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Managing Stress During Chaotic Times

Are you stressed? I’m stressed. I’m stressed about how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “These are unprecedented times,” in the last three years. The 2021 Global Millennial and Gen Z Survey found that 46% of Gen Zs and 41% of millennials indicated they felt stressed all or most of the time when they were surveyed in January 2021. So how do you manage stress during something you’ve never lived through before? This answer will be a little different for everyone, but let’s talk about some general ways to manage stress.

Identify the stressor

For a lot of us, this is an obvious one. The pandemic is a huge source of stress. The climate crisis is a huge source of stress. The state of the world right now is just stressful. Or maybe your stressor is a result of one of these things, i.e., you lost your job due to the pandemic. For others, this answer may not be so obvious. You could have unresolved tension in a personal relationship. You could feel overwhelmed at work. It could also be a combination of all of these things. The first step to managing your stress is figuring out what exactly is causing it, finding the root of the problem, and focusing on what you can change rather than what you can’t change.

Understand the habits that are a negative result of the stressor

What habits have you gotten into because of the stress this event/situation has caused you? There are some habits that come from stress that can really get in the way of your happiness:

  • Worry
  • Holding a grudge
  • Having unreasonable expectations
  • Embracing the victim mentality
  • Comparing yourself to others
  • Not learning from failure
  • Lack of gratitude
  • Settling for low standards
  • Neglecting self-care

Have you taken on any of these habits? What’s the root cause of them? Self-awareness and self-reflection are crucial when trying to relieve stress. When you get into bad habits, ask yourself, where is this really coming from?

Find what helps you manage stress

Below are seven ways to cultivate peace and happiness. Find what works for you.

  1. Change your perspective. If you’re looking for the negatives, you’ll always find them.
  2. “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” - Gandhi
    • Holding a grudge or wanting revenge on someone will be more harmful to you in the long run
  3. Let’s remember that the only way to find happiness is not to expect gratitude but to give for the joy of giving.
  4. Count your blessings, not your troubles!
  5. Let’s not imitate others. Let’s find ourselves and be ourselves. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt
  6. When fate hands us lemons, make lemonade
  7. Let’s forget our own unhappiness by trying to create happiness for others. “When you are good to others, you are best to yourself.”

Problem-solve

  1. What am I worried about?
    • Identify the source of the stress
  2. What can I do about it?
    • Make a list of actionable items that you can start on ASAP.
    • What is out of your control?
  3. Decide
    • Choose what you’re going to do from your list of actionable items

Avoid employee burnout

  1. Make employee wellness a priority. It’s no longer enough to simply acknowledge threats of burnout and impacts on mental health. Make your employees feel heard by acting instead of just telling.
  2. Employees should have options when addressing wellness and burnout, not a one-size-fits-all solution. Employees are all individuals with different needs and different personal lives.  
  3. Connect with employees. Ask them what they want and need in terms of support. They may not know that you care until you ask.  

What we’re trying to say is that if you’re stressed, you’re not alone. Find things to do in your downtime that relieve stress and make you happy. Communicate with your co-workers, employer, or loved ones if you’re having a hard time. Be sure to take your PTO days, too. At Medcom, we prioritize employee health and development through the resources available as part of our employee benefits and the various trainings available. For employers, making sure YOU and your employees prioritize work/life balance is key to avoiding burnout.

If you’re stressed and feeling like you’re on the verge of burnout, let someone know and manage your stress before it gets too much.