Wellness

How to manage stress with Crossover’s COPE Model

The pandemic has made working from home (WFH) the new normal, and it will be the case in the future as well. But the question is, are we able to manage WFH effectively?
Before COVID-19 struck the world, many professionals longed to escape the traffic jams during long hours of work commute and stressful work environments. However, the pandemic seems to have added to the work pressure instead of alleviating it. The divide between work and home has blurred, with many professionals struggling to manage both the responsibilities simultaneously.
The relationship between our work and emotional health is an ignored subject. The isolated nature of the work from home setup, the impact of digital technology, and the unsteady job market has led to mental health issues such as anxiety, loneliness, stress, burnout, insomnia, and depression to be on the steep rise.
At Crossover we have built a nice model to deal with Stress called the COPE model.
What is the COPE MODEL?
We are struggling with emotional health as a generation and we sincerely feel that the COPE model can help us take care of our mental wellness while working from home. It enables us not only to take advantage of the benefits of working from home but maximize our potential.
Digital culture values busyness and usually does not let us relax even when our bodies demand it intensely. The digital workplace and FOMO culture have led to an overload of information on our brains. We find it difficult to switch off with an overactive mind. We are not robots who can go on and on. Humans need to cope, relax, and recharge again to avoid burnout and long-term damage to health.
If we are stuck forever in a roll of never-ending to-do lists and difficulty balancing domestic and professional commitments, finding it tough to relax and make time for self-care, the COPE model helps us to take mindful breaks, and it is quite easy to implement in our daily routine. The model helps boost our emotional and physical health, as well as our focus and creativity.
C—Build Consciousness
The first step is to recognize that we have a problem at hand, and to be mindful of the impact of stress on our body. Our emotions can take a direct toll on the body’s various organs, making us prone to serious health conditions. We must build consciousness and pay keen attention to the problem areas in our body and the symptoms.
While our jobs may require us to work long hours, putting in a routine of taking a 10 minutes break every 1.5 hours can go a long way in not letting the stress accumulate. One of the best practices besides taking a break of 10 minutes every 1.5 hours is spending 10 minutes everyday with yourself after lunch doing nothing and just observing our breathing. It will help us relax and ease out any stress that would have accumulated with the work in the morning. Do the same thing in the evening after dinner and plan a 15 minutes walk either on your terrace or in your gallery in case you are not able to step out.
O—Stay Optimistic
We get 50,000 thoughts a day. 10,000 are positive, and the rest 40,000 are negative. We can change that by taking control of our thoughts by carrying the weather inside us. For some, they might have an intrinsic nature to be positive, but for some pessimistic thoughts come to them more often and they can start faking positivity till they become naturally positive. A simple practice of smiling more even when there is no major reason to smile often during the day can generate happiness chemicals in the brain and one can start becoming positive over a period of time.
The pandemic has forced us to stay in Isolation and with remote working we are not able to meet people in person but look for ways and means to connect with people on call. Talk to people who you have found to be naturally optimistic and they will fill their optimism in you. Do the same to people who are not so optimistic and increase the chain of positivity and optimism.
P—Perform Under Pressure
As mentioned above, smiling more generates happiness chemicals in the brain and if the pressure of working from home without stepping out of the home is hampering your productivity levels, then practice this art of smiling more even while you are going through the pressure.
The 10 minutes practice of focusing on breathing after lunch can go a long way in reducing the pressure. Putting in a regular practice of Yoga can help manage pressure nicely. There is a nice YouTube channel called ‘DOYOUYOGA.COM’ which has got some very nice videos to start practicing yoga for 15 – 20 minutes in the morning or evening.
Planning and organizing your work can also help reduce pressure. The act of writing your tasks for the day helps to take off some stress attached to it. You can block parts of your day for solo work as it will help you focus for some time and then you can connect with your teams to do work together. While it may seem that one can achieve more with Multitasking but the research by Cal Newport says that Multitasking actually takes a longer overall time to complete and makes one get more tired in a shorter period then doing one task at a time sequentially.
In the Emerging Leaders Program of Crossover we systematically train leaders on organizing their tasks using the concept of Categorization and Master / Weekly Task journals..
E—Excel To The Next Level
As a leader, you can guide your team on how you manage stress and when they are able to learn the skills you excel to the next level. Remind them of the intention of why they are doing a particular task, activity, or job so that they can stay focussed on their goals and not spend time on things that will lead them to stress and exhaustion.
Setting up boundaries, learning to say ‘No,’ and prioritizing self-care are acts of kindness to oneself and helping you to excel to the next level.
You can break the monotony of the WFH routine by taking breaks as mentioned earlier and going to another area of your house for a while. Even gazing by the window or balcony is a welcome break. You can sneak in a mini workout as a break by doing 5-10 jumping jacks for a quick shot of energy instead of guzzling down multiple cups of coffee during the day. Paying attention to your diet is also essential, as what you put into your body directly affects how you feel, think, and function.
During weekends if you find some time you can challenge yourself by taking on new things that you’ve never tried before. This can help you increase the excitement and reduce stress.
Sometimes, you may have to step back and re-look at the definition of success itself. Often, we look at success from a materialistic lens, and the only way to get there is by working hard round-the-clock with no breaks. You may find that to be a narrow and often fatal definition of success that will lead to an eventual burnout, as seen in the history of mankind.
Success is a component of many aspects, including our work, health, relationships, and self-growth..
Final Thoughts
Stress has always got a bad reputation. It’s not stress that is bad for your health but how you view and react to stress makes the difference.
While stress cannot be avoided in life, it can be managed. The pounding of our heart and the butterflies in our stomach before a stressful situation are our bodies’ awareness that we are about to do something significant, and if we can learn to acknowledge that feeling, we can manage the situation better. Instead of seeing stress as a foe, make it your friend.
Watch this informative video by Kelly McGonigal, a practicing health psychologist and author of the book ‘The Upside Of Stress,’ where she explains the science behind stress.
If we happily courted and dated stress in our daily lives, it will not only make us more courageous, resilient, confident to face life’s challenges thrown our way, but also make us reach out and seek value and meaning in our relationships, thus making us more trusting, loving, and empathetic individuals. In conclusion, viewing stress in a positive light leads to a healthier, happier, and more productive You. Blog Cover Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash.

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