Focus on the Whole Team: Reduce Stress, Enhance Outlook

November 14th, 2017 | by Walt Whitfield
Focus on the Whole Team: Reduce Stress, Enhance Outlook
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Stress

With the semester having almost run its course, sports seasons blending, and the holidays upon us, stress is high. In my article “Stress Management at Work,” I outlined a few tips to handling stress at work. The first tip was to identify your stressors. Understanding what is stressing you out allows you to know how to properly respond. Building certain behavior skills can reduce stress.

Relaxation Skills

An athletic department job is stressful at times. Major capital projects, multimillion-dollar contracts, and a highly competitive industry are just a few variables that ramp up the stress within the offices. That is before throwing in your own personal issues. It is important to develop a technique that is calming and brings about situational awareness. What method you choose is not of issue. Pick a technique that you feel comfortable with. Great choices include yoga, meditation, or Tai Chi.  

Breathing Skills

Every athlete has to deal with stress during competition. Typically, the better athletes handle the mental side of a sport and keep their emotions under control. Think about the last time you were heavily stressed around the workplace. Did you thrive? Or did you succumb? Do you recall how your emotions affected your breathing? Deep breathing is a great way to control emotions through controlled breathing. Basically, deep breathing relaxes the body by lowering both the breathing rate and heart rate.  

Positive Decompressing Skills

How often have you went to a home football game and noticed a coach yelling at a player? Looks off-putting. Harsh. And you think to yourself, “Coach, you can handle it better than that.” Now, look at your professional career. How have you handled situations within the workplace? Do you add to the turmoil or find your own personal way to ease the stress? It is important to find ways to positively decompress. You can do that through hobbies. Humor is effective. And some deal with conflict right away by voicing an opinion or making a decision. The key is to find a positive approach. Negative vices only kick the issue down the road. 

Refuting Irrational Ideas

Working in the athletic department has no doubt gave you a front row seat to view the most irrational person on the planet…the fan. Tickets late to arrive. The team loses a close game to a rival. Stadium renovation brings reseating. It is amazing what fans will complain about. It’s almost downright comical. During times of stress, it is important to refute irrational ideas. You may get a call from a fan using harsh words. Do not take the call personally. You must understand that things are not being done to you but around you. Keep that in mind so to keep a level head during the chaos.

Stress is an ever-increasing problem in today’s workplace. In combination, people’s ability to deal with stress positively is decreasing. It is important to build behaviors that help you properly control your stress levels. Important behavior skills in relaxation, breathing, positive decompressing, and refuting irrational ideas are great ways to stay in control. 

Walt Whitfield About Walt Whitfield
Walter Whitfield is an employee wellness consultant and founder of Lavoro Workplace Wellness where he helps businesses improve their workplace through employee wellness strategies. He has worked with corporations like Chevron, BP, and Seadrill. Walter is a former college athlete for Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns where he competed in cross country and track, winning Sunbelt conference titles in the 3k Steeplechase and 5k. He is married, has 3 kids, and loves all things New Orleans Saints and Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns.

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