Stress? First Awareness, Then Control. You Definitely Can.

Written by 
Orit (Matza) Geron

You don't have to let stress control your life. Stress is something that you can work on and over time can definitely be controlled for a happy, healthy, and prosperous life!

#truestory - A couple of weeks ago, as my 8-year-old son was eating a snack, he choked. 

Fortunately, thanks to the body’s natural defenses and reflexes, he recovered just fine so we continued with business as usual, or so I thought…

It appears that in this incident he experienced extreme #stress, which resulted in a profound trauma that left him with post-traumatic stress.

Because April is Stress Awareness Month (being held since 1992) and because, oddly, this event occurred during the month of… April, I felt I should address this issue through a People Person's prism.

This blog post aims to raise awareness of this important topic!

What is stress?

When we are stressed, our bodies are hardwired to protect us from predators and other aggressors. We don't need to be facing a hungry lion in the Savanna to feel stressed! There are many reasons why we are stressed nowadays, including a stressful work deadline, a heavy workload, taking care of our family, paying bills, political stress, social distancing, etc. Essentially, our bodies interpret these stressors as attacks, and as things mount, the person may feel constantly under attack.

When feeling threatened, our bodies release hormones (Adrenaline and Cortisol) designed to get us to either leave the situation or remain firm and take control over it. People refer to this as the fight-or-flight response.

But you can fight back.
You don't have to let stress control your life. 
How? We'll get to it soon enough! 

Why is Stress Awareness Month so important?

  • The first step is awareness. Once we are aware of our stress, we can take actionable steps to reduce it and re-gain control (fight-or-flight..)
  • COVID is still very real and causes all kinds of stress levels.
  • It never goes out of style! - We are humans! It’s in our nature. We worry. All the time!
  • Raising awareness - It encourages us to pay attention to ourselves, our close friends, and family plus the environment around us.

How do we, #Simponites, do it?

  • First off, we opened a #slack channel called ‘Wellness’ where we share some great links.
    Here are six examples below:
  • We initiated a company-wide ‘Daily Step Tracker’ #challenge. Divided both offices (San-Francisco and Tel-Aviv) into 4 groups. Using #googlefit to track our daily steps. The team with the highest accumulated steps wins the challenge!
  • As one of Simpo’s core values is #PeopleFirst, we encourage our people to take time off for family time or for their own reflection.
  • Our company-wide meetings were reduced to twice a month so that our people wouldn't take many zoom meetings.
  • We provided our people with Simpo branded #Camelbak water bottles. We remind them to drink more water every once in a while.

How do we get in control of our stress?

These tips can help:

  • Take care of your body - Eat more vegetables and fruits.
  • Exercise - Pick whatever sport or activity you like - running, pilates, walking. Whatever makes you happy. If you can’t commit, try using those hacks: take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you are taking the bus, try getting off a stop before your usual stop. Anything goes.
  • Breath - Yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation are all relaxation techniques that can be used.
  • ZZZ - Try to get plenty of sleep.
  • Hobbies - Read a book. Paint Mandela. Listen to your favorite music or a recommended podcast while doing the dishes! (Now that's what I call proactive!)
  • Volunteer - Try volunteering in your community. Doing good always helps us feel better! (and distracted).
  • Help, I need somebody, not just anybody” - ‘Help’ is not just an awesome Beatles song. Acknowledge that sometimes we just need help and that’s OK!
  • Visit your Doctor - Your doctor is the best person to get you started on the path to a stress-free lifestyle. 
  • Talk to your People person - We need someone to understand why we might not be at our best. Your people person has your back! 
  • Take breaks -  Stress can lead to burnout if not recharged, leading to a loss of overall performance. That’s why it’s imperative that you disconnect from work from time to time.
  • Boundaries - Establishing boundaries is important. Set some personal and work-life boundaries for yourself. For example, don't check email or talk on the phone at dinner.
  • Having a sense of humor always helps!

But you can fight back.
You don't have to let stress control your life. 
How? We'll get to it soon enough! 

^^ Remember this from the beginning? 

Here is how I managed to fight off stress and control it.

  • We practice meditation while listening to meditation relaxing nature sounds. 
  • We practice breathing exercises. A LOT!
    Breathing calms our body when it feels under attack. Remember the lion in the Savanna? This isn’t real. It’s the stress that is tricking us to believe we must flee!
  • We went to the doctor for a checkup.
  • Help” is not just a Beatles song! :)
    We have scheduled an appointment with a therapist to help us deal with the trauma.
  • Everyone needs to be listened to and cared for. Even People Managers. I communicated it to my People person. I couldn’t be more grateful and happy.

Remember our Simpo core value #peoplefirst, I told you about? When I communicated the situation to my People person, I was immediately instructed to take all the time I need in order to take care of my family. I am so proud I am a #Simponite! Take care of yourself, relax, and take proper care of your surroundings.
Stress is something that you can work on and over time can definitely be controlled for a happy, healthy, and prosperous life!