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Release the Stress: Simple Strategies for Overloaded Workers

business-1302849_1280I recently stepped up my workload and position at work. One of my co-workers went into labor a month early and is now out on maternity leave which doubled the workload for another member of my team, and I. I have spoken previously in posts about not handling stress well, it is a known flaw that I am working on day-by-day. My post this week I thought I could give you a list of what I do to help keep myself level both on the job and off. My hope is that if you find yourself struggling to manage your stress, you can implement these strategies and find yourself more calm, cool, and collected when problems arise.

Intention. I stole this from yoga – at the beginning of each class they ask you to set an intention for your practice. It is the same idea each morning I start my day by setting an intention. The intention or mantra can be a word or phrase, something you hope to accomplish or cultivate throughout your day. Throughout your day repeat this word or phrase to yourself, and it will help you to bring your focus to the present time and place. Recently, my intention for the day has been to breathe.

Breathe. One thing that does help calm me down is taking a deep breath in and then slowly exhaling. Just taking a few seconds doing that can help to uncloud your mind and focus on the task at hand. I wrote on a piece of paper, ” In life, all we have to do is keep breathing” and I taped it to my desk at work to help me remember throughout my day to take a few moments and breathe deeply.

Hydrate. It may seem odd that drinking water is on my list to relieve stress; however, a lot of issues can arise if you are dehydrated. I am a frequent culprit of not drinking enough water throughout the day. I either fill up my water bottle and then forget to drink it. Or, during times when work is crazy, I purposively don’t drink water, so I don’t have to go to the bathroom and stop what I’m doing. But, when I am dehydrated it causes irritability, sleepiness, and my productivity goes way done. So take some time to drink water throughout the day and as you drink, complete the first two tips simultaneously to get a full trifecta for stress relief.

Move. Even if you are just taking a short walk around the office or going to the bathroom, get up and move. Walking around allows you not only to take a break from what you’re doing but gives you some exercise to get the blood flowing which helps you think better. I will take a walk around the outside of our building to de-stress, and it helps to be out in the fresh air. I also will do some light stretches too which relieves the stiffness in my neck and shoulders from sitting at a desk all day.

Take a few minutes out of your day to try these tips and strategies to help you de-stress; doing so, could help with your physical and mental health.

 

Have a good week!

Abigail R.C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Apprentice

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Taboo Topics – How to Manage High Conflict Subjects on Religion, Money, and Politics

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There are three topics they say you should not discuss when you’re in polite company: religion, money, and politics. However, with the grandstanding of political candidates engaging in conflict and drama-filled debates, it’s difficult to avoid talking politics when gathering with family and friends.

It is important to remember when a taboo topic works its way into the conversation that people hold their beliefs and values in high regard. Therefore, immediately attacking their position is a surefire way to find yourself in conflict.

It may seem impossible, but there are some things you can do to help manage these conversations, so they do not get out of control. The very first thing to consider before engaging in these taboo topics is to decide upfront, what is your intention and/or goal for entering this territory? Is it a debate where you stand your ground holding on to your dear beliefs convincing and persuading the other person to join you on your side? Or is it a genuine dialogue and an opportunity to understand each other’s perspective? If it is the latter, then consider these strategies or skills.

  1. Listen. So you might not agree with Aunt Lucy’s political beliefs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hear her out. Actively listening while she is speaking and not formulating your rebuttals or cutting her off shows consideration and respect. When she finishes talking, you then have the opportunity to voice your opinion. If you didn’t cut her off, there is a likely chance she won’t cut you off. However, if she does you could say, ” Aunt Lucy, I would like to voice my standpoint and then get your response. Would you be willing to listen without interruption?”
  2. Don’t attack. Be careful using words or phrases like: “stupid” or “ridiculous” or” that’s insane” or ” I can’t believe you like him/her.” It is essential that you don’t attack their views because in doing so you will find they will get defensive. Once this happens, feelings can get hurt, someone could say something they don’t mean, and no productive or reasonable conversation can occur.
  3. Ask questions. You may not agree with what they are saying, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions to gain further understanding of their views. Perhaps, having an open mind and asking questions will open up a greater discussion. Asking questions will also so interest in the other’s views which can make them feel respected and appreciated. For example, “Uncle Jim, what is it you have heard in the media that has contributed to your opinion?”
  4. Breathe. Uncle Jim’s beliefs may ultimately clash with your convictions, and you might notice that your triggers are going off and that you’re getting angry. Take some deep breaths or excuse yourself for a moment to gain composure. But keeping your anger in check is an absolute must if you want to avoid intense and unconstructive conflicts.
  5. Agree to Disagree. The likelihood that you will change the other person’s opinion is far-reaching. There is a chance you might not even find common ground. But, doing one through four of these tips will help keep the conversation productive. You could say very kindly say, ” I hear what you are saying Uncle Bill, but I respectfully disagree. However, thank you for taking the time to explain your views.”

Nowadays everyone appears to have polarized views on religion, politics, and money. Disagreements on those views are bound to arise when they are discussed so figuring out how to manage those conversations constructively is key to avoiding intense conflicts and possibly damaging the relationship.

 

Have a Great Week!

Abigail R. C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Apprentice.

 

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