Tuesday, 24 April 2012


You call your customer who owes you ten million Naira and his secretary informs you he has left the country for the next six months...your team lead decides to change the entire strategy of assignments due within the few months and you were not consulted...the inverter and generator blows at work and there is no light for 5 days, your customers start calling to hurl abuses and you are losing tens of thousands of Naira daily....Your blood pressure shoots up, you’re dizzy, you are seeing stars, you’re screaming at you’re colleagues, and fighting with taxi drivers and food sellers...

I hate to tell you this but you sound mighty stressed out to me!!

However, as Type A personality prone to outburst and stressed induced headaches, I can tell you yes you may be suffering from stress, but you can make it work for you and not against you. Interacting with colleagues and subordinates has taught me a few things about successfully stress management and below I have summarised my personal strategy in a few steps that can be applied right here in Nigeria, irrespective of where or who you work for:

  • Acknowledge the stress
Just as it takes more energy to smile rather than frown, it takes more energy to deny a problem than acknowledge it. Yes you are upset, yes things are not going your way. Yes you may have just received the biggest shocker of your life, but don’t go into denial mode. When you hear bad news or are in a tricky situation, don’t beat yourself up. Embrace the initial shock, lower your eyes, and count to ten. You are calming yourself and gathering yourself. Remember the anticipation of death is worse than death itself..there is no situation you cannot overcome.
  • Look at the root and not the problem itself
OK now, lets see what happened. Between you and the wall in front of you, are you responsible for what happened? Did you see it coming and look away? Did you know your colleague or customer was a flaky individual and depended on them when you shouldn’t have? Problems have a way of repeating themselves, why not take a honest look today at what is stressing you so that you can start working on solving the root cause of your stress.
  • Take responsibility for improving your physical and emotional well-being.
Its easy to say I’m to busy to exercise, eat the right food, or talk to a friend but I am here to tell you the truth. That is a bold face lie and lazy person’s way of dealing with stress. Fruits and vegetables that will help give you energy and cleanse you system must be taken. It costs nothing to walk round your office or take a twenty minute walk at home while listening to music. Learning how to stretch and do yoga at your desk will help your breathing and lower your blood pressure. Take ownership of your health today.
  • Avoid pitfalls
They say it’s madness to keep doing the same thing expecting a different result each time.  This applies for dealing with stressful situations. Screaming at your colleague every time she is late when you know she has a problem with time keeping will make her immune to your shouting and hurt you more than her. In Nigeria, we seemed to have stopped using our brain and observing our surrounding in order to recognise and avoid certain problems. Most times stressful situations repeat themselves and a wise man would be the one to study each incident to both avoid them in future and deal with them if they ever arise again.
  • Learn better communication skills
Today’s world is more fast paced, dynamic and work systems are flatter but the same culture, economic, and political problems are still being grappled with making the work environment a tricky place. For example, how workers balance their beliefs about age and respect when dealing with a manager ten years younger than themselves? Or a 45 year old indigenous worker reporting to a 28 year old expatriate? Or the 20 year old nephew of the boss who thinks he is untouchable? 

Do you know what it means when your colleague looks at his watch when you are talking? What about if I remain standing and tell you to sit on a chair? What if as I’m standing I fold my arms stand in front of you and lean into your personal space? Being able to communicate while remaining polite and diplomatic and reading your surroundings and non verbal queues of your colleagues, bosses, and business owners is no longer a luxury, it’s a must.If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’d suggest you make sure you read my upcoming articles about business communication.

When stress at work interferes with your ability to perform in your job, manage your personal life, or adversely impacts your health, it’s time to take action. Start by paying attention to your physical and emotional health. When your own needs are taken care of, you’re stronger and more resilient to stress. The better you feel, the better equipped you’ll be to manage work stress without becoming overwhelmed.Taking care of yourself doesn’t require a total lifestyle overhaul. Even small things can lift your mood, increase your energy, and make you feel like you’re back in the driver’s seat. Take things one step at a time, and as you make more positive lifestyle choices, you’ll soon notice a reduction in your stress levels, both at home and at work.(www.helpguide.org/mental/work_stress_management.htm)  

I encourage you to answer honestly and complete the text. If you finish the test and find you are experiencing high job satisfaction, then congratulations! If you are at risk of experiencing burn out, i would still congratulate you because you are now on your way to solving the problem by first acknowledging the issue.

If you want more information about coping with stress or want to talk about your peculiar situation, why not send me an email at insitefulsolutionsconsult@gmail.com for a free chat.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Also, you have to make sure that you are not suffering sever stress and experiencing burnout. If you are in doubt about the level of stress you are facing, why not  do a burnout test quiz that can be found on the link below: 

No comments:

Post a Comment