Build Resilience in Simple Acts

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I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to feel some pressure with the holidays, school, work, oh and that pesky pandemic that won’t seem to go away.

With all of this pressure, stress, and sometimes anxiety, you might be wondering how you’re going to make it to the end of this year without going completely mad.

Well, fear not, I’ve got some ideas for you to help relieve some of that stress and increase your resilience. Now we don’t have much time, so let’s get to it.

Here are four simple things you can do to get on the right side of stress and anxiety whether you are trying to reduce your own or help others reduce theirs.

Connect with curiosity.

What does this mean? It means approaching others with an open mind and a willingness to see things from the other person’s perspective. It means taking an interest in them and resisting the urge to talk about yourself and focus instead on what the other person is sharing. Really listen and ask curious questions to learn more.

Don’t try to add on, or me too their story. Just listen, reflect what they’ve shared, and ask a nice, interested question.

Sometimes we may have more challenging or difficult conversations. In these cases, we need to keep our curious nature and not get swayed by emotions. When we go into a difficult conversation, we need to reduce (and if possible, remove) bias and judgment. Instead of coming with a preset agenda, go in completely curious to the other person’s point of view. In fact, approach the other person with positivity. Give them the benefit of the doubt before you even speak. (Hint, hint: this is a great way to build trust.)

If you know Stacey is behind on a project, maybe say something like, “Stacey, I realize you’ve been given a pretty short timeline for the project, and we’re getting close to the deadline. Where do you think you are seeing the biggest obstacle or bottleneck?”

This takes some of the pressure off of Stacey because you didn’t go in saying, “Stacey, I know we are getting close to the deadline for the project. Where are we right now?”

While not accusatory, that line of questioning typically hurts the person who is behind. Asking what the obstacles or bottlenecks are helps to relieve some of Stacey’s stress so she can answer clearly and honestly. Plus, you get the bonus of a realistic, helpful answer. Win win!

Give emotional support.

It’s important to be compassionate during stressful times. As a leader, you’re ultimately accountable for business results. And you need your people performing at the top of their game to help you achieve those results. When times are tough (and any time really), you need to be caring and supportive.

If we keep with Stacey in our conversation, we might say something like, “Things have been really busy for all of us lately. How are you holding up? What can I do to make things go more smoothly? What can I do to help?”

Providing emotional support shows you care and are attuned to the situation and the people involved. This builds trust, loyalty, and a sense of belonging. It also build honesty and transparency. And you might even find out how you can be more effective in your work by supporting your team members.

Create a smile file.

This one works both ways in the relationship. Creating a smile file for yourself means collecting all the nice things that people say about you in emails or notes, or awards, or anything that makes you smile.

Here’s how it works. When you find yourself smiling and feeling good about someone or something, try to capture it in some way. So if it is an email, just put it in a folder to look at later. If it is an award you just won or a nice note someone wrote, snap a picture of it with your phone and store it in a special folder. In fact, snap a picture of your favorite emails to keep them all together.

This has a double positive effect. First, you are taking a moment to savor a happy, rewarding moment, and second, you will now have the opportunity to relive those happy moments at a later date when you might need a little pick-me-up.

Remember I said, this one works both ways in the relationship. Well, here’s how. You start giving people a reason to smile. Say something nice about someone. Compliment their hair, their shoes, their assertiveness or flexibility in a difficult situation. When you make others smile, you both win!

Make time for lunch.

Seriously. Make time for lunch. We all find ourselves chained to our desks and this is just not healthy. We convince ourselves that we can get more done if we just eat at our desks. Really? How enjoyable is that? And how much time do you spend cleaning up your desk after you’ve spilled your drink or dripped dressing or scattered crumbs everywhere? And really is that how you want to be seen? Like you are so disorganized, so bad at time management, so bad at your job that you have to work through lunch?

No. That’s not how you want to be seen. You want to be seen as a person who is so well organized, so good at managing time, and so good at their job, that they have the awareness and capacity to share lunch with a colleague, exchanging ideas, learning new things, and creating positive, professional relationships.

Plus you’re getting up and moving around, experience different locations, and recharging your mind and your body. It’s good for you and you know it…now you need to do it! Start making time for a proper lunch each day.

Do yourself a professional favor; once a week invite someone from another department or higher in up the company to grow your business acumen.

So, that’s it. Four ways to get on the right side of stress and anxiety, while building trust among the team, positive relationships across the organization, and feeling more hopeful, helpful, and healthful.

So, when will you set that first lunch date away from your desk? How will you create your smile file reminding you just how awesome you are? And how will you connect with curiosity and provide emotional support to others when times are tough? Do these things and you will soon see more smiles, more opportunities, and more wins for you and everyone around you.

Your Mindful Moment:

Find opportunities to de-stress with breaks for curiosity, emotional support, smiles, and lunch with a colleague.

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