We’ve all been on the receiving end of this kind of advice at one time or another, but it’s easier said than done, right? Meet the women who don’t let the immense pressure get to them. Discover their secrets and use them to give yourself nerves of steel…
The Stuntwoman, Amanda Foster
This award-winning stuntwoman has worked with Martin Scorsese and Danny Boyle, doubled as Halle Berry and Beyoncé, and worked with Brad Pitt on World War Z and Tom Cruise on Edge of Tomorrow.
“Working as a stuntwoman carries a high degree of responsibility and a willingness to work in dangerous situations. I can work up to 14-hour days depending on film schedules, which can be physically and mentally tough.
“I am always apprehensive before a stunt as there are so many variables. I have to ensure my action is precise to avoid missing my mark. In that moment, my attitude is, Surrender… Breathe! Sometimes it pays to simply take a deep breath.
“When I’ve successfully completed my action with flair and grace (and I’ve left work in my car rather than an ambulance), the stress is gone.
Use it: Stress is often a result of feeling like you could have done or could be doing something better – once you can pinpoint that, you can work to improve it. “Zone in on what aspect of work or home that’s making you feel stressed and try managing that task in a different way,” says psychologist Emma Kenny, founder of makeyourswitch.co.uk
– RELATED: 6 Scientifically Proven Ways To Relieve Stress –
The Financial Expert, Hannah Maundrell
Editor in chief at money.co.uk
As a financial expert in charge of one of the most popular and well-known financial advice websites in the UK, there are no second chances – Maundrell needs to know her stuff. That doesn’t just mean making sure the website has the very latest information and advice, it also means answering complex questions on live TV or radio – so quick thinking and a good memory are key.
“I do a lot of live broadcast where I get put on the spot to answer complicated questions about finance and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t used to find this stressful but now I’m completely comfortable with the fact that when it comes to talking money I do know my stuff; if I don’t know, it’s perfectly reasonable for me to admit that.
“For me, the key is what I allow to stress me out; there’s no point in worrying about a worst case scenario. I can only do my best. There’s no point in flapping and feeling hopeless as it doesn’t help anyone. I take a deep breath and focus on a positive action that will take me forward – doing this can quickly turn a potentially stressful situation into one I feel completely able to deal with.
“I’m a big believer in learning from experience and that means trying to take something positive out of a stressful event. You can look at what went well, why you found it stressful in the first place and what you can do to either stop it happening again, or at least make sure you’re prepared.
Use it: “When something is stressing you, try to think through realistic outcomes, without focusing on the worst-case scenario,” says Kenny. “Imagining all the dreadful things that could happen won’t make you feel better and it also won’t make a disaster any less likely either, so instead, prepare yourself to deal with small mistakes or upsets but avoid focusing on the less likely disaster scenarios.”
The Skin Doctor, Dr Clare Anyiam-Osigwe
BEM, Founder of Premae Skincare
Dealing with distressed clients on a day-to-day basis puts a lot of pressure on Dr Anyiam-Osigwe, as her role is to try and help them overcome an allergy but there are often issues of mental health, self-esteem and self-image to address, too.
“I’ve learned how to deal with stress over time. I used to be very anxious and quite a worrier. This used to increase my stress levels. Now, I take things with a pinch of salt, usually by finding humor in the situation. I have leveled with the fact that if I don’t, I will make myself ill and if I’m ill, I can’t help others.
“I’ve had a few people be quite mean when they have arrived late for their appointment. I find a way to calm them down, with a nice cup of tea and a facial. They end up crying, explaining that they’re going through a divorce or have childcare issues. I’ve found that the way people treat you is usually a reflection of the good and the bad that’s happening in their lives. The key is to not allow anyone to transfer their stress on to you. Be a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear, but don’t bring their ‘stuff’ home. I don’t talk about negative things at home with my husband, for example. That’s our sanctuary.
“Something that really helps me unwind is the steam room at my gym. While sitting in there for 30 minutes, three times per week, I tell myself that I’m starting afresh and anything is possible. I chant mantras in mind and breathe deeply to cleanse the day away. It’s the only thing that has worked for the past six months. That, and lifting weights. The focus that is needed for me to lift 10kg weights in both arms takes my mind off work and in to thoughts like: “Wow! You’re getting stronger!”
Use it: Feeling strong physically has a beneficial knock-on effect on your psyche. You’ll find it easier to say no, for example, if you are always being asked to do more at work because you’ll feel stronger emotionally.
“Finding new ways to challenge yourself in areas of your life that are unrelated to your stressors is also a great way to find success and thereby reduce the impact of possible stressors,” says Kenny. “Learning to close off pressure from others is also key – finding ways to focus on yourself.”
– RELATED: Yoga Can ‘Reverse’ DNA Reactions That Cause Stress –
The Child Protection Social Worker, Larissa Williams
Working with parents who have allegedly harmed their children or whose children have been harmed by someone else is not only an emotional drain, it’s incredibly stressful. At times she is also cross examined in court, where her expertise and experience may be belittled and questioned. Then there is the issue of a high volume of work to minimal hours to complete the job.
“I have a natural disposition for avoiding conflict and listening to the points of views of others, which seems to reduce the regularity in which I get death threats from people I am working with!
“The nature of my job means I am, on a daily basis, working with people who face hardship and challenges most can barely imagine. The impact on me is that I am reminded on a daily basis how incredibly fortunate I am; this creates a sense of wellbeing in my personal life and perspective and that has an impact on my capacity to manage stress better than others.
“Exercise has always been my go-to activity to destress. Being shouted at by someone else to do some brainless activity that involves my body as opposed to my mind is the best distraction technique.”
Use it: “Exercise is a proven de-stressor,” says Kenny. “It releases endorphins and other hormones that help you release stress.” Research from the University of Bristol, UK, found that people who exercise feel more able to concentrate and get more done when they’re at work, too. The perfect combo!
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