“No stress.” Yeah, right.

February 25, 2014

No Stress. Yeah, right., AM-Insider article by Sarah Ritchie

On a recent visit to a pain clinic, I was referred to a medical psychologist as part of the initial consultation process. The objective was to find out how I was coping with a long-term, chronic pain condition. Once we established that I was coping as well as could be hoped for, the psychologist’s attention turned to how I handled stress in my day-to-day job.

I shared, with the doctor, my usual advice to young folk: that you shouldn’t get into nursing unless you are prepared to work nightshift, and you shouldn’t get into advertising or design unless you can successfully handle stress.

It’s been interesting to watch how stress manifests itself in our hothouse environment of pressure. As one of my colleagues recently lamented, “Isn’t anything ever easy?”. There always seems to be someone to pacify, a fire to extinguish or a tetchy email to respond to. I joked that it’s because we are dealing with “people”. As long as we have people in the mix (coupled with deadlines and long hours), stress will follow closely behind.

As long as we have people in the mix (coupled with deadlines and long hours), stress will follow closely behind. – Sarah Ritchie

“Share

Of course, a lot depends on our personalities as to how we handle the stress. Some of us will explode (with or without expletives), and some will internalise (waiting for our bodies to tell us enough is enough). However you tend to deal with the “slings and arrows” of our industry, here are some tips that may help you the next time someone pushes your stress-button:

  • Ensure your priorities are in order. Planning ahead of time (e.g. with a to-do list) will help.
  • Go for a walk (preferably in the fresh air), removing yourself from the epicentre.
  • Do something different. Swap projects and return later to the one that is troubling you.
  • Clean up your act. If working in a mess stresses you, take time to clean up your desk and your inbox.
  • Have a coffee break. Caffeine won’t really help with anxiety, but walking to the coffee machine just might.
  • Vent to someone. A problem shared may help you arrive at a better solution.
  • Breathe deeply. Intentionally slow your breathing down to help you relax.
  • Do not disturb. If you are pushed to breaking point, ignore emails and phone calls and put a big “do not disturb” sign on your desk.
  • Eat and drink. Food in your stomach will go a long way to helping your head.
  • Exercise. You can always release your stress on a punching bag or cross-trainer.
  • Stay positive. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do.
  • Stop procrastinating. Is there a task you really don’t want to do? The longer you leave it, the more stress you will feel. Do it… you’ll feel better.
  • Change the system. Is your stress resulting from inefficient processes? Help yourself and be a change-maker.

There are many things we cannot control in our working lives, but the one thing we can control is ourselves. Bad behaviour or constant negativity is not acceptable, even when your colleagues understand why you are stressed. Emotions are contagious, so the better you are at managing your own stress, the more you’ll positively influence those around you, and the less other people’s stress will negatively affect you.

If all that doesn’t work, and if the stress is intense and long-term, you may have to seriously think about changing your job (or career). Your physical and mental health and wellbeing must always come first.

Let’s be stress-conquerors and work-thrive-ers. Positive energy is contagious too!

  

A modified version of this blog post appeared on the Design Assembly website | 9 December 2013.





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Latest Tips & Tricks

Stealing time

August 11, 2019

Do you ever steal someone’s time? Time is how we make our money, so what is the real cost of ‘running late’ for an agency?

View full article →

Writing headline copy that gets results

July 31, 2019

Headlines have (traditionally) been the domain of newspapers, newsletters, and magazines. These days headlines are everywhere, notably in social media posts, blog posts, email communication and subject lines, search engine results, and website articles. When people read either online or offline publications, they usually scan the headlines and images first, to see if they want to dig deeper into the content. Therefore, creating headlines that make people want to read further is a crucial weapon in winning the content war.

View full article →

Proactivity - yay or nay?

July 16, 2019

If you ask any client whether or not they would like their agency account managers to be ‘proactive’ they will probably say “of course!” But, what would each party understand by the word “proactive” and how vital is it to ensure you and your client are on the same (dictionary) page?

View full article →

Our gift to you!

SIGN UP TO THE AM-INSIGHT NEWSLETTER, AND YOU WILL RECEIVE 100% OFF THE PURCHASE PRICE OF ANY ONE MICROSOFT WORD OR EXCEL RESOURCE FROM THE AM-INSIDER WEBSITE. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP NOW!