Not all stress is “bad stress”.
Feeling able to work productively in challenging situations is essential for personal growth. To try and remove all sources of pressure from our lives is pointless and will leave us struggling to live meaningfully. A healthy sense of achievement is vital for our self-regard and long-term mental resilience.
So rather than insisting the world is unfair and should change, might we be better off having strategies and tools which we can employ that will allow us to work with the reality of our circumstances and not feel overwhelmed? How might we help someone (wherever they are in their career progression) to understand; that yes, while working hard brings great benefits, it’s just not cool to have a heart attack at 35?
In the corporate world, many progressive companies are now switched on to how a non-threatening environment greatly adds to productivity. Actively encouraging personnel to engage with self-care routines rather than just “allowing” it generates loyalty beyond just the salary package. Keeping good people onside is not just a clever idea, it’s fundamental to stability.
Events like “Stoptober” and “Dry January” can be life-changing for countless thousands of participants; and companies that support or perhaps even incentivise colleagues’ involvement will reap loyalty benefits that can positively influence the entire workforce.
Having access to mental health professionals in a “safe space” where personnel can informally discuss situational difficulties is again the way forward; helping to remove the stigma of “weakness” in asking for help.
Of course it’s great to have a pool-table on every floor, Nutribullets in the chill-out zone; and in-house Pilates; but how more vital is it to have someone to talk to?
So where are you in all this?
Physical fitness doesn’t just “happen”. You have to work at it to get it and metal health requires the same attention. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be a punishing 6:00 am workout, but more of a gentle shift in attitude and a tweak or two in lifestyle.
Experiment with some of these:
- Pay attention to your “work-life balance”: Be courageous enough adjust your work and play hours. Make sure you have time to be alone and time to be with people; and time for physical and mental recreation.
- How are your personal relationships? Is this area of your life being neglected? Developing a network of social support and confiding relationships is a stress-antidote.
- Make an appointment with yourself for a daily relaxation routine: This can be easily learnt and over time can become a completely natural part of your day. Just as leaving home without brushing your teeth might feel weird, so starting you day without this vital attention to yourself would not feel “right”.
- Never wait till you’re too overwhelmed. Paying attention to mental health maintenance is a whole lot easier than trying to fix something that’s broken.
- Take a look at reducing stimulants: Are you relying too much on caffeine and alcohol? Can you reduce your intake? (And obviously the illegals too. If these are becoming problematic, seek help NOW).
- Develop a more flexible approach to achievement. Adopt an “80/20” to your performance instead of striving for impossible perfection. Put simply, if something is 80% OK, then it probably is OK. Attempting to squeeze out the final 20% won’t be noticed by anyone other than yourself and will leave you exhausted.
- Learn a technique like self-hypnosis or mindfulness. There are countless apps around and some are very good, but there is also a great benefit in training with a real-life person who can answer your questions and set you up correctly from the start.
- Your own self-care ideas can go here:
As the influential psychologist Carl Rogers once said:
“I am the architect of myself”
What can there possibly be that is more worth building well?