If stress at work keeps grabbing hold of you, you may need a “stress buddy” plus some strategies on saying no effectively.
Pouring on SPEED could help too – though not the run fast and work faster sort.
That’s advice of Mark Gorkin, a psychotherapist and author of “Practice Safe Stress.” SPEED is his formula for natural stress reduction – and it means Sleep (six or more hours a night), Priorities, Empathy, Exercise and Diet.
All those pieces of SPEED are valuable to help keep workers from burnout, he said.
So will finding “a stress buddy at work,” he said, a coworker you trust. This colleague will allow you to vent and respond with what he calls “tender loving criticism.” This person is “in your corner and will challenge you a little,” he said, noting that his girlfriend often serves that role in his career and life.
Known as The Stress Doc, Gorkin feels stress most often when he has a number of programs back to back – he generally gives at least six to 10 speeches or seminars a month. He sometimes reschedules seminars and knows he must “be willing to disappoint people.”
Eating a good lunch and an afternoon snack will revive and sustain – and give a break from the pressures to produce. I am trying this by noshing on apples, raspberries and yogurt in the afternoon, or a handful of almonds and a glass of juice. I’ve also started using meditation or a short 15 minute nap to drain the stress and deliver more focus and creativity.
Gorkin has spoken on the value of letting go – of fear, of the wrong career or of too much stress in your life. He believes in humor and community as powerful antidotes to stress. He has helped create programs for military wives, small business owners and women, including a Busy Women’s Retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia that sounds divine.
One of his sayings: “A firm no a day keeps the ulcers away and the hostility too.” Add to that a firm yes to stress-reducing health foods, a brisk walk and an empathetic friend and your stress levels shall be less.
A version of this first appeared in the Washington Post Working, and I hold the copyright on this article.
For more stress relief and other advice, Mark Gorkin’s website has links and resources galore.