Your boss will ask a lot of you. Your client will make impossible requests. Your colleague will not work the same way you do. The stress or pressure of work life is normal, but if it continues for too long, it can lead to burnout and even chronic illness.
5 Ways to Handle Tough Situations
- Try the H.A.L.T. method, checking to see if you are hungry, agitated, lonely or tired before you make a big decision.
- Try 4-6 breathing. Breathe in through your nose for four counts and breathe out for six counts.
- Sleep on decisions if you can.
- Use a personal mantra, focusing on confidence, peace or another desirable and calming trait.
- Take a short walk or get together with colleagues for 15 minutes of non-work talk.
There is another way. You can maintain a peaceful focus and create quality work. You can take on big challenges and calmly produce incredible results. You can have difficult conversations and allow new ideas and even better solutions.
The answer: giving yourself permission to pause. Taking a beat to recognize what is going on within you and around you before taking action will support the best outcome. Here are five tips to get you through any tough situation.
Have you ever responded too quickly to a text or email only wishing you could edit your response an hour later? Before taking action, use the acronym H.A.L.T. to ensure intentional responses vs. impulsive reactions.
First, ask yourself if you are hungry, because hunger can turn in to hanger (hunger-fueled anger) in a very short time. Making sure you are well-fed will support your best decision-making.
Then, check to see if you are agitated. Constant Teams or Slack sound notifications may negatively impact the way you show up on calls.
Next: Are you lonely? If you have been working in your home office for days and haven’t seen a soul, it is time for human interaction to support your well-being.
Finally: Are you tired? If you didn’t get enough sleep, consider postponing an important conversation or meeting.
Checking in with H.A.L.T. the next time you are on edge will allow you to make changes to show up as your best self, performing your best work.
Take a 4-6 Breath
Making an important decision is always best when our bodies are calm and our minds are clear. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, the 4-6 breath repeated three times is your answer.
To try it, breathe in through your nose while silently counting to four and exhale through your nose for six counts. Contrary to other breathing techniques, this breathing technique doesn’t hold the breath. Holding the breath signals to your brain you may be in danger, which keeps your body in stress mode.
The 4-6 breath activates your parasympathetic nervous system, telling your body it is okay to relax and that you are safe. This will relax your nervous system so you can make the best choice.
Use a Mantra
A mantra is a tool of the mind that helps you maintain peace during a tough situation. Mantras can be used anywhere, anytime, and directed toward an intention of how you wish to feel. Mantras hold the power to shift your mental state in a positive direction.
For example, if you wish to feel more peace, you can try repeating out loud or silently the phrase “Peace begins with me,” quickly shifting your mental state from chaos to calm. You can play with your own mantras using words like abundance, confidence or self-love.
Take a Walk or a Break
Big ideas do not come from staring at a screen. A 15-minute walk outside will create an expanded lens for new opportunities and for obvious answers to reveal themselves.
When times get tough, instead of powering through at your desk, get up, get out and let a walk create wisdom. If you are in the office, grab a colleague and try the Swedish fika break, a daily tradition among business people to get out of the office.
Usually involving a sweet treat or coffee, the purpose of a fika break is to spark connection and conversation unrelated to work. Fika breaks invites new perspectives and inspiration not found behind the desk.
Sleep On It
Guess what? You don’t need to respond right away. The pressure we feel to figure it out right now is pressure we create ourselves. Give it some space. If not 24 hours, try two hours. When we sleep on it instead of responding right away, more possibilities arise and the obvious answers we are seeking make themselves known.
If you do need to make an immediate decision, even waiting 30 minutes reduces the possibility of making a decision you will later regret.
Your peace is your responsibility. When your peace is on point, you make solid decisions, deliver fantastic results and can navigate any tough situation.