Every single person experiences stress, whether it is in our personal lives, at work, or both. Often times, we do not know the full extent of what a colleague may be going through, as others probably do not know what is fully going on for you. How can we begin to practice more grace with one another, particularly during stressful times?
While a certain amount of stress has some positive effects–it can help motivate us, help our brains to focus, and can create some suspense and excitement–it can feel overwhelming if we cannot find ways to renew from it.
In the article “Why Leaders Don’t Brag About Successfully Managing Stress,” author James. R. Bailey interviewed 127 executives from 18 countries to examine how executives’ practice renewal during high times of tension and stress. The four findings and strategies shared in the article are applicable to any person in an organization, regardless of position:
- Health: this includes physical activities such as sleep, nutrition, and exercise
- Removal: anything that takes one away from struggles at the workplace–attending sporting events, movies, concerts, family time, and so on
- Intellectual: activities such as games, reading, puzzles, study of an academic discipline
- Introspection: time for reflection, meditation, breathing techniques, therapy, to name a few.
Bailey argues that these executives have counterbalanced their stress by spending 20-30 minutes through the renewal activities listed above.
Here are 3 tips on how you can start practicing renewal strategies today:
- Take 5 minutes out of your day to see how a colleague is doing; ask if there is anything that you can do to alleviate any stress they may be experiencing. The simple gesture of offering help to another colleague can reduce their stress by knowing that they are not alone or isolated.
- If you are a manager or supervisor, cultivate renewal activities into the workplace culture. Some ideas can include scheduled renewal breaks, having an office puzzle that anyone can work on, and joining RSF’s WorkFit program, to name a few.
- Think you don’t have time to reflect? Guess again! Download the Mitra app. It is designed to improve your well-being by reflecting on your day, recording value alignment, and rating your emotions. It’s an easy and accessible platform.