As the pandemic measures continue and restrictions, while starting to loosen, remain mostly in place, the impact on our mental wellness continues to increase and compound. The nature of stress is it is cumulative when the source of that stress is constant and unrelenting.
We need to manage our response to stress by managing our emotions, actions, and beliefs. They are all interconnected and build on each other forming a spiral of experiences.
You can control whether this is a spiral down or a spiral up by addressing emotions, actions, and beliefs.
In this post, I will focus on managing emotions.
Emotions need to be recognized or identified. Having the emotion itself is not good or bad… it just is. You should not judge or assign value to your emotions, or to those of your team. Emotions just are. They need to be acknowledged. This doesn’t mean it is ok to outwardly express negative emotions in all situations. It does mean you need to understand you are feeling something.
The next step is to deal with the emotions with the thinking or rational part of our brain. This may mean talking it out with someone, or looking at the underlying cause, or making some changes in our actions or beliefs. It may require a release, such as physical exercise, a good cry, or some other appropriate expression. All of these need to be done in the right place and at the right time.
If it is not an appropriate time or setting to have a good cry or get up and go for a run, emotions can be managed with a number of techniques, many are tied to various mindfulness practices. Here is a link to an easy to use mindfulness practice that is designed specifically for the workplace MindWell U. I can provide additional options and resources to consider.
The best way of managing emotions in the midst of a stressful or chaotic situation is to simply take a deep breath. In my in person and virtual training sessions, this is one of my favourite take home exercises. There are many variations that can be helpful. Find one that works for you and practice when you’re not in a stressful situation so it will be readily available when you need it.
As a leader, once you have identified your own emotions and are managing them you need to turn to your staff team. What are their emotions and how are they managing them?
To be able to determine this, you will need to have empathy and be open and approachable with all of your team members. You will need to recognise their signs and indicators that they are doing well or they are not doing well. Some people are easier to “read” than others. The ones who are harder to read really require a more intentional connection to be able to open up. Providing opportunities to meet privately and discuss accomplishments and identify potential challenges is a great way to build relationships and provides opportunity to discuss, without judgement, the emotional state of team members.
Just as with your emotions, those of your team are not good or bad, they just are. If your team is finding emotions such as anxiety or frustration or depression are getting in the way of being productive (personally as well as professionally) you should recommend supports and resources. The MindWell U program is one. Feel free to contact me for a list of other options. Many are at no cost or a nominal fee.
Once you are aware of and managing your own emotions and aware of the emotions of your team members, you are now in the best position to manage your relationships with your team and support them in managing their own emotions. Providing a safe open supportive environment will prepare you and your team to be more effective.
With emotions well managed, especially those consuming a lot of our energy like stress, anxiety, and depression, you and your team members will be more productive, focused, and be in a better position to succeed both now and as the return to work on site occurs.
If you would like to discuss any of this or related topics in more detail, please contact me to book your complimentary, confidential discussions session at firstname.lastname@example.org
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