By Mel Kauffman
In a recent SROA webinar, Dr. Natalia Peart shared how to reduce stress and burnout and build resilience and engagement.
“The greatest ability we have as humans is the ability to see beyond our circumstances. It’s about the choices we can make, the choices we need to make now are the in order to move into growth mode in everything you do.” Dr. Peart
Dr. Peart shared that all stress is not created equal, and not all stress is bad. We perform optimally from the stress, that stress energizes us, keeps us focused, and work feels effortless. The problem now is that we are living in the extreme and have become distressed—to the point of fatigue, exhaustion, ill health, and, ultimately, breakdown and burnout. She explained that when faced with threats from burnout our body goes into one of three modes: fight, flight, or freeze. Today’s stresses are constant changes and disruptions to our “normal.” Our response is controlled by two systems: the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Too much time in stress mode leads to burnout and strips us of our emotional resources. There’s a gradual depletion over time.
The goal is to stabilize by using breathing as a reset button, to allow our subconscious to kick in. By using a deep breathing technique you are able to put space between the stimulus and your response, this allows you to create the power to choose our response, to think, and to the reaction to a situation. Take slow deep breaths to reset and rein in emotions.
Dr. Peart shared the six types of coping skills and examples of how you can use each coping skill to reduce burnout.
We can control how we start our day and moments during the days. We can also create new routines and be kind to ourselves. Stress can destroy us, define us or be an opportunity.
Managing stress is about building habits of mindfulness, movement, meaningful connection, and mastery to build healthy coping skills. We always have the option to choose what we need more of, what we need less of, and what we need to add to our lives to manage the physiology and emotions associated with stress.
Dr. Peart stressed to build our resilience we must grow our “I am.” Many of us define ourselves by our careers and when a path ends, often we are lost. We think “If I can’t do this, then what can I do?” Changing our “I am” to our “why” to build resilience, change direction, and bounce back rather than being stuck. She recommended constantly verbalizing, “I am, I decide, I choose.”
Like individuals, organizations go through the same steps of stress and tend to use a short-term response to stay afloat or just manage to “get through the now.” They are not as skilled at taking care of people. Organizations need to develop a toolbox to build resilience within the organization. An organization can build resilience and functional teams by:
The disconnect happens organizations go into stress mode because it fuels stress and employee burnout, which costs a lot. Organizations need to think long term. They need to manage expectations, communicate with employees, and create a compelling vision that aligns with what will inspire staff.
Interested in taking a deeper dive and learning more? Watch to the full webinar here.
When you are feeling stressed, what coping skills work best for you?