Updated: Jun 18, 2020
We invited expert psychotherapist and hypnotherapist with years of experience in the travel industry, Vara Glover, to talk to us about managing stress. To gain control over our stress and anxiety levels, we first need a sound understanding of why and how it actually occurs. In today’s webinar, Vara explains what stress is, the importance of understanding it and becoming a critical thinker, and gives us effective strategies to get us through the difficult circumstances we’re facing right now.
· It is our bodies’ way of reacting to a situation that might make us uncomfortable. It is part of our genetic makeup intended to save our lives. While this may have worked in the stone age, it doesn’t serve us very well today. Stress which may once have been caused by running from a lion, has been replaced by urgent emails, a directive from a boss, expectations of self, financial pressure or even the news.
· Should we let these stresses cause our heart rate to increase or our bodies to break out in a rash? By becoming critical thinkers, we recognise why our body reacts this way, and realise that our systems do not need to shut down or activate the same response – remember, we’re no longer being chased in the wilderness!
· Think about things more rationally and implement the strategies below to circumvent these stress reactors.
Catastrophising a Situation
· Often stress and anxiety can be caused by an amalgamation of lots of things which means we cannot deal or react in a way that serves us well.
· As humans we overthink, overanalyse and even create scenarios in our head which aren’t true. This is when critical thinking is important – rather than letting a thought build up, park it in its tracks. Vara uses the example of news – instead of retaining the information you hear, start to critically analyse it. Take away what works for you and disregard what doesn’t. We don’t know what will happen in 6 months, so why should stress over it?
· Especially as the travel industry faces many unknowns, we must realise these are external factors which we cannot control. There is nothing we can do about it, all we can control is our reaction to it.
· We need to become comfortable with uncertainty and not knowing what the future holds. But we do have the resilience to cope and silence the inner thoughts which cause stress and anxiety.
· Sometimes stress can be a good thing which keeps us motivated to achieve goals, but when it becomes debilitating, that’s when it is a problem starts to affect our energy, our health and our perspectives.
· Stress often originates from fear. Right now, we might be experiencing a fear of judgement, failure or uncertainty and this needs to be managed the same way as stress.
1. Identify what your priorities are for the day.
· Identify your biggest, maybe most difficult or hairy goals and target these first. This means your smaller tasks can be completed later, and they don’t become a way to procrastinate from the main tasks.
· Relaxation and exercise are important to prioritise as they clear the head.
· If you wake up at night from stress, have a notepad and pen next to you to jot down your thoughts. This means they’re out of your mind, you park it, and you can address it in the morning if need be.
· Headspace is a great app for meditation.
2. Saying No.
· We may feel overwhelmed by other peoples’ expectations of us or our self-expectations.
· Others’ expectations might be fear of judgment or how we’re perceived – you can say no or give people realistic expectations or deadlines.
· If it comes from self, measure up and analyse whether your expectations are fair or not and how you compare that. Sometimes if perfectionism runs into all aspects of our lives it becomes too much. Practice saying no and identify where the overload comes from.