3. Stress Management Tips for Aid Workers
Even if you don't live in a "danger post", stress management in the aid world is vitally important.
Our career is unique in that we cannot always escape the stress factors at work just by going home. I can think of times when I had a lot going on in the office, only to come home and find out there is no power or I am out of water and have to use my drinking water for bathing. Although by themselves these situations are manageable, over time they can build until you start to become frustrated with small things like staff turning in a report a day late or not being able to reach a government official because he is perpetually in meetings and never returns your calls. It is also difficult because for some of us the nature of where we work limits "normal" ways of stress management such as jogging in public as a woman or eating well in remote areas.
If there is anyone I know working in a high stress environment, it is my husband Shannon. Over the years he has worked in conflict and/or disaster prone areas, such as Haiti, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Sierra Leone. He is also one of the most stable people I know, and has been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle true to his values, unlike many in the same situation that fall to vices such as drinking, drugs or even binge eating. In this episode I interview Shannon to find out some of the techniques he uses to maintain his stress levels. Although Shannon is working in more extreme settings, these same techniques can be used by anyone in the aid world who just wants to better manage their stress levels.
Below are some of the resources Shannon lists in the interview, and I challenge you to add your own resources or coping mechanisms in the Comments section. Let me know if I forgot any of the resources, there were quite a few!
On meditation and coping with difficult situations:
Tricycle Magazine (Meditation and Mindfulness)
Pema Chodron (Buddhist Nun):
Seven Minute Workout (can find apps by googling Seven Minute Workout and your device)
Tabatta Four Minute Workout (can find apps in links in article)
Runtastic Apps - situps, pushups, squats
On outlook in life:
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Nutrition supplements and Decoding Water Options:
Spirulina, New Chapter Multi-Vitamins, Moringa, Turmeric
Hydration and Water Master Class by Shawn Stevenson of The Model Health Show
Photo source: www.ssqq.com