Professional Development Tip of the Month: Stress Management

By Kathryn Thompson, FLEX President & Talent Engagement Facilitator at PA CareerLink

Stress is your response to something happening in your life – a stressor. Up to a certain point, stressors can act as motivators, but each of us has that point when the stressor starts to decrease our motivation or energy.

It can be something positive like moving to a new house or starting a new job, or something you’re nervous about like a big project or deadline. But you don’t have to let it overwhelm you. Here are some tips to help you manage the stress in your life:

  • Overcome decision fatigue. We make around 35,000 conscious or semi-conscious decisions every day. This constant call on our energy is called “decision fatigue”. To alleviate some of this fatigue, create a routine for your mornings and evenings to decrease the number of little decisions you must make. Try to schedule harder tasks for earlier in the day to keep yourself from feeling burnt out. Simplify your wardrobe, meal planning, apps on your phone, and your daily schedule.
  • Your attitude is your steering wheel. Having a positive outlook can make your stressors seem manageable, whereas having a negative outlook makes every worse. So strike a power pose. Turn up your favorite pump up music. Try to see the silver lining and know you’ll get through whatever is causing the stress.
  • Develop stress-relieving habits. Write a list of what you can control and make an action plan, giving yourself simple rewards as you accomplish tasks, and then let go of the things you can’t control. Regular, attentional physical activity helps your brain rest and is proven to decrease stress (turn off your music or tv show while you exercise – focus on breathing and the world around you). Meditation is also a great practice to stay mindful and centered.
  • Use tools to help in the moment. Utilize breathing techniques to physically rebalance when the stress feels like it is taking over. Take a break or a short walk to remove yourself from a stressful situation. Trick your brain into calming down by visualizing a peaceful place. Calm your environment by engaging the senses in your home or work space with herbal teas, candles or essential oils, meaningful photos or trinkets, soothing music, and/or worry stones.

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) February 2020 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

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