Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Stress, Relief, and Benefits

Every single person I have worked with, as a BA, battles stress and anxiety.  Really, anyone in I.T. has probably experienced an acute case of either or both once in their work career.  How we handle stress is important.  It's important to us, as individuals.  We need to take care of ourselves so that we don't get sick or burned out in our jobs.  Acute stress and anxiety in a team are counter productive and can destroy a team, if it carries on long enough to become chronic.

I personally believe that we American Adults are not generally well taught how to handle stress and anxiety.  We are told to buck up, shake it off, and/or cope.  No one ever tells us how to do those things.  As a result, we just carry stress around with us as it builds and builds until you either have an explosion or you just burn out and stop caring, stop trying, and freeze up.

I believe that is why there is suddenly a great interest in Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, and other disciplines which aim to make us more aware of our bodies and our minds.  They also generally focus on relaxation even in the midst of exercise.  This focus on relaxation in the face of doing new and sometimes challenging things is instrumental in helping a person learn to calm themselves and relax when in the presence of stress.

With this in mind, I have made it a goal to practice Yoga and yoga-ish exercise every day.  I have blocked out time in my workday (no more than 15 minutes) in order to unplug and do some yoga.  I also have the intent to do this type of break at home.  Now, it's not possible to be able to do this every day; we get smothered in work or sick, or just have no will.  Here's the important part, THAT'S OK.  What could be more horrible than heaping more stress upon yourself for not doing your de-stressing practices?  The thing that I am striving for is the concept of perfection.  As I am a mortal being, living in the mortal world, I will never reach perfection.  That's fine.  As long as I am always moving toward it and looking to the hope of future improvement, I'm reaching my goal.

Maybe we all should find our de-stressor, un-stressor, anti-stressor; pick your term.  Then, allow for that activity every day. It needs to be something small, that doesn't require a lot of special equipment or preparation.  Something that you can do upon need and at regular intervals.  What is your best way of relaxing in the face of stress?  Only you can find out.

If we can obtain the goal of a less stressed work environment, collaboration and innovation are more possible.  Those positive energy activities cry out for an unstressed environment.  Therefore, I am coming to believe that an unstressed workforce is a collaborative and innovative workforce.  I'm not saying that there should be no challenges.  I am saying that having a high level of stress on a continuous basis works against those two essential business needs and is therefore highly detrimental to any organization experiencing it.

What are your thoughts?

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