Tips for Managing Stress During Change

For many HR practitioners, the reason they chose their profession was because they like working with people. Building positive teams, helping individuals to manage their careers, and supporting companies to build positive work cultures are all positive aspects of a highly rewarding profession.

Unfortunately the HR Manager is also the person who often has to assist to manage change, resolve conflict and to lead downsizing programs when markets are tough. For the highly empathetic people-person inside the HR Manager this can be draining, particularly if the downsizing occurs in waves or over an extended period.

The following are a few general stress management tips to avoid becoming run down or emotionally drained during change:

1. Build your resilience through proactive stress management measures including getting enough sleep and healthy eating. In times of stress many people overwork their bodies, grabbing snacks on the run and burning the candle at both ends. Implement a conscious plan to give your body the fuel it needs to carry you through this period.

2. Find Your Circuit Breaker.  When going through extended periods of stress its important you find a way to let your mind rest. Look for activities that you can do after-hours that stop your brain focusing on work outside of work hours. This circuit breaker maybe your favorite sport, a hobby you are passionate about, or simply a catch up with a friend.

3. Look for Support. The challenge for HR is often that HR Managers are so busy supporting Line Managers and Staff during times of change that they neglect to realise they also need support.   Find someone who can support you during change periods.  This may be your Manager, a HR co-worker or an EAP professional. More importantly if you feel you are struggling emotionally with the pressures of your role and it’s beginning to impact your life, take action. Phone your Doctor or an organisation like Beyond Blue and seek help.

4. Ask for Help. When you are undertaking large downsizing programs or company changes it’s important to be both efficient and effective. Avoid the trap of trying to do everything yourself. Use departmental resources and staff to manage the workflow effectively and look to consultants or other resources to assist if you don’t have the resources internally.

5. Breathe. It sounds so simple and yet when we get busy it’s not unusual to find yourself holding your breath.  Sometimes the most important moments in the day are the ones when we just close the door and spend a few minutes breathing deeply and clearing our mind of the daily clutter.  Some people find mediation can be beneficial but even a few moments of quiet can make a difference to your resilience.

Finally, remember to maintain your perspective and priorities. Look after yourself and you will be in a better position to help others.

I wish you good health and a life of happiness and career satisfaction.