How to manage professional stress: Eight steps to relief | Sunday Observer

How to manage professional stress: Eight steps to relief

24 January, 2021

1) No more negative self-talk

The American Heart Association says that by turning negative talk into positive talk, you can begin to reverse the trend of negativity. A good rule is to consider the things you are saying to yourself and whether you would ever let someone you care about utter them aloud without correcting them.

2) Acknowledge that even forced change can be good

Change can spark creativity. Psychology Today says that innovation is the “skilled application of knowledge in new and exciting ways.” How do you pull creativity from earth-shattering change?

Three months ago you might have been burning the candle at both ends with no plan of stopping. We adapt. Recreate the break room connection by having a quick Zoom chat with a co-worker.

Honor your sleep needs, leave the phone out of the bedroom – even if it means retrieving the old alarm clock from the junk drawer. Watch silly videos. Create a beginning, middle, and an end to your day to allow yourself times of inactivity.

3) Process what you’ve learned

Don’t dwell on the ways in which you weren’t ready. Take the lessons—understanding the limitations of your operation, vulnerabilities in billing, adaptability of the team, whatever your lessons were—and plan how they will support your business moving forward.

Implement new tactics or processes based on new information. You have staff that is thriving under remote working conditions, praise them, and encourage them to explore how to maximize the new arrangements. Identify strengths and how to leverage them.

4) Recognise that your business wasn’t perfect before

Human beings are incredible at sanitizing history and forgetting that in fact, no it did not go perfectly. We have, as individuals and as businesses, the capacity to improve.

As we grapple with the threats of an economic shutdown, changing vendors, and shifts in the workforce, our focus needs to be on adapting.

5) Make peace with it feeling hard

The truth is, everyone is being challenged, and there’s no sure way to do this that keeps you from feeling the pinch of something outside of your control.

It might even feel like you are starting from scratch. Allow yourself the benefit of your experience. Before COVID-19 you had talent, skills, a plan. You still have talent, you still have skills, probably even some new skills based on your maneuvering over the past few weeks, and soon you will once again have a plan.

6) Pace yourself

We have a tendency to put time limits on certain things, particularly things that make people uncomfortable—grieving, celebrating, learning, things that actually deserve the time and shouldn’t be subject to limitations imposed by anyone other than the person the experiences belong to.

Picking up the pieces, reexamining the way forward, or adapting to a loss of staff or income isn’t something to rush. This is, as they say, a marathon not a sprint.

7) Remember that you’re not alone

Navigating this new order isn’t a solitary endeavour. Talk to peers, reach out to partners and vendors, be reminded that COVID-19 is happening to all of us.

You might feel as if you’re the only person or company struggling with how to move forward, but the reality is we are all experiencing this in real-time.

New details and restrictions emerge each day, by reaching out to people you conduct business with, you reenergize lines of communication and create opportunities for sharing information and working together to carry the weight of the new normal.

8) Look for the positives

Visualize the best parts of your new normal. Your commute is less complicated. Joe from accounting isn’t eating your lunch. Your new office mate, your cat, is a great lap warmer.

You had been feeling like you were in a rut. You have a team that is eager to move through this time. You have made it through all of the bad days you’ve encountered and you are stronger for it.

The challenges around us are not insignificant, but neither is our collective strength and optimism. From musicians playing instruments on balconies in Italy to distillers the world over shifting production to hand sanitizer, we are finding ways to triumph over fear and adversity.