‘You can’t control the waves, but you can learn how to surf’ – Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Never has the business world been busier. And it’s not to going to change. We as human beings are always going to encounter stress. This too is not going to change.
We asked John Slattery, motivational speaker, MC, trainer, facilitator and coach, to write a blog for us on the topic or mental health and stress, and to share some tips on managing this. Here’s what he had to say…
Within this busy world of business, and against the backdrop of the realities of stress, we exist. Our goal is to find a way to exist in this world as sustainably as possible.
In this post I want to (a) keep it simple and (b) focus on two pieces of advice within your control to action.
(a) Become friends with my pal Des.
Des is very calm and measured. Des enjoys the good times in work and copes well in challenging times. How is this so for Des? Well, because Des is an acronym. For diet, exercise and sleep. If you can create a good relationship with Des, then this relationship will be the foundation for good mental health. You are the best judge of what good exercise and diet looks like for you in a week. And advice suggests that 7-9 hours sleep a night will keep you good.
It is in your control to keep your relationship with Des healthy. This will be the backbone, always, to managing stress and keeping your mental health in a good place.
(b) Challenge your work situation.
Apart from sleep, the biggest single activity we spend time on is work. It is going to be a huge influence in how your mental health is on a given day. So, I’d like to offer you two questions to assess how your work is contributing to your mental health:
- how happy are you with your current career direction?
- how happy are you with the current experience you are getting in work?
If you were driving a car and you had a feeling, consciously or unconsciously, that you were driving the wrong direction, how would you feel? And if this car journey in the wrong direction was eight hours long, for five days each week, how would you feel about being in the car?
In this busy world we often forget to take time to assess with how happy we are with the direction of our career. It’s a critical question to check-in on. It may lead to action, or validation. Both of which can have a hugely positive impact on your mental health and your stress levels.
The same applies too for assessing your current experience in work. As an auditor, I was neither great at, nor enjoyed, audit fieldwork. I loved the people aspect of the work. Had I more awareness at that stage of my work life I could have asked to see how I could get more people related experience. It would have contributed positively to my mental health and given me relevant experience to help get where I am now 10 years on. Reflection and action of this nature could create this desired two-fold outcome for you.
Two Practical Actionable Areas…
It’s impossible for one post to touch on all the different aspects of stress/mental health in the workplace (thankfully because I sure don’t have all the answers!). These though are two practical actionable areas that can definitely contribute positively to your levels of stress and mental health.