Coping with the Stress of Change

Updated: Feb 13

Stress, today’s invisible epidemic, has rapidly accumulated during the pandemic, both on the home front and of course at work and on set. We can sense it within ourselves, and as we hear people around us expressing feelings of being burned-out, used up, overloaded and feeling overwhelmed. We are all tired of having to deal with change and sick of ambiguity and uncertainty.


Even if our stress and tension have not created difficulties at work or at home yet, we still wonder what the future holds.


In a complex world, with ongoing changes, it is easy to wish for change to stop or slow down. When it does not, we may look around for someone to blame. When fellow crew members, supervisors, and leaders are stressed as well, it is not always easy to find the emotional support we need. What we can do in these situations, however, is take charge of our own responses and the way we manage our emotions and behavior.


This rapidly changing world demands a higher level of functioning and adaptability. This requires us to learn how to develop more tolerance for stress, and become more aware of our self-induced stress. Instead of behaving in ways which create more stress for ourselves and others, perhaps we can get better at adapting and responding.


Here are some guidelines that may better equip us for survival during these changing times.

  1. Put yourself in charge of lightening your psychological load, building your resilience, and staying healthy.

  2. Figure out what you have control over – and what you do not. This will save your energy, and your mental health. Sometimes we need to recognize and adapt to what we cannot change.

  3. When changes happen quickly on a production, you may not receive all the direction or information you need. Until more information becomes available, be flexible, take care of yourself, ask questions, and make your best judgement with what you do know.

  4. Change is ongoing, both professionally and personally. While we may feel we have reached our limit, resisting the changes happening around us can cause unneeded strife and strain. Whenever possible, evaluate whether this is a change you can influence, or not, and invest your energy in making quick adjustments to how you respond and work. Being flexible means consistently re-aligning yourself.

  5. Moving forward through the discomfort of change will develop your resiliency and help your overall productivity. Take a few deep breaths, stand tall and carry on. If you feel in limbo or without direction, be patient - as more information is usually coming down the line.

  6. Wherever possible, redesign your work and personal routines to accommodate changes as they happen. Evaluate what is most important, and focus on doing the things that best move you forward.

  7. Make a commitment to your work, and despite any challenges, practice gratitude, focusing on the positives of your work and the people you work with..

  8. Allow yourself to stretch and grow to broaden your experience. Sometimes forced change gives us an opportunity for unexpected growth.

  9. Think of your roles at work and at home like rooms with movable walls, allowing you to flex and adapt based on the demands of the situation.

  10. Instead of worrying about the unknown of what is next, make the best use of today – making choices (where you can) towards the future you want.

  11. Limit unnecessary changes where you can. For example, when things are changing at work try to keep some things at home the same. Postpone changes that are not urgent so you feel in control over some aspects of your life and the pace of change.

  12. Remember that everyone is doing his or her best to navigate during these times of change. Your leaders, production management, supervisor, family members and friends, are all also doing their best to adapt.

  13. Moving from surviving to thriving is not necessarily a comfortable process. However, change can create new opportunities for growth, resilience and personal advancement.

 

We hope these tips have provided you with some new perspectives on change. If you have experienced a significant personal change or loss, take a moment to watch this Ted Talk, “How changing your mindset can help you embrace change”. Change can be transforming, even it comes due to personal tragedy or loss. Manu Shahi helps people reinvent themselves and navigate the four stages of change. This talk helps people everywhere manage crisis and difficult moments.



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