How to Deal with Stress and Change in the Workplace
It’s constant. You switch positions. Have more to do with less resources. Need new skills. Then, the technology changes. Or the regulations. Or both. As comedian Gilda Radner noted as she lay dying from cancer, “It’s always something.” Everyone battles with how to deal with stress and change in the workplace. Customer service speakers (like me) want to help you chill out so you can serve your clients well.
The next time you’re tempted to scream (or sob), try these steps instead:
- Acknowledge that Change is Difficult. Even good change brings stress. (Remember your first year of marriage?) One way of coping with change is to admit to yourself that you feel angry, worn out, tense or fearful. Ideally, jot down why you feel the way you do. Journaling will help you relax.
- Plan “Next Steps.” Often, we go through a change and feel stuck. The old way may or may not have been ideal, but at least it was familiar. The new way is unknown. Instead of dreading what lies ahead, tackle it. If needed, learn a new skill. If you feel unappreciated, sign up for a project which will get you noticed. Be proactive. Instead of resisting the change, lean into it. The worst feeling is feeling stuck.
- Remember Misery Loves Company. Find someone who has gone through or is going through what you’re going through and discuss it. Express how you feel and ask for advice or support. It’s helpful to know you’re not alone. If that person encourages you and makes you laugh, all the better.
- Take Care of Yourself. Work out! Try to sleep eight hours each night. Curtail alcohol. Eat healthy foods. Get massages. Breathe deeply. Just because there’s change in the workplace doesn’t mean the accompanying stress has to loiter inside you.
- Look for New Adventures. Some wag noted, “When God closes one door, He opens another, but it’s heck in the hallway!” While change can feel difficult, determine to enjoy the fresh skills you develop, the new friends you make, and the novel situations in which you find yourself. When we change, we grow.
Finally, remember what my old news director, John Whitson, used to say: “Nothing lasts forever.” No matter how bad a situation is, it’ll pass. And some day, these will be the good ole days!