Stress is a part of life. The right amount of stress can help us, and it comes to us whenever we least expect it. An urgent task, a sudden disruption to our usual routine – anything goes. However, one downside of stress is that it hinders productivity. It can also negatively affect an employee’s mental health. As a result, you may have to find ways to nip it in the bud effectively – and in a healthy manner.
The good news, however, is that it is possible to manage stress. Some ways include pausing and processing, taking breaks – and, of course, grounding techniques.
Pause and Process
The first way is to pause and process. Most of the time, in my experience, stress gets to us in the most unexpected ways. For example, during my time as an investment banker, I’ve had days that were already busy but would get busier due to a sudden new deadline or a new last-minute task that would come up.
I’ve learned from that experience, though, that while I cannot control the fact that there were new developments at work, there were things I could control – such as my actions and the way I work.
Learn to set aside time for your tasks – such as emails, calls, and texts. If, while working, you encounter stress, one strategy you should take is to pause and process. Don’t be afraid to pause; it’ll improve your mental health.
A helpful way to pause and process is by using breathing techniques to reduce stress. According to Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and Associate Professor at Stanford University, combining two brief inhalations through the nose and one extended exhalation through the mouth can interrupt stress signals. Try it several times and notice how it naturally resets your system.
Regular breaks are vital in regulating and reducing stress levels while enhancing your overall mood.
It’s crucial to acknowledge that stress affects individuals differently, and what may be manageable for one person could be overwhelming for another. This variability in response is common and can be observed in many workplaces. Some employees can handle high levels of stress and perform well, while others may struggle to cope with the same pressure level. As a result, it’s essential to find the right balance between challenging employees and providing them with enough time to rest and recuperate.
While a healthy level of stress can push you to overcome your limits, prolonged periods of high stress can eventually lead to burnout.
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by chronic stress, and it can have serious consequences on an individual’s well-being and performance at work. Therefore, it is crucial to proactively manage stress levels and prevent them from piling up.
During your break time, engage in activities that you enjoy. Yoga and long walks are great options with numerous physical and stress-related benefits. Cooking a healthy meal or spending a quiet evening at home can also reduce stress. Incorporating these activities into your daily routine can significantly reduce your stress levels and improve your overall well-being.
An effective and healthy tool for managing stress is grounding techniques such as deep breathing. Grounding techniques help you refocus on the present moment to distract yourself from anxious feelings. They can come in handy when it comes to mental health for employees.
I practice meditation daily. Starting my day with meditation, even for just a few minutes, helps me cultivate a sense of calm and focus that carries over into my daily activities.
Other grounding techniques you can use include moving your body, scheduling time for meditation, doing deep breathing, and practicing yoga.
Lastly, always remember to practice self-care. A combination of stress and anxiety can be pretty exhausting physically and mentally, and that is where self-care comes in.
For busy leaders and executives, self-care can mean setting boundaries between work and personal life. It can also mean practising self-awareness and ensuring you’re not putting too much pressure on yourself.
When it comes to building up our mental and physical stamina, self-care can be quite crucial. Some self-care forms you can do are to get enough hours of sleep. In addition, you need to eat well-balanced and delicious meals, and of course, get some exercise.
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Stress is crucial and constant in life. It occurs when there is an imbalance between the demands being made on us and our resources to cope with those demands. If we don’t learn how to deal with stress healthily, it can negatively affect our mental health. But, on the other hand, by learning to manage our stress in healthy ways, we can become more resilient, increase our mental toughness, and build our character.
The Mental Rockstar Program is for organisations aiming to excel in their respective industries. YuJin, an award-winning mental toughness expert, former lawyer, and investment banker, uses his deep corporate world knowledge to design an award-winning program. So contact Mental Rockstar today to unleash your peak performance in your workplace!