Long back the Welsh post W.H. Davies opened his famous poem ‘Leisure’ with the lines –
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
These lines stand true even today, in fact, in a more profound way. Technological advancements, considered to be a mark of development were meant to make life easier, simpler and less hectic. But, a peek into our own lives and into the lives of those around us would surely give us a different picture.
Before workplaces were digitized, manual paperwork mounted pressure on both employees and employers, and of course resulted in systemic delays. Today with digitization, we still have overworked employees with employers desperate to continue their visibility in a market of steep competition.
Without home appliances, household work seemed so cumbersome. Now with tools and appliances of all possible types, the pressure still remains.
Pressure is not merely the presence or absence of certain elements (people, situations, conditions) in our lives, but also the perception of it all. Take a school/college examination for example. One student feels pressurized to perform well, whereas another is too cool about it (keeping all other conditions constant). Both write the exam and score approximately the same. What’s the difference? One was too anxious. The other was not.
While many of us are made to feel the pressure and acknowledge the same, some are more prone to picking up the stress from the air just by the sniff of some probable occurrence. While there are no cut-out solutions for all types of pressures, some coping mechanisms that work well in most pressurized circumstances are worth enumerating.
- Avoid gossip, suspicion, scandals and rumours of all types in all circumstances. Of the major sources of unwanted tension/ stress/ pressure are these listed above. Do not let these dwell in your heart and mind. Somebody has written the following lines very aptly –
If some bit of gossip come,
File the thing away;
If a scandalous, spicy crumb,
File the thing away;
If suspicion comes to you
That your neighbour is not true,
Let me tell you what to do –
File the thing away.
Do this for a little while,
Then go out and burn the file.
- Delegate responsibilities and tasks. You may be the best planner in your house or the most meticulous performer in your team. Still, do not shoulder the tasks of everyone upon yourself. One clever way of people shifting their share of responsibilities on to you is by a word of appreciation. Don’t be deceived. Stick to your work. Of course, you can lend a helping hand to others. But, do not be too naive to fall prey into such tactics.
- Do not procrastinate your to-do tasks. Prioritize instead. When there are too many assignments for a given day, we tend to put off certain tasks for another more convenient day. At times when the time constraint is real, such a step is needed. But frequent procrastination when chores can be well done the same day, leads to piling up of tasks and hence, an increase in situation.
- Open the lid when required. Imagine a pressure cooker that doesn’t let out the accumulated steam. Such a pressure cooker is a faulty appliance and is a potential threat to one’s safety. In the very same way if you allow too much pressure to pile up within you, you put yourself at risk. So, let the steam out.
- Take time off. Take time off from work to be with family. Take time off from family responsibilities once in a while to rejuvenate yourself. Work these out and you’ll be amazed as to how your productivity and efficiency be it at home or work, improves.
- Do not keep abuse to yourself. If you are a victim of any form of abuse be at home or work, do not keep the saga to yourself. Don’t endure the pressure by building tall walls around yourself. Share with trusted people and seek help.
- Alternate caregiving. If you are taking care of an ailing family member, keep alternate caregivers handy. They may be relatives or friends or hired helps. You need to avoid the burn-out so that you are available during the most crucial times.
- Seek suggestions. When in dilemma, especially during phases of decision-making, seek suggestions from experienced people. Don’t lead yourself to splitting headaches thinking about the pros and cons of things you don’t know much about.
- Find ways to give vent. Hit the gym. Cry. Sing. Spend time in the lap of nature. Talk with friends. Eat your favourite delicacy. Visit the shopping mall of your choice.
- Share it with God. No matter what be the pressure situation in your life, you can share it with God. Pour out your heart before Him. He may seem to be a silent listener. But, He is a compassionate worker behind the scenes as well.
Apart from these general tips of handling various pressures, situation-specific ways of coping with pressure will be discussed in different articles this week.
Remain stress-free and release the pressure.