Workr Beeing - 49 Tips to Manage Stress In A Hectic Work Environment


Manage episode 341540152 series 3358129
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On the show we found out that Katina and Patricia are friends from grad school. They created Workr Beeing to talk about the science behind workplace wellness and work-life balance. They both have a Ph.D’s in industrial & organizational psychology so you can say they're “experts” in how people function and behave at work. They provide science backed resources and information to make better and more positive work environments. The funny part, it all started when they were several drinks in at a wedding!

Workr Beeing is different, according to Katina and Patricia, because they are “nerds about data”, and the science and research behind these trends. They summarize what exists in the scientific literature in, what they hope is, a fun and exciting way.

You can read their bios here.



Be able to name your own signs of stress, and learn to recognize them sooner. When you're in the moment of feeling stressed, all other things start to sort of fade away and you get very hyper focused on the thing that's stressing you out. When you get stressed you feel a spike in your negative emotions so you become more anxious & you start to think more negatively than positively. When that happens you go into a fight or flight type mode. Your heart rate might spike. Your palms might start to get sweaty. You might start to have racing thoughts. If you can catch yourself earlier in the stress process, like when you’re at a 3 or 4 on a 1-10 scale, you can start to deescalate sooner. If it takes you until you get to be a 10 out of 10 before you notice, then it’s a much harder and longer trip to bring yourself back down to a 1. To deescalate you can try:

Breathing Exercises (app on your phone)

Body scans (mental exercise)

Mindfulness Exercises (Have an app ready and loaded with your favorite 2 min meditation)

Nature Meditations

Quick Guided Meditations

Remove yourself from the situation physically for a few minutes (take a quick walk)

Quick workout during the day (try to hit your max heart-rate, like the moment from “Rocky” where you’re completely out of breath, even if it’s just a quick sprint during a walk.)

Know your long term symptoms of stress, like chronic stress. For some people it’s chronic and persistent, you can’t isolate it to one stressful moment or event. What does that feel like in your body? Some activities that can help you cope and fill your cup back up are:

Mastery - Master a new skill or topic.

Work on a project, like a house project

Take lessons on learning another language

Try cooking a new dish in the kitchen

Do an activity where your brain is completely focused on the present moment. This causes it to leave behind the thing that’s stressing you out, and eases some of the stress from it. Something where you can focus ONLY on the present.

This is why vegging out, or TV, are NOT very effective for many people.

DO NOT scroll social media. Social Media is shown by research to NOT reduce stress

Hanging with friends who make you laugh

Remove notifications that will pull you back into stress. (Example: out with friends laughing and a work email notification goes off, you look at your phone, and you’re sucked RIGHT BACK INTO stress.).

Clarify your “disconnected” hours. For most people work is not 24/7/365. There are off times, be clear about those and eliminate or limit notifications that can get through to only true emergencies. Balance means you need to be “off” sometimes, not “on” all the time.

Journaling helps to get the stuff out of your head. Have you ever tried “writing morning pages”?

If ideas or stress are spinning before bed, write it down. Keep a paper/pen or device next to you in bed and if a thought is swirling and won’t let you relax, write it down. The act of writing it down will help your brain let it go, because your brain knows it written down and won’t be forgotten, so it doesn’t need to be “front of mind” anymore.


Now for front-line supervisors and managers, besides all the above recommendations, we added on these specifically for those who are managing others. What can you do for the people under you?

Individualization of your support is important.

Know the type of support that each person needs. If you know their personal stressors, they’re easier to accommodate. 3 examples:

If an employee has childcare issues, being aware of scheduling meetings (if possible) to not interfere with that.

If an employee has a health condition, be aware of that in your planning, and/or the support you offer them.

If your employees favorite extracurricular activity is after work on Wednesdays, then don’t schedule a meeting to conflict with that unless there truly is no other choice and it’s an emergency.

Understand that while their work-life and personal lives are separate, it’s still the same person, and one affects the other. Be open to the stressors in all forms. (Example: Don’t ignore the fact that they’re pregnant, ask for updates on how the pregnancy is going periodically, and if there’s anything you can do to support. Even if you can’t offer what they ask, decline nicely, it will still mean a lot that you asked.)

Role Modeling good practices yourself

If you say to disconnect on the weekend, but you send emails on the weekend, that can be a stressor. SCHEDULE SEND emails you’re sending to arrive Monday morning instead.

Don’t highlight and reward only the behaviors that are unhealthy workaholic behaviors. Examples:

“Judy get’s this award because she worked so hard that she had her baby at work.”

“Johnny is sending emails on nights and weekends, he really shows his dedication to the job”.

When you’re on vacation, unplug completely. If you check your emails, your staff will think they need to.

Share some of your life outside of work with your team. If you have hobbies, that makes it safe for your employees to have hobbies.

Set AND SHARE priorities. There’s always going to be plenty to do, so the constant addition of more urgent things, and an environment where everything is urgent and must be done right away, there’s no sense of prioritization, and people won’t know how to manage their own time and stress. In short, don’t be an “Everything is always on fire” boss!

Let employees have a say if you can. As the boss, you know you can ultimately decide, but it’s helpful to involve the employees when you can. Share the things that are coming and see who is interested in adding more.

Allow your employees to disagree with you. Let them tell you what can or cannot be done without the fear of getting fired the first time they do. Build psychological safety with your team.

Model that behavior up too. If your boss adds more to your team’s plate, go to your boss and ask for priorities, for the sake of your whole team.

Don’t be afraid to ask the question of your employees because you’re afraid of finding out “the bad news”. If that’s how you’re feeling as a supervisor, it’s probably even more important that you do. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

Support your employees fitness, sleep, & diet.

If you’re buying lunch, buy a healthy lunch.

Talk about finding healthy meal items you’ve tried. Even if you’ve failed, such as trying a meal service that didn’t work, drawing attention to it may help others to pay attention to it too.

If you ask your employees about their sleep, it helps employees to notice and focus on it.

If you ask your employees about fitness, it may help them to start to think about it too.

Normalizing talking about something that happened outside of work. Remember what happens outside of work affects employees at work, so if there’s a challenging situation happening, it’s helpful for employees to feel safe to share that with you, their supervisor.


Some managers are afraid to talk about stress with employees that are underperforming or that are under a potential HR action. What do you do there?

Depends on the type of personnel action:

If the employee is just not meeting deadlines, conversations with them about their wellbeing will not ultimately affect the outcome of the personnel action.

If they may not be right for the role, sometimes having these kinds of conversations will help the employee realize that this isn’t the right role for them, and they may select themselves out of this role, which is the best outcome for everyone involved.

Being interested in the person’s wellbeing will often deescalate and destress the situation, but that doesn’t need to affect or change the final action you are ultimately going to take. You can be kind, and be strong at the same time.

Managers often try to “fill in the gaps themselves” and come up with their guess or hypothesis about why someone is underperforming. All of that “guessing” doesn’t actually help, and often creates more stress. Often the best approach is to ask, “Hey what’s been going on with you lately?” or “How are you doing really?” or “I noticed XX happened, that’s not like you, what’s up?”

About The Creator/Host: I’m Brian. At age 4, I was diagnosed with insulin dependent (type 1) diabetes and told that my life was going to be 10-20 years shorter than everyone else. As a kid I took time for granted, but now as an adult, time is the most precious thing that I have. I created Productivity Gladiator because I saw what a difference it made for employees to improve their productivity, improve their life balance, and live their best life right now, today, not wait until retirement. Thanks for checking out Productivity Gladiator! Time is the currency of your life, spend it wisely.

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