Dealing with stress

For Bauer Media Group, as for all organizations, the pandemic has a significant impact on the way we work. Our teams across all our countries are working together to manage and mitigate the impact of the virus. For example, we have established a network of market-based crisis management teams, which were coordinated at group level in an initial phase and now work independently in every business unit. This network ensures that our employees in each country receive the advice and support they need.

[Header photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash]

Such additional measures are important and necessary – and they pay off – but of course they also increase the workload. We are all affected by comparable, individual situations. We have all experienced extra stress by now and have our own ways of dealing with it. But some methods are more helpful than others. We look at some good – and not-so-good – ways to handle stress.

Eating vs. sweating

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Stressed people may feel like reaching for a chocolate bar rather than running shoes, but that would be a mistake. Soothing strained nerves with high-calorie comfort foods will make the brain begin to associate negative emotions with the need to eat. That doesn’t mean you can never indulge, just make sure it’s not your go-to coping mechanism whenever you’re having a tough time.

Exercise, on the other hand, is the ultimate stress-buster. It helps produce more feel-good endorphins and metabolise stress hormones. People who exercise regularly sleep better, are less depressed, calmer and more focused. Being active outside, even if it's just a brisk walk, lets you benefit from the vitamin D in sunlight as well, which has been shown to elevate people’s moods.

Unhealthy habits vs. relaxing habits

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Reaching for yet another cup of coffee, a cigarette, or an alcoholic drink at the end of the day may feel better in the moment but the effects don’t last. In fact, nicotine, alcohol, sugar and caffeine all tend to increase the negative impacts stress is already having on the body, like raising blood pressure and keeping you awake at night. They can also easily become habit-forming and have been shown to have detrimental long-term effects on health.

Rather give one of the many of tried and tested relaxation techniques a go. Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to reduce stress long term. And deep, slow breathing can trick your body into feeling calmer in the moment. Some people find visualisation techniques very helpful: simply close your eyes and imagine a thing or place that makes you feel happy and calm. You can also just do something like play with a pet or listen to music if you find that effective.

Taking on too much vs. saying no

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Many employees are sometimes juggling a lot and often feel compelled to take on tasks they don’t have time to do, whether it’s at work, at home or a favour for a friend. The result is often a vicious circle of feeling increasingly overwhelmed. Although most of us struggle to prioritise and say "no", learning to do so when you don’t have the capacity to take on any more will ensure that you can dedicate yourself to those things that really do matter.

Getting stuck in thoughts vs. using your hands

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Thinking through the options for tackling an issue is smart, but often stress makes it harder for us to "switch off". One of the best ways avoid getting stuck in thoughts is to use your hands. Concentrating on a manual task will help calm your mind. This could be anything from knitting to woodwork to art to gardening to playing a musical instrument to peeling potatoes. Once your hands and fingers begin to fall into familiar rhythm, your brain automatically begins to quiet.

Taking it out on people vs. talking to people

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Being under a lot of stress can make one irritable and can take its toll on your most important relationships. Talking to family, friends and close colleagues about what is stressing you out is often a relief. Putting thoughts and worries into words can go a long way to helping you put things in perspective. And getting an objective viewpoint or just a sympathetic ear will make you feel better. It will also help those around you understand why you might not be your usual self.

People are different. Not every healthy stress management strategy will work for everybody. What we find important is that everyone of our staff finds a few that do for her-/himself, so when things feel like they are too much, we always have a way to cope.