How to Manage Stress to Improve Your Resilience (Part 4) - Guest Article by Jill Maidment
As we continue to have to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the war on Ukraine, and the cost of living crisis, it’s not surprising that stress and anxiety levels are increasing. Of course, some stress is good for you, for example, if you’re about to deliver a talk to hundreds of people, you need some adrenalin to kick in and energise you. However, stress becomes a problem if your body is constantly in a state of ‘fight or flight.’ This is the stress response which our ancestors needed to either fight the woolly mammoth or run away from it. The fight or flight response can result in your body having too much cortisol. You may then have difficulty thinking clearly, making decisions, or sleeping, and then this can lead to feeling overwhelmed and even burnout.
Managing stress is a key component of developing your resilience skills. If you can work on managing your stress levels and becoming more resilient, you will be able to better manage change, uncertainty, and pressure. Similarly, you will be able to better deal with work issues, major key life events, such as a divorce, and be able to recover more quickly from setbacks or perceived mistakes. If you can retrain your thoughts in a more positive direction and try to remain optimistic about key challenges, you will be able to better cope with what life throws at you.
Some Practical Techniques to Manage Stress
- The news is alarming at the moment so make sure you switch off from all devices for at least an hour every day, and especially before you go to sleep
- If you are working from home or in a hybrid working environment, then try to agree boundaries for work and home life; for example, create a virtual commute by walking around the block before you start work!
- Make sure you don’t hold back-to-back meetings either in-person or online; create time for regular breaks
- Always block off time for you to review the day, write a ‘To Do’list for the next day, and take time to plan ahead
- Diarise activities to look forward to so that you can create a work/life balance
Keeping your stress levels in check can really help in becoming more resilient to be able to deal with everyday and key life challenges.
More Ways to Manage Your Stress
- Keep remembering to control what you can control and try to stop wasting your energy worrying about other people, what they’re doing, and anything that is outside your control
- If you feel overwhelmed, always reach out to your support network, such as your organisation’s Employee Assistance Programme; don’t suffer in silence
- Every day take some time out just for you, even if it’s for a ten-minute walk or a quick run; exercise, especially in the fresh air, always helps to reduce feelings of stress and can boost confidence and mood which help to develop your resilience
- Eating a healthy diet and limiting your intake of stimulants, such as tea, coffee, alcohol, and sugary drinks can all help to avoid triggering the fight or flight response
- If you can diarise time to try out yoga or meditation or something relaxing that works for you, the benefits will be great
- Channel your anger/frustration/anxiety into taking some action, if it’s not exercise, then get creative and learn a language or a musical instrument; taking some action will stop your negative thoughts spiralling out of control!
Jill Maidment is the Founder of Natural Talent, Bristol. She works with clients in some of the largest global companies, as well as public sector organisations, delivering Executive Coaching, Career and Transition Coaching, and Resilience Coaching. Jill has extensive experience, in the past, having worked for one of the world’s largest Counselling Consultancies, introducing Employee Assistance Programmes. She has also worked closely with Counsellors, managers and staff dealing with the aftermath of a range of major disasters, including an air crash, rail crash, and terrorist attack.
Jill believes that in the new normal, we shouldn’t be focusing on bouncing back to how things were pre-pandemic; we need to bounce forwards with renewed resilience and energy to deal with whatever challenges and ongoing change come our way. Jill regularly speaks to large global audiences, and she has published many expert audio talks on key leadership and management topics.
Like what you’ve read?
Here you can download Jill’s short eBook on Resilience ‘The Ultimate Resilience Manual – Bounce Forwards with Resilience to Cope with key Challenges’