What will your capacity for stress be this week?

Your weeks ahead are probably as busy as mine are.  I was discussing the difference between how people seem to handle stressful conditions with my friend, Bettina.    She noted that people have different capacities for handling stress, which my research and experience would support.

I was curious about what can build or expand our capacity for stress.   We all have 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week, so why do some professionals seem to be able to handle managing dozens of projects and employee demands and others crash and burn with a few more tasks added to their workload?

Here’s some techniques and practices I discovered that might help:

 CNN Health LogoREAD THIS:  This article explains research that discovered that self-affirmation can affect your ability to perform under stress.    Making a list of the things you value and why you value them before a stressful occurrence can help you stay focused and maintain an ability to manage well through the stressor.

KNOW THIS:  When you are on overload.  This article will not only help you manage stress, it also has a guide to warning signs that let you know when you need to make adjustments.

EAT THESE:  Here’s a list of foods that will help you manage through stressful situations.  Things that make the list that are also good brain food include salmon, spinach,  and almonds (without salt). Exercise is one of the best things to add to a stressful schedule, not remove.

TRY THIS:  Interval training.  It’s the type of physical training that intentionally helps us stretch our physical capacity.  Trainers have you get on the elliptical machine, let’s say, and do 2 minutes at a moderate speed and then 30 seconds at a speed that is much higher.  You repeat it multiple times during your cardio workout.  Ask a physical trainer to help you if you’ve never done this before.  I’ve found it to be quite beneficial for increasing my ability to concentrate on difficult tasks and for getting me to the next level physically.

You cannot only handle what’s ahead for you; you will be stronger and wiser because of it.  Plan for stress by packing the foods to munch on throughout the day, scheduling exercise, even if it’s only 10 minutes every few days, and having some smart thinking partner’s phone numbers ready in case you need to find quick solutions to what you might be challenged with.

Remember that your team is probably feeling stressed this time of year, too.  Check in on them and lend some coaching when you can.  Only being there when they reach out to you is a recipe for disengaged employees.  Think about sharing this article to help them as well.  Leaders, like you, who are able to truly empathize and add a hand and support to team members during the most short-term stressful times, without being asked, succeed at creating motivation and engagement with others in the long term.


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