Sunday, 16 April 2017

[] Stress-busting tips from pros


Stress-busting tips from pros
Preksha Malu

Those in the most stressful careers on how they cope
According to 2016 data released by Optum, a provider of employee assistance programmes to corporates, stress affects 46 per cent of the workforce in Indian organisations. Since a job search website recently released its survey of the most stressful careers, we got people in these jobs to share how they keep from letting stress get the better of them.

Airline Pilot Captain Rishabh Kapur Commander, Airbus 320
In Kapur's profession, there is no scope for error, decisions need to be made in split seconds and, every time he flies, he is responsible for the hundreds of lives on board. "We don't have fixed work hoursdays, and may have two to four take-offs landings in a day. The erratic lifestyle does take a toll on our mental and physical health. So, it's vital for us to plan our sleep and make it a priority. One has to be mentally alert and pass the yearly physical tests (medical) as a pilot who doesn't isn't allowed to fly and most don't have any other skill or experience," says the 37-year-old. Kapur manages to stay calm and fit by playing sports. "I love playing cricket and soccer and I like to run. I make sure that I go to the gym in the hotels I stay in without fail. When I am home, my wife and family have created a positive environment for me and take care of everything. I also enjoy social gatherings on my days off and spend all the time I can with my 9-year-old -thats a great stress buster."

PR Executive Srimoyi Bhattacharya Managing Director of a PR firm
Bhattacharya's work means commuting between three cities, though Mumbai is where her firm is headquartered. The 44-year-old visits her Delhi and Bangalore offices once every few months. Typically, a PR professional is under the most pressure when he or she must do damage control for clients. Bhattacharya takes a philosophical approach. She points out, "Stress is relative; there are people in other careers whose jobs involve taking life or death decisions, so it's all a matter of how you look at it. For me, a deadline provides an adrenaline rush and I feel a similar thrill whenever we sign a new client on. But, I do get stage-fright when I have to speak before a large audience, so that can be stressful."

Having worked in fast-paced cities like New York and France, Bhattacharya who has 23 years of experience in the line says, "I think the key is to prioritise your personal life too. I am possessive about my weekends and I always maintain professional and personal boundaries.Family holidays keep stress in check too.We visit our Goa home every five weeks. I also believe I'm entitled to enjoy some time on my own and I do pamper myself with spa treatments." Yoga sessions help as well. "These help me stay calm and control anxiety.

Breathing exercises are a part of my daily schedule," she says.

Senior Corporate Executive Reshmi Khurana, Heads the South Asian operations of a global risk solutions firm
As the Managaing Director of a global risk management consulting firm, 38-year-old Khurana's stress levels peak when it's time to deliver the end product to a client. "If we come across some sensitive information, we need to handle it carefully. We need to manage and develop trust with our client and staff," she tells us. Khurana's approach to combatting stress involves being aware of her triggers. "I know that the deadlines will stress me out, so I work on managing the project cycle better. I am aware that I have a tendency to not eat properly, sleep or exercise during that time, so I make it a point to watch out for these things," she shares. Khurana also takes the time to consciously destress. "During that time, I don't check my phone for e-mails and messages and I delegate work cleverly so I can spend time with my children. I also make it a point to exercise and eat right then. When a stressful situation arises, I consciously take a few minutes to look at the big picture and think about how the matter can be resolved. It's important to understand that if stress affects your health, it will also affect your work, so don't sweep it under the rug." Broadcaster Leeza Mangaldas TV presenter.

As a television presenter, 26-yearold Mangaldas is constantly in the limelight. "Doing live television is stressful because you have to be able to think on your feet, to process things clearly and to articulate what's going on around you as it unfolds.And, you have to get it right the first time -there's no margin of error. But instead of seeing that pressure as a negative, I try to channel it -it gives me the adrenaline rush that's required to boost my energy level and keeps me alert. In order for the pressure to work this way, I have to ensure that I am well-prepared, well-rested, and totally focused when I'm on air," she says. Mangaldas' career also involves a lot of travel and this, she says, "can get stressful. I find that stealing a few moments to unwind when I can is essential -this could mean getting a quick foot massage at an airport spa while waiting for a flight or a power workout at the hotel gym before we start shooting. And, when I get time off, I disconnect from work entirely, and spend my time baking or painting."

Event Co-ordinator Manisha Jadhwani Event co-ordinator and emcee
Twenty-four-year-old Manisha Jadhwani tells us that her job means, "no fixed days off and it requires working on weekends too. Organising events involves a lot of pressure because so many aspects have to be coordinated. "Contractors may cancel last minute, payments may not come in for months at a time and a lot of people are depending on you," she says.Jadhwani enjoys being the anchor for shows and this, she says, is one stress buster. "I love living life to the fullest.Meeting new people and attending events helps me unwind. To tackle the stress that comes with the job, I sweat it out at the gym everyday. It helps that I am inherently a positive person." Jadhwani also unwinds by watching animal and baby videos on YouTube, "and I enjoy comedy shows and short films.

