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MANAGING YOUR STRESS

 

The evolving situation around COVID-19 coupled with uncertainty of the future may be a cause of extreme stress for some people.  In addition, the forced isolation may also play a role in impacting your mental health. Apart from impacting your mental health, stress can also be especially damaging to your motivation to engage in activities that promote a healthy lifestyle.

Nevertheless, there are ways to manage your stress before it starts affecting you at work or even in your personal life. Everyone has their own way of coping with stress, and as such a single plan of action may not fit everyone’s needs.  However, here are some best practices that may help coping with stressful situations:

  • Avoid the stressor– understand your limit and communicate that with your managers. Control your environment, if you are stressed about going out, choose the alternatives such as online grocery shopping and more
  • Alter the stressor– Communicate your concerns about the situation in an open and respectful way. Also be ready to compromise with the other party and be assertive about your choices
  • Adapt to the stressor – Try to reframe the situation in a more positive light
  • Accept the stressor – At some point you must accept the situation, share your feelings and positively integrate the situation into your routine

Time management while working from home looks different for everyone. Some are proactive when they take frequent short breaks throughout the day. On the other hand, others work better if they divide up their day with tasks and one long break. These are both helpful strategies and neither of them are right nor wrong. The important thing is that you find a method that helps you stay on task and stay motivated.

Some Tips: 

  • Communicate with your team to understand the priorities of urgent tasks
  • Set SMART goals that you would be able to accomplish by the end of the week
  • To stay accountable for that goal- use an agenda, day planner or write up a to – do list for each day
  • Reflect and prioritize your goals/tasks accordingly

Working from home also presents challenges that may keep you from accomplishing your goals. You are most likely to get distracted from various sources like kids, pets, television etc.  Designate a space in your house to set up an office, use signs to alert others in the house if you are entering a meeting or a ‘do not disturb’ sign.

When there is prolonged exposure to stress it can lead to anxiety, depression, drug usage, etc. Many continue to believe mental health is not important and stigmatize people who do speak up and seek help. However, individual’s mental health is not to be ignored and one must seek the right help if necessary. There are many resources provided by the government or other organizations such as CAMH https://www.camh.ca/.

As we continue to navigate these trying times together, be honest with yourself and check in with yourself to listen to the signs your body is communicating before it’s too late.  Communicate with your team or managers if the tasks are overwhelming, arrange hours as necessary and ask for support if you need it. In addition, strong communication between yourself, and your loved ones can help you in manage stress effectively.

 

Disha & Julia

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