Stress can be defined as a trigger that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain. Stress is our body’s response to anything that requires attention or action. This trigger can be related to work, finances, relationships, parenting, and other day-to-day inconveniences. If the situation causing stress continues for long, it can harm our overall health. This write-up briefly attempts to provoke reflection about proactively handling work-related stress before it becomes unmanageable. Here are a few things to note –

  • When we are doing something that we know and have mastery on, we do not experience stress.  However, if we remain in this zone of familiarity, we get bored, and our growth stops as well. 
  • If a new aspect or variable is added to our assignment, there is a bit of stress because we need to figure this thing out. This stress challenges us, helps us grow, and keeps us engaged. This is healthy stress because growth is an innate human need.
  • When we face a challenge beyond our capacity, or there are high expectations of output from us but, we have no control over the inputs or the circumstances, the stress puts us in distress and is unhealthy. Here we need to think about –
    • Is this challenge really insurmountable for me?
    • What skills do I   need to resolve this?
    • Can I change my perspective to deal with it?
    • Can I get help from someone to help myself?
    • If there is no way to overcome this, what are my options? 
  • At times, the stress is caused by consistently long hours of work. In this world, which is now a global village, we work across time zones and forget to rest and recharge. This can be distressing too, if we can not muster the courage to highlight that we are overloaded and need help or if we are part of a culture where long hours is a norm. 

In every situation, we need recourse to stress-busters. These could vary for different people, e.g., sharing meals with family, being in nature, listening to music, meditation, or pursuing hobbies. It is also important to draw boundaries for self and others. 

So, think about, are you stressed or in distress? Can you transform your distress into stress? What stress-busters will you engage in to stay balanced and healthy?