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August 22, 2014

Working Under Pressure Part II: Stress Management

Last week the focus was on techniques for creating a rhythm when dealing with our #7 Top Transferable Skill Working Under Pressure.  

Kellum Career Consulting, Job Search Advice

This week we will talk about the stress that results from working under pressure.

Hazards of Improper Stress Management
Did you know that studies show when you are under stress your body releases cortisol which kills brain cells?

Your memory is one of the areas that is most effected...no wonder it is hard to think under tight pressure!  

To add to that, this damage increases your vulnerability to future stressors and you become susceptible to more ailments such as headaches, stroke, obesity, gastrointestinal issues, asthma and sometimes, premature death.

Those were the hard core issues.

Common problems that you may face while  managing stress improperly are:

  •         Irritation
  •        Fatigue
  •      Lack of Concentration
  •          Forgetfulness
  •          Loss of sleep
  •          Withdrawal and depression
Your goal in order to function under pressure and reduce the physical and psychological effects of stress is to develop and have handy your stress busting tool box.

6 Proactive Ways to Manage Stress

The following techniques are geared to help you managing stress and deliver expected results:

1. Talk to Someone.  Know ahead of time who are your primary and alternate people who can and will help calm you down.

2. Start a Stress Journal. Take note of your stress triggers, the way you cope with the resulting stress, and how you felt.  Reviewing your notes will reveal any patterns that you can improve  on or change.

3. Notice if any Muscle is Tense. Just noticing will relax that muscle.

4. Know if Sound, Smell, Touch, or Taste Calms you Nerves.  Smell and touch works for me personally.  I keep soothing scents in hand lotions and roll on perfume as well as textured stress balls handy for quick relief. A brisk walk and hug from a friend always helps me if I still need to take stress down another notch.

5. Cut Down Caffeine and Sweets.  So we all know that stress eating = weight gain, you want to avoid huge amounts of the sweet stuff...However, a trick such as keeping a few pieces of hard candy or chewing gum helps with the desire to chow down in stressful times.

6. Do Things That Make You Feel Good. If you are able to take a break from what is stressing you, have a list of small, quick tasks that boost your ego and get you refocused.

Working under pressure is a huge challenge an can bring significant changes in your personal and professional life.  Try to stay calm, focus on the issue, and learn what are your natural stress relieving tendencies so that you can use that as a resource for stress management.

Have any other handy stress relieving tips you would like to share?  
Leave them in the comments below!

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