Stress is not all bad or all good. We all have good and bad stressors in our lives. Positive stress helps us accomplish our goals and achieve tasks, while negative stress tends to spike our anxiety and cause discouragement. Today we are going to walk through the ways to stay positive and productive even when you are under an immense amount of stress.
Warning Signs of Negative Stress
First, let’s discuss the warning signs of negative stress. Emotionally you might be feeling overwhelmed, getting easily aggravated, and have a difficult time relaxing. Physically you could be experiencing low energy levels, insomnia, digestive problems, and headaches. Not to mention the racing thoughts, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, and negative thoughts. All of these things can be crippling. For example, 2 weeks before I was getting married the phone company ended up cutting off my phone due to an error in their app. If you have been a bride or have known one and interacted with them right before the wedding you know that they are under an incredible amount of stress. When I woke up and saw that my phone was cut off I called them and yelled at this poor lady on the other side of the phone. Normally, I would not have reacted so harshly. Because I was so stressed out I was feeling overwhelmed and I got frustrated way more quickly.
Another thing that can happen when you are overwhelmed by stress is a change in your behavior. This can include drinking more, drug use, change in appetite, procrastinating, and nervous behaviors. I think the important thing to remember when you are noticing your behavior change is to remind yourself that the stress you are experiencing is normal and that if you do not like how you handling it you can change it. There are a lot of resources and people that can help you through hard times. The best thing you can do is reach out and say that you need help.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
Growing up my grandmother told me “Garbage In, Garbage Out” all the time. Basically it means that if you put garbage into yourself, garbage is going to come out of you. Often times this was a reference to being mindful of who I was hanging out with, what music I was listening to, and what I watched. The same applies to dealing with stress. If all you do is absorb the negative information and you make confidants out of naysayers then negativity is what will come out of you. Take a break from the news, walk away from negative conversations, make sure you are still active with your hobbies, and get outside to get some sunshine. Do not underestimate the power of sitting outside or walking in the sunshine.
The Faster You Adapt to Change The More Positive The Outcome
Change is inevitable. The faster you adapt to the change the more positive the outcome will be. We are a company that counts on people gathering for events and training. When the coronavirus took over our country we had two options. We could close our doors and be upset and mad about everything or we could adapt. Our company chose to adapt and within a couple of weeks put together multiple virtual team building and training programs. We quickly looked for ways that companies and individuals could connect and still get the training they wanted. We were able to do this because we knew we could not control the lockdowns, shelter in places, school closings, and decisions that the government was going to make. We also knew that these things were only temporary. Adding in virtual programs would fulfill a current need and we could keep it for companies who do have the ability to bring everyone together.
Welcome To The Danger Zone
As I previously stated, change can cause a lot of emotions. I also mentioned that your response to change can help you have a more positive outcome. To unpack this a little more we created our own version of “The Change Cycle”. This cycle helps you understand what you are experiencing and how your response in each stage is so crucial to achieving a positive outcome.
The first stage is the Stage of Disbelief. In this stage, you experience shock, fear, and are moving forward with a heightened sense of caution. In this stage, you are also not thinking rationally. For example, if you got laid off you might be thinking things along the lines of “This is not real. He is joking… He is an idiot for letting me go!”. Then you move into the Stage of Frustration. This is when everything makes you mad. The way your spouse breathes, getting even madder that you were let go, yelling at the pot that fell out of the cabinet because you shoved it in there in a rush (I am totally not speaking from experience), and walking around with a frown on your face. The next phase is when you really start to process what has happened. The first stage in this phase is the Stage of Investigation. This is where you try to establish some familiarity, you might feel some confusion, and you are starting to look at how you can adapt to this change. Like waking up at the same time that you did when you went into work to establish a routine. This is a very critical time during the process because if you end up in this stage and have a negative attitude you can take yourself back into shock and fear and have to work your way through it all again. We call this the danger zone. If you respond with a more positive attitude you can enter the Stage of Hope. This is when you feel energized and you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then you move into the rational phase where you can think clearly and rationally. You start off by adapting and experimenting to see what works and then eventually you get to the Stage of Acceptance. Where you accept the change and you feel peace about it.
Don’t Give Up
Stressful times are hard and we want to remind you to not give up. You are not in this alone and what you are experiencing is TOTALLY NORMAL. If you want other resources to help manage a team virtually, deal with stress, or training do not hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to help you and your team!
Sincerely, The Fearless Millennial