People everywhere are worrying about their savings, their careers and the future. So this is probably a good time to talk about taking control of your own stress levels. In last month’s LearningLink survey we asked how your employer could help reduce stress in the workplace and I’m pretty confident that most of you aren’t holding your breath on that being the solution. Indeed, most experts on the subject will tell you that the place to start on the road to recovery is to take ownership of your own stress.
But first we need to understand what constitutes stress. The environment or event that causes stress plays a small part but the main stress comes from your reaction to it! If it were the appalling economy that was causing stress, then everyone would be feeling the same amount of stress-but we’re not! Each person’s reaction to a situation is unique. Stress is an inevitable part of everyday life. It can be a positive beneficial force protecting us in times of danger or helping us adapt to change. It can motivate, stimulate us to greater achievement and make for creativity.
Stress only becomes a problem when there’s too much of it, too often, when it lasts too long and when we feel out of control and unable to cope. But mainly becomes problematic when we haven’t developed coping strategies. Stress now becomes debilitating-our physical, emotional and mental health suffers. Relationships with colleagues and loved ones may become casualties too.
We owe it to our friends, workmates, families and mostly to ourselves to firstly accept that it’s our individual emotional reaction to a stressful situation that will determine how we behave. Remember Shakespeare’s famous line “It is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.”
So what’s to be done - we can’t eliminate it from our lives, nor run from it. The best solution is to develop your own coping strategies.
Here are some suggestions:
- Recognize that you do have some personal control. You may not be able to control what happens in your workplace, or in the world at large, but you can control how you react.
- Take care of your health. Eat well. Get a good night's sleep.
- Exercise daily. This needn't mean joining a health club, just a commitment to walk around the block before bed.
- Look for relaxation techniques that personally appeal to you. Meditate, for example, get regular massages. Take up a hobby. Practice Tai Ji or QiGong.
- Don't allow your frustration to build. Find ways to let off steam. Seek out a counselor. Find a confidant who isn't judgmental. Keep a journal.
- Take a little time for yourself every day, if only to sit in a warm bath or read a book unrelated to work. A walk in a forest or park or by a river or lake on the weekend can revitalize you.
- Practice time management. Organize systems at work and home for greater efficiency. Determine the things that waste time during the day and try to eliminate them. Come up with polite yet decisive ways to excuse yourself when the talk becomes particularly gloomy, for example.
- Ask for help. It's not to your employer's advantage to have workers under chronic stress. Ask about employee assistance programs, stress management or time management training. If some of your co-workers are feeling stressed, as well, form a united front and approach your manager or boss to discuss the issue.
Okanagan Training Solutions - Priority Management Interior BC
250 762-5096 or 1-877-762-5096