by Sam at Management 3.0
It feels like for the last year and a half coping with stress is a topic that comes up again and again. Managers are trying to help employees adapt to the changes the pandemic has brought, while employees are trying to tread water. Many families have had to juggle home schooling and work and as a result, look for new ways to cope with unprecedented stressors.
Managing stress is very important, because when we don’t, it builds up and impacts our productivity, morale, energy, engagement and ability to work. That’s why in this post we take a look at at five ways to manage stress.
#1: Way to Manage Stress, Identify the source: It might sound easy and seem obvious, but many times when we’re stressed, we focus on managing the stress itself, rather than where it came from. Instead of getting to the root of the problem and cutting off the source, we end up putting out fires. When looking at why you’re stressed, deep dive into your behaviours and habits. Do you blame other people for your stress? Or try to explain it away as just having a lot going on?
Once you identify the source, you can take control of the emotion, rather than letting the emotion control you, which is a key part of emotional intelligence.
#2: Way to Manage Stress, Learn to say no: Saying no is just as important as saying yes to opportunities, sometimes even more so. When we say no to something we free up space to focus on things we care about. We also ‘cut the fat’, out of our lives, meaning we remove things that don’t add value and don’t serve us. Some people have a hard time saying no, because they are natural people pleasers, but it’s important to think long term. If you say yes to everything, you won’t have time to focus on and more importantly enjoy the things you really want to be doing and that is stress inducing.
#3: Way to Manage Stress, Accept the things you can’t change: When we resist something, that resistance creates an internal struggle, which in turn induces stress. The best way to combat that is too reduce the amount of things we’re resisting in our lives. We can start by accepting the things we can’t change. If we’re upset about something, or don’t like the way something is, we can either remove ourselves from the situation, stop doing it, or accept it. The more we resist things the more tension there is. Don’t try to control the uncontrollable and rather than stressing over what we can’t change, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.
#4: Way to Manage Stress, Carve out ‘you time’: Whether you’re an introvert that needs time alone or an extrovert that doesn’t crave it as much (or an ambivert that needs both), it’s essential to have ‘you time’. This is time for you to think, reflect, write, read, exercise, do whatever it is that allows you to reconnect with yourself. It’s time to help get to the root causes of stressors (see above), before it manifests and it’s time to pause and recalibrate. The problem with ‘you time’ is that it doesn’t just happen. This is time that needs to be carved into your schedule. Just like you’d schedule dinner or drinks with friends, or when to pick up your kids, put ‘you time’ in your calendar. Some people refer to this as a high level meeting with yourself that you can’t ignore, others just call it ‘me time’. However you label it, make time to connect with yourself.
#5: Way to Manage stress, Connect with people: There is nothing more calming than spending quality time with another person who makes you feel understood. Physiologically speaking, face-to-face interactions trigger hormones that counteract the body’s “fight or flight” response, meaning it’s a natural stress reliever. While it’s been hard with the pandemic, things are starting to open up and make it easier to see each other. But even if you’re in a place with strict lockdowns right now, there are still enough options for virtual ways to keep you connected, you just have to make the effort.
- What do you do to reduce stress in your life?
- What have you learned about stress and how it shows up for you during the pandemic?
Share your thoughts below in in the comment or contact us.