We have all heard that stress is a killer, and know the horrid feeling when we aren’t coping. Smoking, comfort eating, inactivity, alcohol and recreational drugs, while tempting, only make things worse. And we know it!
Fortunately there are proven ways to enhance your resilience and bounce back from work stress. Try these strategies:
1. Tune into yourself
Identify specifically what’s provoking your stress reaction. Is it endless meetings, or having to make complex decisions with inadequate information, or the weight of multiple demands on you? Its unlikely that everything in your life is out of control.
2. Get perspective on your stress
Work pressures can absorb all your emotional energy. To counter this, identify other things which are really important to you and give you meaning in life. Ask yourself:
• Will this matter in a year and in five years from now?
• Does this bring me closer to what gives me real meaning in life?
3. Look after the physical needs of your body
You can only expect to perform at work as well as your body functions. Your body has four basic needs which must be met to perform at your peak. These are sleep, exercise, water and eating well. You knew that, right? But are you meeting those basic needs?
4. Plan and prioritise
Get control of the demands on you. Start the day by writing a list of what you need to achieve. Then prioritise them. Work hard at getting items ticked off your list. Note the things you don’t get to today. Tomorrow, start by reviewing what you achieved. Rejoice in your achievements. Then write a new list, including the items carried over, of what you need to achieve today.
5. Take time out for yourself
Sometimes the best way of getting more done is to slow down. Take regular short breaks of 10 to 15 minutes every hour or two, and move about. Use the stairs rather than the elevator. Don’t skip lunch or eat it at your desk. Switch off your SmartPhone when you are home. And never, ever skip your annual vacation.
If these 5 tips don’t work for you, you may need to consult a professional such as a medical doctor or a psychologist. If that feels embarrassing, remember that asking for help is a sign of being a strong and resilient person, not a weak person.