It’s almost February and you’re already feeling the pressure of future projects. Your New Year resolutions of avoiding desk clutter and keeping your email inbox organized are only partially fulfilled. And, to top it all off, you have a deadline that’s keeping you on your toes. Before you reach for that stress ball, take a moment to channel that pre-Spring stress into some well-needed productivity.
A little deadline anxiety is okay. While it might seem counterproductive, the research of Robert Yerkes and John Dodson actually shows that efficiency increases when stress increases. However, according to Harvard Business Review, there’s a fine line between healthy stress and unhealthy stress.
With “40% of all workers today feeling overworked, pressured, and squeezed to the point of anxiety, depression, and disease,” stress has become one of the leading reasons most people visit the doctor. As a staggering 60% of doctor visits stem from stress-related complaints and illnesses, according to the American Institute of Stress, American businesses lose, in total, $300 billion annually due to stress. Understanding that balance between acceptable and unacceptable levels of stress can not only help you and your team in the long run but is vital to keeping this loss low. So how do you tap into that productive stress?
- Be Positive, Your Health Depends on It
First of all, before you can channel that stress into productivity, you need to believe that stress is good for you. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s so important. Kelly McGonigal argues in her TEDtalk that changing how you think about stress can actually make you healthier. And, in a study that measured how stress affected people’s health within an 8 year span by Keller, Litzelman, et al., their results showed that people who experienced a lot of stress, but didn’t view it as harmful, had the lowest risk of dying. Within those 8 years, the researchers observed that the 182,000 Americans that died prematurely, died not from stress, but from the belief that stress is bad for you.
While there is a lot more research that needs to be done before these findings are implemented in the medical field, there is something in the power of positivity that can help you manage stressful situations. Rather than thinking of stress as a hindrance for your work, think of it as what Business Insider calls, “anxiety-driven growth”. You’re taking on a challenge that requires a skill set beyond what you already possess, hence the anxiety, but once the task is completed you’ll have grown.
- Communicate with Your Residents and Team
If you’ve ever had a project you’ve worked on with co-workers, a group assignment in school, or even a meeting in a club, you’ll know that if there’s no communication between you and the rest of your group, then it’s extremely difficult to complete the project. The communication disconnect creates stress itself.
While this might add more weight, McGonigal points out in her TEDtalk, that your body has natural defense mechanisms for stress. Oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone,” compels us to strengthen close relationships. It makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about; it gives you more empathy. Surprisingly, it’s a part of the stress response. When you get stressed, Oxytocin makes you want to communicate with others.
If you’ve noticed a disconnect with your team or residents, don’t fight your body’s stress response mechanism. Take some time to reconnect and make sure those relationships are still intact. You don’t have to go out of your way to talk to them in person or over the phone; social media networking has been proven to release Oxytocin as well. So tweet, text, message, or post something to your residents. You’ll physically and mentally relieve stress, while using means that are practical to you and your resident’s schedule.
- Know When to Take a Step Back
If your stress is unmanageable, you need to take a step back. Talk to someone or take a break. Or, determine what your main stress trigger is and talk to your manager about it. Bottling it up inside will help nothing.
If you need to take a day off, even if it’s a half day, do it. Taking a day off and not checking work email will help your physical health and help stop your company from collecting any additional financial losses involving non-productivity and (in worst case scenario) stress-induced medical expenses. Once you’ve regrouped, go back to the task at hand and figure out a new, more efficient way to conquer it.
There are many different ways people combat the stress in their life. From stress balls, mindfullness to massages, there are plenty of things you can do to get you out of your head and help you relax after a hard day of work. These are good ways to give yourself a breather, but they don’t necessarily help you hugely manage stress as its occurring. By changing how you see stress overall, you reduce your need for frequent outside relief, depending on yourself and your body to turn stress into a positive and growth making tool. It’s easier said than done, but by trying to stay positive, communicating with your residents and team, and understanding your own limits in conjunction with outside relief methods, you can develop stress-reducing tendencies that’ll bring you closer to your goals.
As a property manager, what are you stressed the most about? What ways do you use to cope with the stress you have regularly? Leave us a comment down below and share to someone who needs it.
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