Meetings friends and family also helps counter pressure."

Newspaper Reporter Priyanka Vora Health beat reporter
Twenty-seven-year-old Vora worked for four-and-a-half years as a daily health reporter with a newspaper and now continues to do this online.As journalists, we do not get public holidays or weekends off. "My day would involve visiting multiple hospitals, making calls, filing my stories before 8 pm and then reading about what foreign publications were writing about health, until midnight," she recalls. Competing with other newspapers would also be stressful. "You would get pulled up by your boss if another paper got some information that you didn't." Then, there was the daily stress of confronting human agony. Vora keeps calm by reading and, when she can't focus on writing a story, she takes a quick 10-minute walk to rejuvenate and to clear her mind.

Fire Fighter Prabhat Rahangdale Chief Fire Officer and Director of the Maharashtra fire service
53-year-old Rahangdale has won several gallantry medals for his bravery but he confesses that he hasn't always been fearless. "I have consciously chosen to protect and serve civilians and I take a lot of pride in what I do," he tells us. "In this line of work, there are times when you are overcome by fear -you are, after all, putting your life on the line, but firefighters train themselves mentally and physically to carry out their duties," he says.Managing limited resources when back-up is not ready, entering dangerous areas and controlling civilians are the chief causes of stress. "We train our minds for these," says Rahangdale.

Rahangdale knows that many in his profession suffer from PTSD, something he keeps at bay by taking care of himself.

"I go the gym after 9 pm every day and swimming is my form of meditation. I tend to my terrace garden personally -the time I spend pruning my plants and flowers is very relaxing and helps calm my nerves. I meet my friends when I can, and switch off from everything work-related every now and again. To manage stress, you must make time for you," he says.

Police Officer S Walishetty Retd ACP, Mumbai Police
Sixty-nine-year-old (retired) Assistant Commissioner of Police, Suresh Walishetty, served on the force for 35 years and won many bravery and gallantry medals. "We would work 24x7 for weeks on end trying to nab criminals -you couldn't return empty handed," he recalls. Walishetty has been on the scene of bomb blasts and was instrumental in arresting Arun Gawli, he shares. His advice to tackle stress: "maintaining mental and physical health is of utmost importance. Health is bound to affect work. I would make it a point to exercise regularly and keep my BP in check. I also maintained a private bonsai garden in my earlier accommodation. I love being around nature and the plants and flowers I tended to." Walishetty, a member of the Bombay Natural History Society, credits his wife too."I had less to worry about because I knew she was completely on top of things at home."

Taxi Driver Nasim Ahmed Siddiqui Taxi driver
Even an hour in Mumbai traffic is enough to raise one's blood pressure, so imagine the stress of spending every waking hour navigating these manic roads. Forty-seven-year-old Siddiqui shares, "When I'm waiting for the traffic to move, I sometimes feel as if I am going to lose my mind." He also worries about job security with online taxi aggregators gaining favour. "If this current situation continues taxi drivers won't be able to afford two square meals," he says. Regular walks help Siddiqui stay calm, and he finds salve in the daily news. "I feel less stressed when I think of people who are worse off than me. I only get two days off in a year, but at least I know that my family is safe and sound," he says. Watching TV is another stress buster. "I like watching cricket and the Shani TV show when I get home from work," he says.

Enlisted Army Personnel Retd Col Ajay Dubey (Rajput Regiment), Jabalpur
Protecting national interest on borders, fighting wars, combatting insurgency, choosing between life and death and protecting civilians -no one needs to be told how stressful a job in the army can be.60-year-old Retd Col Dubey from the Rajput Regiment says that an army manwoman, has to adapt to all types of terrains, weathers, food and people."We are trained to make measured, calm decisions in difficult situations. To be successful in this line of work, one has to learn to control one's nerves even in the face of tragedy," says the colonel.When there's no television, radio or music for entertainment, he plays with marbles, he tells us. "Camaraderie with your team helps to boost your morale. Mutual understanding, care and concern help soothe the nerves. And, you stay motivated because of the love for your country and team." A great stress-buster, he says, is to vent your feelings. "Let it out. Talk to your friend, wife or close confidante about whatever's bothering you. I used to divert my mind by reading a lot of military and non fiction books. I would also play indoor and outdoor games. When there was no other outlet, I would pray and meditate," he reveals.


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