Wishing for a snow day?
By Lisa Seppala, MBA, BComm, ACC, PHS (Adv Cert)
Have you ever faced a challenge or stressor and wished you could delay doing it or that it would just disappear? For example, hoping for a snow day on the day that you have to _______________. (I think most of us, in northern climates, could quickly fill in the blank many times over!)
Stressful situations are a fact of life; how we respond to them is in our control. Wishing them away is unrealistic.
Recently I led a discussion on the concept of resilience, leveraging the excellent tools available for free through Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/resources/atw-emotional-intelligence-and-resilience
Through these resources, I learned about the 4 A’s Model for Stress Management.
In a nutshell, the 4 A’s are Accept, Avoid, Alter, and Adapt, and you can use any or all the strategies to help manage your stress.
- Accept what you can’t change
“I cannot control how that person behaves, I can only control my response, so I will accept the situation and figure out a way to rise above the challenge.”
- Avoid stresses where you can – this requires awareness and, in some cases, planning
“When I’ve done it this way in the past, it has caused this reaction, so now I’m going to take a different approach. I can change my approach to minimize the pushback and stress I encounter.”
- Alter the situation – change what you can
“To accomplish my tasks, I need to establish boundaries for how I work. When I need quiet time to focus on meeting a deadline, I can put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign at the entrance to my cubicle or book a meeting room and work from there.”
- Adapt to the situation by altering how you think about it
“OK, given that ______________________(insert unexpected event here), and I no longer can accomplish everything I set out to do, what can I reasonably accomplish in the time available and with the current constraints? How can I cut myself some slack and continue to move forward?”
Managing stress is something all humans face, and we can always learn from each other. And it’s important to remember that we are in control of how we respond, and we can be intentional in our response. Of course, there is much more behind the 4 A’s Model and if you’re curious I encourage you to check out the website. And, if you have some approaches that work for you, I’m open to hearing about them!