As we all work with a certain level of stress, it is important to know how we can manage stress to ensure it is kept at a manageable level.
First step is to be able to recognize when stress levels are getting high. Whether one is suffering from domestic stress; if one is undergoing divorce or separation, or has suffered bereavement; whether an argument with the spouse or boss is still bothering; If worries are building to an unbearable level; If one has been despondent and moody – then the workplace is probably not where one should be till the stress is eliminated and or reduced.
Even when experiencing low levels of domestic stress, stress levels can build up at the workplace, particularly when there is a multitude of decisions to make and tasks to complete. Before this occurs, we need to be proactive in managing the stress load so that it does not become unmanageable. As airline professionals, we need to learn how to reduce or prevent those stressors we can control in the interest of safety.
Physiological stressors can be managed by strategies such as:
- Maintaining good physical fitness and bodily function.
- Engaging in a program of regular physical exercise.
- Getting enough sleep to prevent fatigue.
- Eating a balanced diet.
- Learning and practicing relaxation techniques.
Physical stressors can also be reduced by making the work environment as stress free as possible.
In high-pressure situations, stress can be reduced by establishing priorities and by appropriately delegating tasks and responsibilities to other members of the team.
In a low-pressure situation, where fatigue, boredom and over-familiarity with the task are the greatest hazards, paying careful attention to environmental conditions such as heat, humidity, noise and lighting can help to maintain alertness.
STRESS COPING STRATEGIES
For coping strategies to be effective, we need to identify and deal with the source of the stress, and not just the symptoms. For example, delegating workload when necessary, appropriately prioritizing tasks and sorting out problems rather than letting them fester. We cannot always change the situation, it may be outside our control but even then, there are a number of coping strategies we can use. Establishing peer support groups, reaching out to family and friends and in some cases seeking professional help are all strategies for coping with stress.
There are almost as many techniques, practices, and treatments for dealing with stress as there are causes of it. From ancient relaxation techniques to the latest thinking on proper nutrition, from breathing exercises to repetitive prayer, there are numerous tools to help people cope. Some techniques can be especially beneficial under certain circumstances, but not as helpful under others.
Mini-relaxations are also equally helpful in thwarting stress before an important meeting, while stuck in traffic, or when faced with people or situations that induce stress.
Understanding what works for us as individuals, and for the stressful circumstances at hand, can require an exploration of a number of stress reduction methods. And as always, it is important to know when to seek professional help.
These efforts carry the rewards of better health, greater peace of mind, and a smoother course through life.
As goes an old popular song….”Don’t worry, be happy”