This Insights article was contributed by Jillian Howden, MPA, Facilitator and Instructor at Leath HR Group.
The continuous slow spin of rain, day after day, this last September, created havoc in a way many can never plan on.
Those of us who stayed and fought stocked up on generators, food, water (and wine). Those of us who fled spent the next few weeks in places we did not plan to be, concerned with what would remain when we returned.
What is left to deal with is the complicated aftermath of a major storm, where everyone and every business has their own story to tell, and each of those are coping with Flo’s aftermath in their own way.
So many of life’s (mis)adventures, like Florence, create levels of stress and anxiety. We all cope differently. Some may deal in healthy manners, while others deal with stress and anxiety through detrimental means.
As we travel in our own minds, concerning ourselves with what we should have done differently and what we still need to do, we often forget to consider how we are dealing, how our employees are dealing and how the young people in our lives are dealing with everything.
I’m not just talking about Florence. Even without a hurricane, people’s lives can be turned upside-down on a dime and people face huge life changes unexpectedly. Moving schools, jobs, childbirth, marriage, divorce, death and health challenges are just a few of life’s big challenges.
It’s hard enough to sort everything out on our own, but are the people we support capable of dealing with stress?
Stress can be both positive and negative. Positive stress is a result of pursuits that cause excitement or feelings of success as a result of accomplishment. Negative stress tends to focus on our bodies’ reactions to tough situations that may build over time or may be an immediate situation, like a car accident.
Our sympathetic nervous system causes us to react in either a fight or flight mode, which increases the amount of adrenaline and norepinephrine running through our systems. It kickstarts cortisol, which is great if we’re confronting a lion but not so great if we have continuous levels of stress. When the body keeps releasing cortisol, it increases the chance of suppressing our immune systems and increasing blood pressure and sugar, among other serious consequences.
Here are a few pointers for how to deal with both types of stress as well all try to realign mentally post-Flo:
- Remember, yesterday has passed, tomorrow has not come and today is a gift. Take a moment, if only fleeting, to pause and be thankful on a daily basis.
- Deal with the present. You can’t change the past and there is nothing good that can come from worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet.
- To help you focus on the present, consider learning how to meditate or take a yoga class. There are also apps out there, like Calm and Headspace, that can improve health and happiness.
- What are you putting in your body? Make sure you are eating enough healthy food and drinking plenty of water to help your body work at its optimal level. Your health insurance may cover nutrition coaching – look into that!
- Get exercise. Do something, anything, physical that you enjoy! Take a walk at lunch with a colleague or sign up for that company-subsidized gym membership today.
- Get plenty of rest. Shoot for six to eight hours per night. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb for at least a few hours at night and have a “stop time” for work emails.
- Be social. Find people who you enjoy being around and cut out relationships that are damaging to your health and wellbeing.
Next, let’s focus on our children, particularly our older children – the young adult group ranging from 18-25 – and their associated stress and anxiety.
They may not be living at home and hopefully have a certain level of independence. Some may be in college full-time, work full-time or both. Some may have already started their own families while some may have you scratching your head as you wonder when or if they’ll ever move out.
But all have been impacted at some level by watching or experiencing the stress of Flo on our personal and professional lives, as well as their community.
If you have a young adult in your life, here are some questions you may want to consider discussing with them to ensure they’re dealing with stress and anxiety in a healthy manner:
- How prepared are they to deal with life’s challenges, perhaps associated with Flo’s aftermath?
- Where do they fall on the spectrum of total wellness?
- What are their eating, drinking, and/or smoking habits?
- How do they function in relationships (both friendship and sexual)?
- Do they know how to manage their finances, now and later?
- Do they have a strong, healthy social network?
- How grounded are they, spiritually?
- What do they do for their emotional and mental health?
- How well do they juggle their responsibilities?
- What would they do if their car broke down and their cell phone died?
If you think the young adult in your life could benefit from learning more about these topics and other life skills, we have a solution. Leath HR group is more than human resources at work; we’re invested in preparing the youth of our future for successful adult life.
We provide young adult training programs for those transitioning from college to the job market or from high school to college/work. The information we provide is likely aligned with what you have covered as parents, with the difference being that… we’re not their parents!
The programs provide information that is not the sort they typically get from teachers or career centers, usually because there is a lack of funding and resources. We look forward to introducing many young adults in our community to this valuable programming.
In summary, investing in wellness tactics for ourselves and our youth will ensure we’re best prepared to handle life’s misadventures but also prepared to recognize our successes and growth.
Take care of yourself, personally and professionally in 2019, and look out for those around you. #nomoflo
Jill Howden, MPA, has over 20 years of experience educating and mentoring adults, as well as young people, and is a certified yoga instructor. She is a facilitator of harassment, inclusion and adulting workshops with Leath HR Group.
After graduating from the School of Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State, Lisa gained generalist and benefits experience at an intellectual property law firm in Manhattan. From there, she changed industries to both non-union and union large manufacturing facilities with a Fortune 300 company at multiple plants across North Carolina in lead Labor Relations and HR Manager roles. After eight great years, she moved on to lead and transform a HR function at an international pharmaceutical organization with seven global locations. Most recently, Lisa has been spending time working as an outsourced HR leader with pharmaceutical companies, healthcare, technology companies, start-ups and non-profits. No matter the business or industry, the approach over her career in Human Resources has remained consistent – use bench-marked best practices to tailor pragmatic HR solutions to specific industries or situations. She has a reputation for building great HR processes and strategic direction for businesses and demanding clients. Lisa is a Senior Certified Professional through the Society of Human Resource Management.