Steps for Combating Stress
Stand back and
Does this really matter?
There are times when the work is so deep and
full of stress that it becomes easy to be
overwhelmed and paralyzed. Asking yourself
this question will help sort out what is
important and what you can let go of.
Have you done the best you can under the
It is easy to become obsessed with what we
might, should, or could have done. Focusing on
doing good work and learning from mistakes is
an important part of growing as a
professional. If you have done the best you
could with the information you had to work with,
let it go and move on to the next thing.
Do you have realistic expectations of yourself
Often times helping professionals have
unrealistically high expectations of themselves
and those around them. You can’t be with your
clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You
can’t make decisions for them or help them
carry out those decisions. Consider
the two competing pressures that are part of
your job: In one respect, you are
expected to be empathic (which requires you to
take feelings into consideration). Yet on
the other hand, you are expected to turn off
emotions in order to get a great deal of work
done. Knowing that these two expectations
are part of your job may help you find a
balance. Create reasonable,
achievable goals and expectations for yourself
and others and see how much better you feel
about meeting your expectations!
Engage in Healthy/Healing Activities
Engaging in activities that are good for you is
essential. You are in control of how you treat
yourself. The list below includes things you
have heard before and inherently know, but as
“helpers” we often forget.
Put down the bag of chips and pick up an
apple. Drink less caffeine and more water.
Exercise regularly. Exercise is a stress
reliever. Even if the only exercise you have
time for is walking around the parking lot at
lunch – try it. You will be amazed at how much
better it makes you feel. (It also gets you
out of the office, away from the computer, fax,
Get enough sleep. Your body
needs sleep to recover so that you are better
able to handle the stress of a new day.
Practice relaxation techniques.
You know them – deep breathing, visual imagery.
We often help our clients find ways to relax.
Believe it or not, they'll work for you too!
Spend time with friends. “A true friend is
someone who is there for you when they would
rather be someplace else” Len Wein. Being with
people you like and who care about and respect you is a
great stress reliever. Allow yourself to enjoy
the company of others instead of focusing only
on work and work issues.
Re-engage in Work Activities
Incorporating ways of managing stress into your
daily routine will go a long way to making work
seem more manageable. There are several ways
that you can help yourself re-engage in work
activities in a less stressful way. First,
work to set manageable tasks for yourself.
Completing tasks will reduce stress.
Second, find a pace that works well for you.
Some people work better under a deadline while
others work better at a slower but
well-maintained pace. Third, organize your
time and activities. Set reasonable goals
for yourself and organize your time based on
what you need to accomplish in a given day. Be
careful not to over-schedule or make long to-do
lists that are unreasonable and will only add
stress. Finally, help someone else.
Helping others makes you feel good about
yourself. Relationships are an important part
of life – rely on them. Giving them up so you
can work more deprives yourself of a major