We all have “red zones” when it comes to handling distress or negative stress in the workplace (not to mention in our personal lives). Well, in order to learn effectively, be productive, and have an enjoyable time at work, distress has to be managed. But how can it be managed when everything is so stressful these days? With all the emails, text messages, voicemail, meetings, goals, reports, administrative tasks (I’m getting stressed just making this list), how is it possible to get a handle on distress?
You don’t have to read numerous books or sit on your desk practicing Yoga. There are a few simple things you can do to move out of the “red zone.” If you’re thinking “I don’t have time,” relax. This won’t take a lot of time, or energy, or brainpower—just a few minutes to focus and make a plan.
- The first thing to recognize is that some stress, called “eu-stress,” is good. It’s a motivator, a means to get things done. Top athletes have eu-stress. Happy life events create eu-stress. So realize that some stress is actually good.
- To get out of your personal “red zone,” make a list of the things that cause you distress and then list the specific effects of the causes. For example, a cause of distress might be too many changes happening in the workplace at once. The effects of this could be: fear of the unknown, unproductive thinking, inability to complete all necessary tasks on time, etc.
- After you list the causes and effects of distress, group them into categories.
- Develop a plan to address the major causes and effects of your own personal distress using the 20/80 rule: address the 20% that cause you 80% of your personal distress.
- Revisit your list on a quarterly basis to maintain a healthy work attitude and productivity.
With so many things going on in every aspect of our lives today, take time for yourself so you can stay out of the “red zone.”
Johanna Lubahn is Managing Director of Call Center Services for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.