Pressure is a funny thing. It sometimes sneaks up on us, slowly creeping into our lives over a period of time before we even realise it’s there.
Other times it appears almost instantly when something happens and we need to react quickly and make decisions we weren’t expecting.
Some people think they work well under pressure, which may be the case for a short period of time, but it’s not sustainable long term. Science confirms that we perform worse over time when there is persistent stress.
Pressure has crept up on me recently, and after experiencing it first hand it became apparent there was a need to make some changes to deal with it.
Pressure can be incredibly unpleasant, it can slow you down and it can be exhausting so here’s 6 things I’ve learnt during this experience that I want to share to help you if / when you feel like this.
1. Pressure and excitement are closely related
Starting a new thing is often fun, it increases learning and stimulates us. Starting multiple new things may seem like multiple lots of fun, but can quickly become draining, time consuming and cause pressure to build. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between nervous energy / excitement and negative pressure, especially in the beginning. When you are feeling lots of excitement, just be mindful that this can quickly change to lots of pressure. Try and avoid this by taking on one thing at a time.
2. Physical changes should not be ignored.
I’m active and take care with my diet, and over recent years I’ve have good energy levels and a decent sleeping pattern. Recently I’m lethargic, my sleeping has been more erratic and I’ve had 3 bad colds in 6 months. I didn’t slow down after the first cold, or the second, now I have a third. Our bodies are good at telling us to / making us slow down. Notice it, act on it, don’t ignore it.
3. Bringing pressure home from work is not good for your family Why is that we can do a reasonable job of containing our emotions whilst in the office, yet easily fall into being short tempered and snappy when we get home? (At least I do). Anything that damages our most precious relationships is very bad news. If you feel up tight after a day in the office, pause before you walk in the door and remind yourself what impact you want to have on those the other side of it.
4. It’s often self inflicted
We live in a society and work environment where we are constantly told that: We have to be super productive / We have to be fit / We have to fight to get ahead / We have to have a work life balance / We have to impress everyone. How much pressure these external factors causes is down to us, and how much of it we adopt and internalize. If you maintain a positive mindset and understand that you have control of your own situation you will fair better.
[Tweet “Surviving stress at work takes a positive attitude and a certain degree of resilience. (J. Simon)”]
If you do nothing it’s a downward spiral. Once you become aware of it, take control.
5. Simplifying helps We can reduce pressure on ourselves in many different ways. Stemming the flow of demand on our time, even little things, can make a big difference.
Stop playing words with friends
Stop posting daily updates on Facebook
Stop checking twitter twice a day
Stop lugging a heavy bag full of stuff you might need, but only actually use once in a blue moon to work each day
Stop starting multiple new things at once
Say no more
Exercise more / less
Socialise more / less
6. Everyone is different. We will all react differently to events. We all have different physical signs of being under pressure. We all do different things to relax and reduce pressure. It’s vitally important to figure out what works for you.
What are your warning signs that pressure is building?
What 1 thing can you do today to simplify, de-clutter your life and take more care of yourself?
Is it time for you to release some pressure?