Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How I Deal With My Stress

Stress is the hypest topic since the beginning of this fall. A new financial crisis is happening, a lot of companies have seen those past few months their shares collapsing, and facing this difficult time is causing a lot of stress. This is the reason why French magazine "Management" is dedicating its headline of its september issue to methods to fight against stress.

Also, the excellent Henri Kaufman  has edited a video about how to deal with stress at work.

The goal of all these techniques is to avoid the "burn out": it is when a person has lost all its energy and is not able to perform anymore. The worst with the burn out is that it is very difficult to recover from it.

As I am dealing with a very stressful period of time, I wanted to share with you my techniques in order not to be stressed, or at least to master it:

1: Understanding what is stress
As David Allen explains it in Getting Things Done, stress comes from a situation you can not control. That means when you face a situation, you are stressed. That also means that you need to understand the situation in order to take the control over. That also means that there are also some situations you can not control. And those situation, you should forget about them, because there are nothing that you can do about it. Hence, it should not stress you, and you should not think about it.

2. Eating
It is very important, while you are experiencing work overload, to have proper eating habits. "You are what you eat", or "what you eat is the fuel of your engine" are actually right. Therefore, I try:

  • Not to eat to much, because digestion is requiring a lot of energy.
  • Drink a lot of water because it irrigates the brain and therefore avoids migrains
  • Eat a lot of fruits + take vitamin pills to have a lot of energy.
  • Take coffee as a stimulating products, but not more than three a day to avoid heart issues.
Also, when I eat, I don't eat at my desk: I need to rest and to enjoy my eating time to relax.

3. Workout
Sport is very important to be in shape. It releases dopamine which helps you to feel good about yourself. It also helps me to be awake and actually to avoid tireness.

Therefore I swim for 30-40 minutes at my lunch break almost everyday, and play basketball three times a week.

Also, I am used to walk a lot in my offices and the walking process helps to irrigate the brain...

4. Talk about the stressful situation
It is important to talk and speak out the stressful situation you may face. Because most of the time, by simply saying it out loud, you clear up your mind. Also, by discussing it and sharing your thoughts with others, new solutions may spring up, and the serendipity may work.

5. Sleep
Sleeping and resting is very important. You need to recover from all the work you have to do.

6. Keep on being organized.

A lot of the time, as work piles up, a lot of people give up with the organizing process they have, because it requires most of the time a lot of time, and because they feel it won't help them. I believe it is wrong. Even though it may implies you will not complete all the work you are supposed to do, keeping on organizing your work will help you to remain efficient, and even though you want do all the work, you will be able to choose the less important tasks to leave aside.

7. What I refuse to do:
I refuse to be stressed by things I have no control over (see 1 section). If it is an unachievable task, then I don't want to feel bad about failing to achieve it.

I also refuse to take any kind of drugs. I believe this is false solutions.

8. Set up a deadline
You can not be stressed and fear a burn out on a long period of time. You must be able to identify how long the situation will be. Most of the time, there will be a clear deadline (a project deadline). If there are none, then you should give up right away. No one is immuned to burn out, so you are almost sure to get the wall. 

Hopefully it helps you.

Do  you have any tips you would like to share?