If you are stressed out, washing your hands or wearing a mask won’t stop you from stressing others out. Your stress can spread.
It’s bad enough that you are stressed, the last thing you want to do is to stress out your team. Here are some ideas from Harvard Business Review* on things you can do to protect them – to make sure you are not contagious.
Figure out why you are stressed. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes not. Consider keeping a journal that you can write in whenever you get stressed and record what was going on. Look for themes over time. By figuring out what is causing it, you can start reducing your stress.
Create pockets of sanity. If you are traveling a lot, schedule in time for something fun – like a massage or visit to a local site. Do your best to schedule in some down time after trips. Take a walk during lunch just to get out of the office. Find your Happy Place.
Tell your team how you plan to deal with your stress. If you are stressed, it is no secret to your colleagues. Instead of talking about how stressed you are – as many people do – talk about what you plan to do about it.
Look ahead, and plan around stress. Look six months out at your calendar regularly. Some stress is predictable because projects and/or travel can intersect and create a Perfect Storm for yourself. If you see that coming, do everything you can to move deadlines or change schedules. Connect with your bosses and/or stakeholders to negotiate a different way to get the work done.
We all know that stress is not good for our health and the last thing we want to do is infect others. Try these ideas to help yourself and your team. It will make you all more effective at your jobs.
Hedges, K. “Making Sure Your Stress is Not Contagious,” Harvard Business Review, online post, July 2, 2019.