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Break the stress cycle

The lockdown has left many of us with residual anxiety and stress. Follow these tips to break the stress cycle.

Just because we’ve emerged from the strictest part of lockdown doesn’t mean that all our anxieties and fears have magically disappeared. If anything, now that the economic fallout has become a reality, many of us are feeling more stressed than ever, and this is compounded by the hard work it takes to ensure that businesses comply with new regulations put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Interestingly, stress doesn’t just take a personal toll; research suggests it can actually harm your business because it’s a highly contagious emotion. In other words, even if you don’t express your emotions out loud, your employees are likely to pick up on your mindset and this may affect productivity, not to mention casting a shadow over the business.

How can you break the stress cycle?

One of the most effective tools you have at your disposal is your breath: as soon as you receive the physical cues that your body has entered a stressed state (think racing heart, sweating palms, shallow breathing), break the circuit by taking several slow, deep breaths. It may also help to actually visualise yourself feeling relaxed – think back to the good old days when a lazy Sunday braai or a day at the beach was the norm.

You may also find exercise a useful channel for pent up anxieties, so go for a jock or a cycle. Sharing your feelings also helps, whether it’s venting over a beer or writing down what’s worrying you.

Finally, acts of kindness don’t just benefit the people on the receiving end – they’re good for you, too. Although the lockdown has affected many of us financially, make a donation to a charity if you’re able – even packing a shopping bag full of pantry staples for a family in need helps.