Below is everything you need to learn and practice in order to enhance your stress management skills. If you need extra support, we have free coaches available for you.
Watch a recording of our webinar, practice getting back into balance with the help of guided exercises, use a questionnaire to conduct your own stress self-investigation, and access links to additional useful resources.
Watch the webinar in order to identify the warning signs of stress, get back into balance when you feel off center, and understand how to have a healthier relationship with technology.
We become what we practice. Practice methods that support you to get out of your head and into your body, improve your ability to manage your focus and attention, and to calm your nervous system.
A Centering Practice (5 minutes) to use as a mini break in between activities or when you are feeling stressed out and just need to put on the breaks, especially when a long break is just not an option.
A Conscious Compassionate Check-in (19 minutes) to use ideally at the start or end of your day to train yourself to develop a friendly relationship with the world inside of you, your body and breath. The breath is a built-in mechanism that helps calm the nervous system and train you to shift your attention away from thoughts about the past and the future, to the here and now.
STEP 1 – START A SELF-INVESTIGATION
You are as important as the work you do. Start by investigating yourself. Get to know and feel when you are in the yellow zone, when your body and mind are feeling strained or overworked and you are a bit more emotional than usual. When you enter your yellow zone, taking a pause should be non-negotiable. Help yourself get into the green zone, where you feel good physically and mentally and more emotionally balanced.
- Check-in with yourself on a daily basis with one of the recorded practices above. Accept that it is OK to feel tired even if you don’t like it. A friendly relationship with yourself is essential to fostering greater resilience.
- Investigate and get to know how your body, mind and emotions react when you are in your yellow zone. Imagine a recent situation that brought you into your yellow zone? Sense what changes in your body or in the rhythm of your breath as you imagine it. Notice your mood. Notice if you feel open or shut off?
- Think back, what did you do when you were in the yellow zone? In what way was it a supportive or unsupportive reaction? Consider what you could have done differently at that moment to bring yourself back to your green zone.
STEP 2. IDENTIFY WHAT GETS INTO YOUR GREEN ZONE
Taking regular mini breaks help you rebalance your energy. You already engage in activities that make you feel good, connected and open. Choose to engage in them more regularly and plan them into your agenda. Activities that get you out of your head and into your sensing body are especially important (listening to music, seeing nature, gardening, knitting, meditation, conscious movement, breath work just to name a few).
- Write down 6 things you do —inside out outside of work– that help you feel most energized, satisfied, and connected with yourself?
- What could you blend into your day in 5-minute intervals and in 30 minutes?
- During what time of day do you have the most energy? What tasks should I be doing during that time? What tasks should you reserve for later?
Step 3. HAVE A CLEAR MOTIVATION AND PLAN FOR CHANGE
Journalists are motivated by a high sense of purpose. Holding the powerful into account is one of your tasks. Identify what you want to do differently, why it is important to you, and decide on a deadline and an accountability mechanism. It usually takes two months of daily practice to adopt a new way of doing and being.
- What habit do you want to let go of?
- Why is this important to you? How will you benefit? What and who in your life might also benefit?
- What is one thing you can do differently starting tomorrow? Be concrete.
- How will you remind yourself and/or be reminded daily or weekly? It helps to change your method of reminding yourself on a weekly basis.
- How will you stay accountable to your intention? One way is to ask a friend, spouse/partner, or colleague to help you stay accountable to yourself. Better yet, find a buddy who wants to change a habit too, and check-in weekly with each other.
You are not alone. Many journalists are finding it difficult to cope, in general more women than men, and especially during these volatile and uncertain times.
How to recharge your internal battery. Watch this 90-minute webinar with burnout specialist Anita Roelands.
Your health is as important as your work. Watch this 60-minute Investigative Reporters and Editor’s (IRE) webinar which Kim and Mar participated in with others about how to help yourself and your colleagues through tough times. And here is the tip sheet!
Conscious breathing may be a big help. If meditation is not your thing, try The Breathing App with supportive visual and sound prompts. It is inspired by resonance, the scientific name that describes what happens when our heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure, and brainwave function come into a coherent frequency. Practice daily for as little or as long as you like! Please note, if at any time you feel uncomfortable or even distraught focusing on your breath, stop. Conscious breathing can be triggering for some of us. respect yourself. Only do what feels good and right for you.
Mindfulness and mindfulness-based stress reduction can help. Watch this 3 minute minute video. Here’s a link to more information and resources about mindfulness. You can also watch this 90-minute webinar where Kim helps you explore how body awareness can help you get unstuck from habits that no longer support you. Gretchen Rubin’s quick online quiz is a simple way to get an idea of what strategies can help you shift away from unhelpful habits with less struggle.
Stress is a physiological process. Our brain on stress. Watch a 7-minute demonstration by psychiatrist and educator Dr. Dan Siegel.
Ineffective prioritization can be demotivating and a cause of stress and frustration. The Eisenhower matrix is a method that helps you organize and distinguish priorities. It is said to have been used by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower who reportedly said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
A supportive attitude strengthens resilience. Self-compassion is one of them. And if you are skeptical, read about the link between self-compassion and lower levels of traumatic stress and post traumatic stress disorder among U.S. Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans.
Your ability to remind yourself of the good things strengthens your resilience. Watch positive mindset psychologist Barbara Frederickson’s two minute video with tips on how to be more positive. Also watch this 90-minute webinar with positive psychology coach Allison Stern on harvesting the gifts of the pandemic.
Last but not least, try experimenting with gratitude journaling. This article provides information and examples of questions you can use to create your personal practice!
- Recommendations from the Center for Humane Technology to support you to take control of your attention.
- The digital wellness toolkit from the Digital Wellness Collective.
- Digital well-being tips provided by some tech companies, like these from Google.
- Tristan Harris’ TED talk entitled “How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day.”
- A 90-minute webinar with Mar on managing digital distraction.
- An interesting book about the power of unplugging if you want to read more about this issue.