Elsa came to Clydes office to get a travel form signed. Clyde was working on his computer. She knocked on his door. He turned and said in a harsh tone, What do you want? Elsa was a bit turned off by Clydes mood and apologetically asked for the form to be signed. He grudgingly signed it and immediately went back to his computer.
As Elsa walked out of the door, she stopped, turned around and asked Clyde if everything was all right. Clyde said he was overstressed with the contract deadline and family commitments.
Stress is really a four-letter word with a couple of extra s-es. It is a product of meager budgets, bloated goals, and endless emails, texts, and blogs that computerized torture devices bring.
A good stress reliever is to always welcome everyone coming to your area as if they were the only business the entire day. This does not mean wasting time by shooting the bull with the person, but by simply welcoming them whenever they arrive. An automatic positive welcome can lift your mood in spite of the fact that you have 20 hours of work to complete in three hours. If you really dont have time for unexpected visitors to your work area, a second stress reliever is to make it clear through postings or assistants that you will be unavailable for a period of time.
Elsa did the right thing to ask Clyde how he was doing based on his inappropriate responses to her. She could suggest ways to find others who could help Clyde with the contract deadline and family commitments. Delegation is one of the most difficult activities for managers who think they have to do it all themselves.
If Clyde is overstressed by his computer, he may need to escape it. Occasionally taking a walk could help get the blood circulating. Walks dont have to be long. Some may just be in the hallways during brief breaks. During lunchtimes, a group of walkers can be organized.
If there is more time, hitting the Greenbelt and walking the mall and Downtown shops are popular. Why not try disc golf at Ann Morrison or Julia Davis Park? Climb Table Rock?
If Clyde cant walk far, he can occasionally change positions around his computer. He also can stand up and stretch muscles that have not been used for a while.
During lunch breaks, Clyde can help reduce stress by eating a balanced diet, reducing caffeine intake, talking to friends, listening to music, or reading something that is known to relax him such as a favorite magazine or newspaper. Practicing guided imagery is a form of daydreaming in which Clyde can clarify what he wants and build optimism to try to obtain that.
At home, getting a good nights rest is essential for reducing stress. Clyde might do something creative that he does not do at work such as garden, cook, write a novel, golf, bicycle and paint. No matter what activity is chosen, it needs to be fun with a lot of hands-on activity to get you totally absorbed.
With the end-of-year holidays coming up, stressors will be coming with their full array of expectations. Its time to manage stress before stress manages you.
GUNDARS KAUPINS: Professor of management, College of Business and Economics. firstname.lastname@example.org.