Let’s face it, like everything else, the way we do business has changed in 2020. With travel restrictions, new responsibilities and roles, working from home, new protocols to follow for those who report to a place of work, and trade shows and live meetings virtually nonexistent, we have all had to adapt to a new ways of working. While some are able to thrive in changing environments, others are just managing to hold on. Even if you enjoy the new environment, not every day is a great one and you may be struggling to cope with additional workloads and loss of self-care time. It’s time to take a deep breath and take stock of your stress to avoid escalation. How can you tell if you need a break? And what can you do to mitigate stress even if you can recognize the need to destress?
There are many signs of stress that can affect your body, thoughts and feelings, and behavior. The Mayo Clinic provides insight on common effects of stress, including:
One of the first steps toward good stress management is understanding how you react to stress — and making changes if necessary. Take an honest look at how you react to stress and then adopt or modify stress management techniques to make sure the stress in your life doesn't lead to health problems. There are many ways to help manage stress, but how well they work are as individual as we are. Getting regular physical activity is always beneficial, as is trying to alleviate stress by “not letting situations get under your skin.” Other stress relievers include deep breathing exercises, tai chi, meditation, yoga, spending time with (or just talking to, if remote) loved ones, or refocusing your mind on reading or music.
It’s also important to know when to seek additional help, for instance if you feel there may be other causes of your symptoms, or if stress relief efforts are not working for you. You may have to actively work on getting control of the stress in your life so that it doesn't control you. When you first identify how you react to stressful situations, you then can put yourself in a better position to manage the stress, even if you can't eliminate it. It’s common to put self-care on the back burner as we react to and handle all the other areas of our life. But no matter how indulgent it may seem, or how tightly scheduled you may be, self-care is an important aspect of overall success. Don’t ignore it.