It’s Not Too Late to Give the Gift of Stress Relief
Thank you to Dr. Davana Pilczuk of The Human Performance Group for this article. Dr. Pilczuk is an award-winning kinesiologist who specializes in human performance. She is a speaker, writer and consultant for Fortune 500 companies, sports teams and small businesses.
Right now all your employees are experiencing stress. It doesn’t matter if your business is booming and jobs are secure. COVID-19 and all its collateral damage has stressed us all out. Although our degrees of stress aren’t the same, we unanimously are experiencing stress right now and it appears that it may continue for some time.
Stress affects performance
When people are stressed, they cannot perform well. Our brains are wired to focus on anything that threatens our safety, and we will focus on that perceived or real threat until we feel we have it under control. Since everything each of us does, every day, now comes with risk, we are constantly in threat mode, which means the logical part of our brain is disengaged. We get tunnel vision and only focus on the things that we think will help us handle the threat. Remember all the people last year who freaked out and bought up all the toilet paper? They were a tad over stressed.
What employers need to know, is that people cannot produce high quality work when they are feeling preoccupied with a threat they cannot control. They feel anxious and that anxiety cuts off our ability to be creative, innovative and strategic. When we are in threat mode we can only survive, not thrive. Your people might be coming to work every day, but they may still be unable to give you their best. And again, if the COVID-19 threat is real for them (e.g., spouse lost their job, grandmother has the virus) their ability to focus and produce, is even more jeopardized.
Anxiety and control
Anxiety is all about two words: what if. What if I can’t pay my rent? What if my son gets sick while at school? What if I can’t pay my bills by the end of the month? Anxiety is a future state emotion and it can wear us down emotionally and physically. We tend to have anxiety about things we perceive we have no control of. Want to reduce anxiety? Start actively addressing those what if’s right now. Do this by writing down all the things that are causing you worry. Next to each item, write down ways you can begin to manage each of those stressors.
For example, if you are stressed your school aged children might bring home, list the ways to reduce the chances of them spreading it to the rest of the family. Can they wear mask and wash their hands as soon as they get home? Can they skip carpooling with non-vaccinated families? By listing the ways we can manage our stressors, our brains start to feel a little less out of control when it comes to scary situations.
Businesses do this
Right now, people need help managing their anxiety and stress levels. If you manage people, bring your employees the resources they need to handle those ‘what if’s’. Do not leave it up to your people to handle it on their own, because if they truly feel anxious and overwhelmed, they may not know what to do. Consider providing your team with resources who can help teach them how to better manage anxiety. Stress coaches or therapists (not all therapists are versed in the science of anxiety, so ask what they specialize in) are often a good place to start. Maybe a fun stress management speaker can give them a holiday workshop on reducing stress. Another idea is to assign each of your team to bring in a stress resource and share it with the group. Someone might be using a good meditation aps or has watched a helpful YouTube video on deep breathing and they can share these tools with the team.
People need resources now. Their tires are currently flat, so give them help now. Don’t wait for when things calm down or money is more available. Your business will only do better, when your people can do better, so give them an unexpected, and desperately needed, gift of learning how to manage stress a little bit better.
The Human Performance Group LLC has a new course, “How to BEAT Stress” designed to help businesses of all sizes handle the stress of today’s world. Reach out for more details: www.HPGsolutions.net or davanaHPG@gmail.com.