Relieving Stress

No matter how many measures you take to reduce stress, you will not eliminate it.

There are three things you can do to assist staff with managing the stress that remains:

  1. Remind them to pay attention to it.
  2. Provide resources and opportunities for them to deal with it.
  3. Model good stress management behavior.

Below we list some ideas for concrete actions you can take.

  1. Promote awareness among staff and establish the expectation that people will take care of themselves.
    1. Print out copies of the Staff Care Card and make sure all staff get a copy when they arrive.
    2. At your regular staff meetings, remind staff that this is something you expect them to pay attention to.
    3. Give new staff copies of this document, Effective Self Care, when they join the team, go over it at a staff meeting, and post copies in the office.
    4. Ask different staff members to share their favorite stress management practices at staff meetings (ask individuals ahead of time so they are prepared).
  2. Set aside space and time for exercise.  Set the example by undertaking some sort of regular exercise yourself – something that people can see you doing.  Also, see if you can get someone to lead a yoga or other class.
  3. Create a sense of friendship among staff by organizing activities:
    1. In the office
           Celebrate birthdays and other events
    2. Out of the office:
           Have dinners
           Play sports
           Have a game night
           Go on hikes
           Have picnics
           Organize regular group exercise
           Have a talent show
      Yes, it will take some effort to organize these things, but it’s worth it.
  4. Establish a Person to Receive Complaints at the office and guest houses

    Just being able to express problems can do a lot to relieve the stress those problems are causing.   Establish an official person to whom people can come with issues related to the office, living situations, colleagues, supervisors and other things.   You must also give that person some authority to be able to resolve the issues that come up.

    It would be best if this person is in the HR department and/or trained in dealing with these matters.  Also, make sure that there is a relatively senior woman who can play this role for other women.

  5. Establish an R & R Benefit

    Taking a break for a few days can re-charge the batteries.  See these sections on how to establish these policies:

    R & R for International Staff

    R & R for National Staff

  6. Find a Professional Resource for Staff to Consult

    Consult with the Staff Benefits Coordinator in headquarters to see if they can help you with this.