Managing Stress During a Challenging Time

stress management

Working calmly under stress is tough. Especially with stressors constantly changing, stress management can be especially difficult. Try to keep in mind that it's a practice, not a destination.


People managing stress well:
  • Are immediately aware of their feelings of rising stress
  • Know that stress in life is inevitable and can calm themselves and deal with it productively
  • Are able to influence stressful events and act to improve the immediate situation
  • Have the ability to maintain composure and control aggressive, hostile and irresponsible behavior
  • Know when to push back hard and when to let go
  • Have vitality and strength in them
  • Have developed a high tolerance for frustration and “don’t sweat the small stuff”


People not managing stress well:
  • Tend to view stress as external events; they don’t realize that stress is our reaction to external events
  • Develop somatic (bodily) responses to stress (anxiety, tension, nervous laughter, dry mouth, scared, moody, irritable)
  • Are unable to concentrate, become forgetful, can’t think clearly
  • Tend to worry about the future
  • Act impulsively
  • Have a low frustration tolerance and engage in unpredictable, sometimes explosive, abusive or self-defeating behavior


Development tips
  • Recognize that stress is a part of daily life and think of it as a chance to grow
  • Become aware – in the moment - of your own reactions to stress and choose a healthier response
  • Expect change; learn to anticipate and tolerate uncertainty
  • Find a relaxation technique that works for you and practice it regularly (e., deep breathing, meditation, relaxation tapes, listen to music, take a walk, take up yoga, take up a hobby, read a book or see a movie to get your mind off things, get a massage, exercise, do Tai Chi, visualize a happy, stress-free time and make a genuine attempt to re-activate those feelings of relaxation and no stress)
  • Seek support from others
  • Develop assertive behaviors, speak up on your own behalf, there’s no need to accept abusive or bullying behavior
  • Be healthy. Exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet daily; take care of yourself
  • Talk with friends or someone you can trust about your worries/problems
  • Budget your time wisely. Leave enough time to get to your destination (the airport, your next meeting) so you aren’t feeling stressed while getting there
  • Plan ahead, avoid procrastination, set boundaries on your time and insist that others honor them
  • Set realistic goals, prioritize, do your best and let it go at that
  • Try not to control everyone and everything; assume control only over what’s within your control
  • Stop blaming yourself
  • Focus on the positive and the good

*Source: Institute for Social & Emotional Intelligence Toolkit


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