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 Stress which may once have been caused by running from a lion, has been replaced by urgent emails, a directive from a boss, expectations of self, financial pressure or even the news.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.
3. Identifying and accepting change.
· Our world right now will inevitably change. Whatever that change will be, it will be ok and we will adapt. Recognising and embracing change will help us get there.
· Acknowledge that the past is in the past, it holds no place in the present and it certainly will not appear in the future. We can learn from the past, but we cannot dwell on it. Change will happen, and our actions in the present will dictate what our future looks like. For example, we can work on our personal brand, exercise or write up our priorities to help look after our future selves.
· Spending too much time thinking about the past can lead to depression. Spending too much time thinking about the future can cause anxiety. Focus on this moment in time.
4. No need to rush
· Multitasking can be great but it can also make us less efficient. Focus on one thing at a time (use your priority list).
· Wake up every day with a to do list: prioritise it, achieve it and reflect on it. Tick off your achievements, let your body rejuvenate and finish anything left over, tomorrow.
· This is so relevant right now as days may seem to roll into each other. Completing a to do list can give you a sense of accomplishment each day.
· Remember to pause, read, chat, laugh, enjoy breaks – even enjoy a kitkat!
Advice on Career Change
· Go for it! We all have the ability to learn and challenge ourselves.
· Remember there was always a time before, a time in the present and a time in the future – there has been a time when you moved from different stages in your life and challenged yourself. Why walk away from a challenge now?
· Start with one foot in front of the other.
If you have any other questions, you can send them to Vara via email or firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for our upcoming webinars, follow the link below.