Our production team have just finished creating our new Stress Awareness course. As I was writing the script, I wanted to include useful tools that can be used by our learners whenever they feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious - which is very common these days with our fast-paced work environments, hectic home lives and busy social schedules!
Through my research I learned something very important, which Lou Holtz summarises very well:
It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s how you carry it.
We are, in fact, responsible for the work we take on (personally and professionally) and we are responsible for how we manage it. This may mean making peace with something (especially if we can’t change it), or having the courage to change a situation if that’s an option (even if it's daunting). Either way, we mustn't forget how important we are; even though our family, friends and career are important too.
Becoming aware of our stress-triggers and poor-mental-health warning signs can play a big role here. Our Stress Awareness course goes into more detail, as does our Mental Health and Wellbeing training. But for today I wanted to share one simple tip to help you manage pressure before it turns into stress - PIP. This can help you order your thoughts and get back to the task in hand.
Identify the problem
Here’s an example of how PIP can be useful…
You had an argument with a friend yesterday, it’s unresolved. Now you’re running late and you’ve gone to work in a bad mood. All you want is a coffee and a quiet morning, but an urgent job lands in your lap. This is often the point where we start moaning, stomping, swearing, or even bottle up the anger and let it fester.
But instead, this is the perfect time to pause. Put your work down for a moment.
Identify the problem. In this case, it’s the argument you had with your friend. It upset you and it’s causing you to react badly to everything else.
Then prioritise. What needs your attention first? In this case, it’s the urgent job. Everything else can go to one side so you can focus on the job and get it done.
Next... a break and a deep breath.
Now it’s time for the coffee you’ve been waiting for. Don’t underestimate this bit. Stress makes you unproductive at the very least and it’s very damaging for your health. It’s crucial to give yourself two minutes when you need it. Then you can get back to your work feeling relaxed and focused; continuing to tick things off one at a time.
To conclude, it can be useful to remember that it's not our circumstances that cause stress, it's our reaction to the circumstances that cause it, and our reaction is always our choice.
For no good reason, here's a fun fact: stressed spelt backwards is desserts!