Not too long ago, I had a hectic experience while traveling. My 5:30am flight was canceled 30 minutes before boarding, while I was waiting in a 200-person long security line. As expected, I had to jump through hoops to get onto another flight that got me to my destination on time, running through the airport to barely make it to my gate.
As I spoke with staff both from the airport and the airlines, I felt I was met with curt tones, lack of eye contact and dismissive communication.
In the moment I thought, “wow all these people have been so rude, all I’m trying to do is get on a flight to see my family.”
As I collected myself, I reflected on my interactions and the state of the airport that morning. What I realized is that all these people were overworked, and the airlines were understaffed – and frankly everyone was simply STRESSED OUT.
Now, I’m juggling my own workload and feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to make everyone happy. I’m stressed too – finding myself feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and struggling mentally (I’m not afraid to admit it!)
I started doing some research on tactics for managing and alleviating my stress and what I found shocked me. According to the American Institute of Stress, 73%-77% of people experience stress that affects their physical and mental health.
So, I decided to share some tactics for managing stress both in the moment and long-term, figuring I’m probably not the only one in the world feeling this way.
Here are five tactics I found:
- Practice deep breathing: The 4-7-8 breathing technique is my personal go to. Start by finding a comfortable position and close your eyes. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat for a total of 4 cycles.
- Explore company provided resources and benefits. Some employers provide an an employee assistance program (EAP) that offers stress management resources. Depending on the EAP, there may be online information, available counseling, and a database of mental health professionals.
- Have an open conversation with your supervisor. Discuss what has been creating stress for you and work with your supervisor to build a plan for mitigating that stress, whether it be through delegating, making changes to your physical workspace to reduce strain, or anything else.
- Ensure you’re meeting your body’s basic needs. I know when I’m stressed, I forget to eat throughout the day. To function as your best self, you need to meet inherent needs such as getting enough sleep, obtaining nutrients through a healthy diet, and drinking lots of water. Regular exercise can also help relieve tension and stress.
- Reframe your internal voice. When you’re stressed out your internal monologue might sound something like, “I don’t have time for this,” or “I can’t do this.” Be kind to yourself and try to reframe your language in a positive way. You might say something like, “I can do this, I just need to work with my supervisor on what to prioritize.” A simple twist in words can do wonders!
At the end of the day, we are all trying to make it through, and we can’t do it all. Whatever your stressors may be, the ultimate message is to remember to take care of yourself!
Rebecca and the Civility Partners Team