Stress curbs creativity – 5 tips to better manage it

As you look at the recharged and relaxed colleague returning to work after their summer break, you’re guaranteed to hear some comment on how refreshed they look, then wonder how long it will be before the calm demeanour wears off. One week? One day? A couple of hours?

Stress his pervasive in our modern world, and work can a major driver. Whether you’re about to jet off on holiday, or you’re just returning, here’s 5 tips that might help manage the stressful return to work.

1. A problem shared: Too many people feel too much responsibility to solve everything themselves.  Even where there’s a healthy culture of sharing & collective learning, we feel the need to PROVE that we can do it.  My thoughts: DON’T! Two heads are better than one, sharing is caring, pool your resources and seek assistance in cracking the tough nut.  I respect people more when they work collaboratively than those who seek praise for doing it alone.

2. Step away from the detail: Just the other day, I found myself slipping into detail that did not concern me and ignoring my own peoples’ competencies in my rush to fix a problem.  I had to pause a moment and realise my role in achieving resolution – to support my amazing team in identifying a solution and implementing it.  I created unnecessary stress for them and me by getting into the detail, when I had already delegated the task. So take a moment to review your stress points and hand off those that belong to others!

3. Escalate!: Back on the “we are not all superheros” point, there are times when we need to accept that resolution to an issue will not be achieved without engaging our superiors. They are, after all in a more senior role and able to address certain items that we can’t.  Instead of seeing this as defeat, see the escalation as part of the solution.

4. Take a walk: Everyone who works with me knows how much I enjoy my walk around the block.  It’s a way to pause the madness, and take time with a colleague or alone to mull over a question or challenge. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that physical activity stimulates the brain, and changing the scenery from office meeting room to outside also nurture a fresh set of thoughts.  When you are going around in circles and realise you’ve hit a wall, taking a walk can help break the deadlock.

5. Sleep on it: Scientists report that it’s probably the most powerful medicine known to man – sleep refreshes, renews, rejuvenates.  Dreams brings us new ideas, whilst deep sleep restores our healthy balance.  If stress is stopping or impeding your sleep, this is the first place to start. Meditation, yoga, or counting sheep – whatever your chosen method, focus first on getting enough sleep, and you’ll find that this has an amazing effect on your stress level.

Obvious and simple advice, perhaps, but I for one will be doing my utmost to follow my own advice on my return from my summer break!

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