How we help each other deal with stress in HRdirect

The amount of stress experienced in daily work is overwhelming at times.

Would you agree?

If your answer is yes, then you are definitely not alone.

This is what we saw reflected on our #Unfiltered – Our People Survey results in HRdirect; that stress was something we share, and it could feel overwhelming if we did not find a way to manage it.

As we carried our professional lives to our homes, we got introduced to new challenges which we couldn’t anticipate. For some of us it became harder to stay organized, manage time and keep up with social interactions. Some of us had to find a new balance between parenthood and work life. Some did not have suitable working conditions at home. We all went through a life altering change and had to find ways to adapt quickly. We had to re-adjust the way we work and communicate; and this required a re-adjustment of the way we cope.

We had a look at our team members’ backgrounds and realized the solution was in sharing experience and extending knowledge. Several of our colleagues have been practicing certain stress management methods and were willing to share their experience in the area. With this, a stress management initiative took its roots in HRdirect: Don’t Let Stress Overwhelm You.

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Reflective of its name, this workshop is focused on helping us manage stress before we get overwhelmed by it. The aim is to equip all participants with various easy-to-do exercises that can help coping with negative effects of stress. The exercises vary from journaling to breathing, drawing to self-hypnosis; and the sessions introduce these exercises in relation to concepts such as perception, compassion and reflection.

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The workshop is focused entirely on the wellbeing of its participants. It is our way of changing the perception of stress and turning it into a common challenge rather than a solitary, tense state of being. So far, the feedback was very positive on the initiative; the participants stated that they “enjoyed the variety”, “learned something new each day” and that this “great workshop” has “made a big difference”. Don’t Let Stress Overwhelm you is currently ongoing in HRdirect and we are getting ready for our last round at the moment.

As we mentioned the importance of sharing experience, let’s end this article with a small exercise from the workshop. Did you know that breathing can help you fall asleep, slow your heartbeat and provide relaxation in tense situations? Have you ever heard of 4-7-8 breathing technique?

Try sitting at the edge of your chair; your back straightshoulders relaxed, feet fully placed on the groundhands freely placed over your knees.

If you’re practicing the method for sleep regulation, then find a comfortable place and lay on your back.

Try to be aware of your body. Is it tense? Is it relaxed? Is it uncomfortable?

Let all your breath out; slow but steady.

Once all the air is exhaled from your lungs, take a diaphragmatic (belly) breath as you count to four.

Hold the breath, as you count to seven.

Let your breath out as you count to eight.

Repeat the exercise four times in a row. Try to keep your focus only on inhaling and exhaling. As you keep practicing the method, you can gradually go up to eight full breaths in a row.

When you are finished with four consecutive breaths, try to observe your body’s reaction to this exercise. Is anything different?”