How is your team handling the stress of the coronavirus pandemic?
Much like children look to their parents to see how they respond to things, employees look to their managers and leaders for those same signs. Leaders set the tone for adapting to change, growth and yes, this crisis.
When managers and leaders manage their own stress, it put them in a better position to support others. Here is a simple 4-step process to help identify and shift default behaviors when stressed (an excerpt from my ‘Honing Your Emotional Intelligence’ course). There is a worksheet at the bottom that steps you through this process.
1. Chart out your stress levels from yesterday. On your chart (see sample below), make a note of what increased your stress level; this is the trigger. Try to remember what was happening in your body at that time. Did you have…. scrunched up shoulders or eyebrows, tense stomach or chest muscles, shallow breathing, clenched jaw or glutes?
2. The next step is to remember what helped to decrease your stress level. Did you take a walk? Take some deep breaths? Eat something? Talk the situation through with someone? Make note of this on your chart.
3. Next, make note of your default reaction when you were triggered. Did you shut down? Raise your voice? Dig your heels in? ‘Check out’? Use foul language?
4. Finally, put yourself back into that situation that triggered you. What could you change next time you’re in a similar situation? Could you take a deep breath or count to 10 before responding? Would it be OK to take a break from the conversation and resume when emotions have settled down?
Repeating this 4-step process daily will help you get clear on the types of situations that trigger stress for you and find more productive ways to handle them. Download the worksheet.
This is the time to up-level your self-care. Get enough sleep, exercise and consume food that’s good for you. Not only will it support your immune system, but it will also make you feel better and put you in a better position to support others.