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  • Writer's pictureJulie Timmins

Resilience and managing stress

Building resilience - Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly.

Frustrated at work or running your own business – without resilience we can suffer the consequences of workplace stress. Some of these stressors include:

  • working long hours and not taking breaks

  • pressure to meet unrealistic targets

  • fear of consequences

  • lack of support from co-workers

  • job insecurity or poorly defined role clarity

  • conflict with colleagues or managers

  • low recognition for your contribution

  • poorly managed change

  • feeling isolated or overwhelmed in your own business

Any one of these may cause workplace stress. Combine two, three or more factors and you may feel like you are spiralling out of control.

You may experience physical symptoms – tension in the body, headaches, sweaty palms, rapid breathing, increased blood pressure, dry mouth, lack of appetite (or comfort eating). Or you may have emotional responses – uncharacteristic outbursts of frustration or anger, withdraw from social interactions, experiencing fear of failure - causing inertia or in action; lack of focus and concentration leading to costly mistakes.

The importance of self-care during challenging times becomes paramount.

Once you recognise any of the workplace factors are affecting you, your family, colleagues or friends – you have the power to take action.

The common response is “I don’t have time to relax or take time-out”! Or you might be operating from a position of fear - fear of speaking up to ask for help, or have feelings of embarrassment, fear of failure. If this sounds like you, then say ‘stop!’ This will halt the negative internal dialogue. If something doesn’t change, your relationships with partner, children, and colleagues will be affected and more importantly the relationship you have with yourself - your health and mental wellbeing is at risk.

My suggestions for building resilience include:

. at your desk, the coffee station or water fountain – take six deep breaths. Breathe fully into your chest and abdomen for a count of four and exhale for a count of eight. This will increase the oxygen to your brain. As you exhale, relax your shoulders down and be aware of maintaining an upright posture

. make time for a walk in the park at lunchtime. Reconnect with nature, feel the ground beneath your feet and absorb the positive life energy from the earth. This power-break will rejuvenate you.

. eat healthy foods instead of snacking on high carb/high calorie take away. Many supermarkets have healthy choices in small packs ready to grab on the go.

Now, start to look for the opportunity in everything. Find your voice, have courage, focus on your vision. Why did you start here, what attracted you to this place/type of work in the first instance? For guidance – look within. What are your values - if they are not the same as the people around you perhaps it is time for change. Change can be scary. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Look for role models, ask for help – talk through your ideas; nurture a support crew where you start to help each other out. Celebrate their success and then consider – what can you learn from their strategies? Get clarity by asking questions – what, why, how, when … create your personal plan for self-improvement and empowerment!

It is the things we are afraid of that we should do – take the challenge. Stand tall, feel the power ‘be like superman or woman’ strike the pose and hold it for two minutes as you set your intention – then just do it! Every day do something that ‘scares’ you. What is the worst that can happen?

Embarrassment … most other people are focusing on not embarrassing themselves to notice any minor mess up you make. However, with careful planning may not happen – our fear is generated out of ‘what if ...’ – change this to ‘why not?’ Fear is our resistance to doing something – step outside your comfort zone into your courage zone. Feel the fear and do it anyway. (Susan Jeffers)

Finally, be grateful for the life you have and the work you do. Be kind toward others – your thoughtfulness could be their game changer.

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