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Tips for Managing Summer Relocation Stress

It’s that time of year again – you know, August. It’s the month when we can see the light at the end of the tunnel of the busy season. It’s also the month when stress is high from all the moving volume. Of course, we love what we do. But, by August, a moment to catch our breath is a welcome treat. 

When you work in an industry that revolves around stress, it’s easy to get stuck in a stress vortex. You know how it Relocation stressgoes. The transferee is stressed, so you are stressed which then makes your partners stressed. Summer is definitely not conducive to Zen.

The sheer volume of relocations that always cluster around this time of year will never change. The relocation-specific challenges that we face with housing, moving and settling-in will always exist. We certainly cannot control home appraisals, the real estate market or even other people’s stress. How we handle ourselves, however, is completely within our control – even when we want to believe that we have no control.

That’s why I thought it would be great to share some reminders on how to de-stress. Below please find some of our tips, old and new:

1. Practice self awareness.

Do you know what stresses you out? The first thing you need to do is identify your stress triggers. All too often it’s easy to blame our stress on one person or one thing, but there’s usually a pattern there that is unique to you, your personality and your work style. Reflect on the last few times you got upset. What caused it?

Part of being self-aware is taking an objective look at how you handle your stress. Are you are making it worse by snapping at colleagues, yelling at vendors or crying at inappropriate times?  Do you stick your head in the sand? While these bad habits may relieve some stress in the moment, I guarantee that when you calm down and reflect on the day you will feel guilty, unprofessional and insecure. These feelings will stress you out even more and you’ll wind up in a destructive circle of stress that never ends.

2. Breathe and be still.

When we get emotional and frantic, we breathe too fast or we forget to breathe at all. Sometimes the patterns of our breath actually tell us what we are feeling. When I’m angry, I breathe faster. When I’m sad or nervous, I forget to breathe entirely. This stresses the body, creates tension and things quickly go from bad to worse. So, when you feel your emotions creeping up on you, stop, be still and practice breathing regularly. This simple task is calming and thoughtful. The actually act of being still gives you time to think. This will bring you back to the present and, as you calm down, you will be able to refocus your thoughts on the task at hand.

 3. Create space.

We overschedule ourselves and it’s not healthy. Sometimes (read: most of the time) we have no control over the amount of meetings we need to attend, the last minute fires we need to put out or the crazy deadlines imposed upon us. No doubt about it, creating time when there is none is hard. But it’s necessary – and possible if you think small.

Start by scheduling 5-10 minutes in between meetings. Take this space and do something small for yourself. Take a walk around the office, drink a glass of water (stress and dehydration share similar symptoms) or go back to your desk and breathe for a moment. This will give you time to let go of the last meeting so that you can focus on the next meeting. You will arrive less stressed, less frantic and your colleagues will wonder what your trick is.

Ambitious de-stressers can also create space in the mornings. For a lot of people this isn’t possible because of kids or long commute times but, if you can tweak your schedule and arrive at work 30 minutes earlier in the morning, you will have the quiet time you need to adjust to the workplace, read your email and plan your day. I’ve been doing this lately and it’s made a world of difference.

4. Remember, this too shall pass.

Summer will slow down and allow us all to take a collective sigh of relief. You won’t be crazed forever and it’s important to remember that. More importantly, even the stressful snafus we all deal with in relocation, be it a late delivery or a low appraisal, will pass in time. No one likes bad news, or frenetic juggling, but taking a step back and realizing that it won’t be stressful forever is a great way to settle-down and re-approach the situation with renewed energy.

5. Create a reasonable to-do list, and finish it.

While possibly easier said than done, when things are busy it’s important to focus efforts on the tasks that make the most impact. Make a list of the things that are a top priority. Ask yourself with every task if it’s critical. When you cut out the excess and focus on what really matters who will find your to-do list is shorter and your service delivery is better. As a side bonus, you get to go home realizing that you made the right impact, which will provide a sense of relief and renewal for the next day. At XONEX, we have a sunset rule requiring that all call backs are completed before the end of the day. By doing this, we ensure our transferees feel connected but, more importantly, our counselors can go home knowing they tied everything up for the day.

Do you have any tips on how to handle workplace stress? Please share them below.

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