5 tips to staying cool and in control when life isn’t
Staying cool and in control under pressure isn't easy!
Sometimes life goes in a different direction to what we expect. But staying cool and in control is important for maintaining focus and keeping your career on track.
Have you ever been in a situation where life gets chaotic and stressful and it’s a struggle to keep your career on track? We’ve all been there. It could be a major and real crisis outside our control such as divorce, sickness of self or family member or carer challenges. It can also be series of small, seemingly unimportant instances that cumulatively absorb head space because they take up a lot of time.
But unless you are financially independent, staying cool and in control is important to focus on your job and career.
Marie, a Philadelphia based marketing manager who had only been promoted to her new job five months before told us:
“My life had a meltdown. They say that bad things happen in threes well I think I had five that came in quick succession. My sister, who is my mother’s carer got sick and was hospitalized, at the same time as my 8 year old son had a serious ice-hockey injury. Within days I discovered I was pregnant, which was amazing as I had been told I had gone through an early menopause. A day later my daughter drove the car through the garage wall into the family room. I was sick as a dog, driving to see my sister and my mother in a rental car, getting the house and my own car fixed and my son to physical therapy. All of the while trying to create the company marketing strategy and business plan.”
5 tips to staying cool and in control when life takes you over
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.
Any yogi worth his or her salt will focus on getting your breathing calm and regular. Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our prana, or vital life force which is central to a healthy body and mind.
Breathing exercises, or even just taking a few deep breaths giving your system an extra boost of oxygen, helps reduce tension and relieve stress. Shallow breathing, an early warning system for stress or anxiety stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic reaction, which has a calming effect.
Sometimes life can be hard, but it's important to not allow it to get to you. 3Plus can help you with our Returner Roll-Up Session on Developing Resilience.
Stress is activated in the brain, but it can be a full-body phenomenon. Your pulse rises, your muscles tense and your breathing quickens. Some stress is good, but too much can cause you to shut down and feel helpless and to even stop functioning.
In our world where multi-tasking and busyness is the norm, creating a sense of being present and mindfulness is essential. This gives us the opportunity to connect with ourselves before we connect with others. We can now focus our attention on what is happening in the present and accept it neutrally without reaction or judgment.
Focused visualization is a helpful way to anchor yourself. Choose a comfortable position; it can be at your desk, in an empty office, or even a park bench. Visualise yourself in a favorite location, somewhere calming and peaceful. It can be a beach, a mountain top or your garden. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, for 5 minutes or as long as you have time. Feel the stress seep out of your body as calm thoughts take their place.
Now you are calm you can prioritize. Step back and look at the things that are bothering you and pare them back to only the issues or actions that require your attention now. Then make a second list of demands that are less significant and can wait. Put those on an achievable timeline. The rest you can leave for now. Anything that is not serious will go away - maybe for good, but at least for a short while.
4. Get support
Consider asking for help and support. Understanding that you can't cope on your own is the first major hurdle to overcome. It might be for emotional support with a coach or therapist. It might be simply confiding in a colleague or a mentor or even a friend. Share your concerns (without over sharing, Facebook rants although cathartic may come back to haunt you as a professional.) Be open to offers. Accepting support is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.
If the challenges are professional, identify (if you can) any tasks you can delegate to your team or pass them on to a colleague. Discuss your situation with your boss. Some people are reluctant to do that in case it rebounds, but if your boss is not empathetic maybe when things have settled down, it's time to find another boss. Cut out totally any work that is not related to your KPIs. When the challenges are personal or involve a personal component, now is the time to talk to your family and manage expectations. What additional contribution can they make?
Remember women assume responsibility for the lion's share of invisible work. We thought Marie was a single parent when she shared her story, but in fact she wasn't! That is a big tell. Unless you are a widow, had your children via a sperm donor or your partner is criminally irresponsible, kids generally have two parents. If you have the budget, consider outsourcing low value work even for a short time.
Staying cool and in control when life runs amok seems impossible - but it can be done. Take heed of any warning signs to avoid burnout which is always a danger.
If your life seems out of control see a coach. Contact 3Plus NOW We offer a 30 minute complimentary call to assess your needs.
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
JUNE 6-8TH 2019 - OMBUDSPERON EUROPEAN WOMEN’S LOBBY BRUSSELS
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
It is essential that we encourage and build a #NotUs culture in the workplace, so that we can prevent further cases of sexual harassment.read more
Men’s flexible working should be on offer to allow couples to make genuine choices both for their own benefit and for benefits of building gender diverse workplaces.read more
It is no secret that women tend to take on the majority of informal caregiving, but the economic cost of the care gap is starting to mount up.read more