INTHEBLACK August 2021 - Magazine - Page 67
the office structure to create boundaries, but now
we have to find ways of managing that ourselves,”
Silver recommends identifying the key activities that
you enjoy and that help take your mind off work. For
some, this may be exercise or mindfulness, while for
others this may be a cognitive distraction device, such
as a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle.
“The trick is to do something with your brain that shifts
your attention off that source of pressure,” she says.
Silver also advises her clients to choose what they
pay attention to.
“If watching the news means that you end up
consumed by bad stories, then it’s worth limiting
that,” she says.
Clifford also suggests workers schedule rest periods as
part of each day – as well as after finishing major projects
– to give their brains and bodies time to recover.
Finally, when the workday ends, end it, and don’t check
Teams messages or emails, or think about work, until the
“I have an alarm on my phone that tells me every
evening to switch off,” she says. “It simply says, ‘Tools
The ability to take a break is crucial for keeping stress
at bay, according to Clifford, and yet so many of us
work through the lunch break.
“People think this makes them more productive,
but if you don’t stop and have a break, your mental
capacity will slow down,” she says.
If that break happens to include time in nature,
all the better.
“Nature is ideal for reducing stress, so, if you can,
go outside and sit in the park, because it reduces the
stress-producing hormone cortisol,” she says.
Another important factor is knowing your limits –
the point “where you hit the ropes”, as Clifford puts it.
“Try to understand your boundaries and know when
you need to ask for help,” she says.
No matter how much you want to be the oasis of
calm for others in a stressful work environment, it is
important for everyone, from the CEO to junior staff,
to acknowledge and work on reducing their own
“I find some people get overwhelmed because they
are taking on everyone else’s stress and not managing
their own,” Clifford says.
“They fall into the trap of people-pleasing and not
wanting to let anybody down.”
If all else fails, and stress still feels overwhelming,
stop and take a big, deep breath. It will do wonders,
“A good practice to cultivate, particularly in a
corporate environment, is to just breathe deeply for
five minutes after you finish a project,” Clifford says.
“It will anchor you.”
How to Deal With
Stress from the
to a CPA Australia
intheblack.com August 2021 67