Senior Associate – Global Law Firm
During my recent training to become a mental health first aider, one of the key leaings that resonated with me was the concept of the stress container, and the importance of checking and managing our stress levels accordingly.
The stress container concept is a visual to help us understand how we experience stress and how we address our stress levels. Everyone’s stress container is different, and these variations can be attributed to factors such as genes, unique life experiences, environmental impact and much more.
The key point to note is the importance of a tap at the bottom of your container. Essentially a valve to allow you to release stress and not allow the container to overflow / become overwhelmed.
Have you ever wondered why a friend or colleague may handle a stressful situation differently than you? It is because their stress container is different to yours and they have different ways of opening the tap.
It is therefore imperative that we all remember the importance of opening the tap and have coping mechanisms to reduce stress. It will not go away on its own.
Why is this important? Using helpful coping mechanisms is healthier for us both mentally and physically. Stress can be detrimental to every aspects of our lives, and therefore likely to increase stress further. We therefore all need to make sure we are regularly checking in on ourselves both to monitor stress, and how we manage it.
It is also important to recognise the difference between helpful and unhelpful methods of stress management. For example, throwing yourself into your work my feel like a good distraction and a helpful coping method however, overworking is more likely fill up your stress container quicker. There are a multitude of positive and negative methods for navigating stress and its very important to properly recognise the difference. To lea more and for insight into your own stress container and how to manage it, click here to view an interactive and very useful PDF.
Considering the past year and the intensity of working from home, self-care is crucial and making sure we are taking time for ourselves is more important than ever before. Each of us will have different things that make a difference.
Whatever it is for you, it’s important that you find time for these activities and are not made to feel guilty by your workplace for taking time out for you. Progressive leaders recognise the positive impact time has on the workforce. Unfortunately, not all employers see it the same way and the past few months have seen record levels of work, and therefore stress.
For me, I find a regular run a great way to relieve stress and clear my head, although the recent weather hasn’t made it easy. It would be great to hear what works for you.