Managing Stress

The harsh realities of today’s economy means we all are expected to do more with less, both on the job and at home.  How can companies help their employees cope with increased stress?  In the past emphasis has been placed on individual stress management, often focused on reaction to a singular event.  


One alternative is stress resilience.  It involves a new mindset, “looking for a way to build stress into a normal life as opposed to keeping it away from the normal life.”  Stress resilience helps individuals anticipate stress and how to respond.  This helps them stay calm and better able to mitigate the stress.  Yoga and other calming tools replace the fight-or-flight model.


Another approach promotes building capacity for stress.  This requires managing energy rather than time.  Providing opportunities for renewal is crucial, whether that be deep breathing exercises, taking a walk outdoors, calling a supporter or loved one, or taking 5 minutes to listen to music.  This renewal then helps funnel and renew energy into high performance.


Unfortunately, often the workplace has worn down its employees.  Policy and personnel changes, benefits and salary cuts, increased workloads, layoffs, longer hours, increased insurance cost-sharing – all have added to employee stress.  Helping employees have some control, such as flexible work schedules, can help.  Also, organizing a lunch-time walking group or yoga sessions can be beneficial.  Employers need to show they care.


From Employee Benefit News, January 2012 issue, pp. 10-11.