Stress is a common experience in modern professional and personal lives. Cindy Blekaitis, progamme manager at the Employee Assistance Programme, recently presented her tips for managing stress to Dart staff in a “Lunch & Learn” session called “Stress Management 101.”
Blekaitis said that the key to managing stress is understanding where it comes from and what steps people can take to handle it once it arrives, or to prevent it from happening at all.
Celebrating its 25th year on Grand Cayman, the Employee Assistance Programme has a mission to assist employees with resolving personal problems that may adversely affect their job performance. Stress is a factor that affects people differently and the Employee Assistance Programme’s staff recognised the need to educate people to focus on self-care in order to be the best worker, friend or family member they can be.
One of Blekaitis’ first tips for handling stress is to identity how you react to it. “Once you can identify how you react to stress, you can then work to change the way you perceive stress to control its outcome,” she said. “It’s important to remember what is stressful to one person may not affect another person so this is an individual task.”
Once you have taken the steps to identify how you react, it’s time to work on changing your perception, Blekaitis said, adding that although this is sometimes difficult, with practice, your mind will realise that some events are out of your control. However, how you react to events is something that is in your control.
Another tip to alleviate stress is to work on managing your time and commitments to allow for self-care and the nurturing of your friends and family to build a support system. Also, be sure you are leading a healthy lifestyle, which means getting an adequate amount of sleep and following a healthy diet.
Blekaitis said no one is perfect and stressful situations are inevitable, but there are also a few tools you can have in your back pocket for when these situations arise.
“Take a few moments to give yourself a hand massage and focus on the pressure points to calm yourself down,” suggested Blekaitis, instructing those at the presentation to try it using hand lotion. “Or have a stress journal at the ready for you to jot a few notes that you can later review to see how you perceived and reacted to a situation.”
Other suggestions included taking a walk, reading funny jokes or closing your eyes and imagining a peaceful, safe place.
Finally, Blekaitis suggested taking a few deep breaths and reminding yourself you are doing the best you can.
For more information, visit eapcayman.com.