. These 40 years have generated a well of inspiration, wonder and creative “magic” for everything from food marketing to photography and video, medical product launches to brand creation, digital strategy to content creation for multiple channels and so much more.

Our primary reason for finally creating a blog was to bolster two things we take very seriously – strengthening our ability to make strong human-to-human connections and by taking the time to offer our perspectives through our creative passion and energy. By offering up the experiences that we have had with our clients and the community, we hope those connections help to generate original ideas, spark more exciting creativity, and allow new experiences that showcase our own unique personality.

Our passion shows up everywhere; in our debates on creative strategy for a customer product launch, on-set photography discussions on the placement of a pan sauce on a plate of food, brain-storming social post ideas to help build a customers brand. It comes out in our pot-luck lunch discussions about client projects as well as the 10-15 minutes that typically start our internal/team meetings. We love our work. What we love even more is knowing that energy has helped our clients reach their goals.

We’re looking forward to a new journey that will hopefully give our readers a new window into who we are – and hopefully spark some engaging conversation along the way.

On a personal note, blogging is the boogey-man rattling under my desk. I have never had a problem expressing my opinions during meetings or hallway discussions but to post your thoughts and ideas for the entire world to read, respond and share, makes that boogey-man rattle even harder. What if I am wrong? What if what I say doesn’t connect? What if nobody cares!

As a creative, we walk a path that requires us to hear feedback from everyone we pass. We take that feedback and either push forward, adjust our step, take a step back, or hold our ground. In the end, those decisions are all based on listening and thinking. I have always believed that listening is the first and most important step in creative thinking.

I believe writing from a personal level simplifies that path. It allows me to take all the conversations I have heard, articles I have read, professional and personal experiences I have had and put them into stories for others to read and add to those conversations. It encourages me to express myself at my own pace, and that is truly a unique path for me. The route may be difficult, but that makes the destination all that more exciting to reach and will allow me to learn and broaden my mind.  

Learning and broadening your mind is what I believe is the crux of what most blogs are about. If we never express ourselves and share our thoughts or face tough discussions, how will we ever know we are on the right path? Diving in to thoughts and opinions allows us to learn much more than if we decide not to engage.

Reading and listening to feedback that might take us down a different path, will help us create a more deep understanding of our own story and how we express our ideas and thoughts to our customers, colleagues, friends and family.

In the end, I hope this first post gives you a feeling of the direction we at Tad Ware & Company are heading and we are excited to bring you along on our journey.