Recently I had the pleasure of participating in a Linkedin Live event with hostess, Julie Winkle Giulioni, employee development consultant, coach, and author of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go and Chantal Donnelly, physical therapist and author of Settled: How to Find Calm in a Stress-Inducing World.

Our focus was how to stress less during the holidays. As it turns out, our advice can apply to the entire year.

Why is our collective stress so high right now? In addition to the holiday season, stress is so high right now due to the following factors:

Pandemic: Residual issues from the pandemic and new Covid cases arising.

Economy: The economy is stressing out potential home-buyers and others.

Geopolitical tensions: The two main wars are causing a huge divide in our country and that divisiveness can spill over into workplaces.

Juggling: Every client that I visit right now says the same thing. The workers have to do more with less.

What are key indicators of a stressed-out worker?

Absenteeism

Avoidance behaviors

Emotional outbursts

Not as actively engaged with the team 

What are strategies for managing stress?

#1 Get up from your desk at least once per hour, and move or stretch.

#2 Deep breathing relaxes us as the parasympathetic nervous system engages to help calm us.

#3 Get outside – The sun has numerous values besides endorphins.

They include: enhanced mood, mental clarity, reduction of negative thoughts and rest for the thinking part of the brain.

#4 Set healthy boundaries to manage your workload and your time. If you have more than 8 hours of work, prioritize with the input of your boss. Try the following script with your boss:

“I’d like to chat about my projects and what you see as my priorities right now, so I can better manage my time and meet the most important deadlines.”

This puts the onus on the boss to take responsibility for deadlines and gives you power by communicating your need for clear, manageable priorities.

#5 Finally, establishing a people-first culture where employees feel cared for and driven by a purpose they can connect to creates an atmosphere of unity and trust. This is how to engage and retain employees. 

What else can managers do to help workers who exhibit stress behaviors?

 Spend time with employees one-on-one and as a group. Ask questions and listen intently.

Show empathy and allow employees to set their own schedules, especially right now. 

Recognize the signs of burnout and spend time talking with people who exhibit those signs.

Ask your team members how their work is going and specifically how they feel about their workload. Help them set priorities (as indicated above).

Ensure they have all the resources they need.

It’s time for a holistic approach to stress management to prevent burnout, in which personal strategies as well as workplace culture adjustments need to be developed together. By implementing these strategies, we can support and inspire true work-life balance for our teams.

#BanishBurnout #Holidaystress #Wellbeing #WorkplaceWellness