This September the hum of another academic year is different yet students and staff are as busy as ever.
Beginning of the school year is always challenging for everyone, especially for staff and faculty who are front-facing. With remote work in place for many people, our workplaces are now hyperconnected and the line between work and home life is blurred. Both remote work and on campus work this year can lead to a significant increase in our stress levels and burnout. Though chronic stress makes you unwell, there is also evidence that in certain circumstances stress can motivate you to overcome difficult times. In other words, not all stress is bad stress. Often times, your mindset about stress is a predictor of how stress affects you (Crum, Salovey, Achor, 2013). This speaks to the power of perspective. Those with an enhancing mindset were more likely to use productive strategies in managing stress and therefore had more positive wellbeing.
One important skill in thriving even during stressful times is to build resilience. Resilience can be defined as one’s ability to bounce back after difficult or challenging situations. Individuals or teams that are resilient aren’t necessarily those that do not fail but rather those that learn and thrive as a result of a difficult situation. Building resilience at work is possible, even in high-stress environments or situations.
Tips to build your resilience at work
- Reflect: Recognize Your Signs of Stress. Being aware of stressors and how they affect you can provide with the opportunity to prepare and gather resources or tools you can rely on in order to help you ‘bounce back’.
- Cultivate compassion for yourself and others. This increases positive emotions, creates positive work relationships and boosts cooperation and collaboration at work.
- Exercise mindfulness. Mindfulness can help decrease stress while improving resiliency, which helps to enhance overall wellbeing at work and in your personal life.
- Work-Life Integration. Being hyperconnected means that we have access to work 24/7. In order to bounce back from stressful times, it is important to take time to unwind and recuperate through a staycation or time off work.
This September, I wish to encourage everyone to find time to practice self-compassion and build resilience. I wish you all the best as we embark on another school year.
Keep safe and well,
- Crum, A. J., Salovey, P., & Achor, S. (2013). Rethinking stress: the role of mindsets in determining the stress response. Journal of personality and social psychology, 104(4), 716–733.
- Healthy UBC