How to flick the switch on stress

Author and occupational therapist Angela Lockwood explains what busy EAs need to do when facing a stressful situation in your career.

Just breathe
The simplest and most important action you can take to flick the switch is to just breathe. It can feel a little ‘out there’ talking about our breath particularly in relation to work. However, it is the very thing that sustains us. Behaviourally
when we are feeling under pressure we hold our breath and deprive ourselves of oxygen. Paying attention to our breath reconnects us to our energy source while giving us the time to stop and notice what is happening within us

Give yourself a break
When we feel overwhelmed we will do one of two things; keep pushing through hoping that it will all go away or we will look for solutions that usually
add to our schedule further escalating our overwhelm. Take a moment to just stop. Shut the door for 10 minutes, turn your phone on silent and stare out
the window. Life will continue to pressure you if you let it. Turn the pressure off, give yourself a break no matter how small and your body and mind
will thank you for it.

Create boundaries
You would have heard the saying “If you need something done, ask a busy person.” This saying highlights a very important issue that busy people face, not saying ‘no’ enough. People will always keep delegating to busy people, because busy people keep saying yes! A way to regain control of overwhelm is to create boundaries around your time and your priorities by saying no. This
communicates a strong message that your time is not an endless resource, that you are clear on your value offering and skills and it encourages/
forces other people to step up and share the load.

Establish healthy habits
Our habits are actions we take throughout our day that we repeat or call upon in response to a situation or emotion. They either serve us well such as eating greens or taking our lunch outdoors or going for a walk in a break, or they work against us like smoking, not getting enough sleep or eating fast food at our desk. Observing the habits we take with us from day to day provides us with valuable answers as to why we are feeling the way we do or performing the way we are.

Slow down more often
Take stock of the lessons and ensure you do it more often. When we can focus on our breathing, take breaks when we need to, and communicate our boundaries we shift from a state of reactivity to being agile and available to respond to the unexpected challenges that pop up throughout the day.
When we are proactive and at a state of ready we are able to make better decisions and bring our best.

Angela Lockwood is an author and occupational therapist whose corporate education programs and keynotes help organisations prioritise their health and wellbeing. She is also the author of Switch Off. How to find calm in a noisy world and The Power of Conscious Choice.