Don't Literally Stress Out!
September 23, 2014
While I was going back and forth on what to write about this week, the topic was staring me right in the face. Within the last couple of days it seems as if stress is the #1 thing people are dealing with. Regardless of age, gender, race, or personal politics, the self-imposed emotion of stress seems to hold the #1 spot on everyone's Top 10 chart. Stress can lead to anxieties, heart disease, heart attacks and depression.
Here are some of the issues I had others tell me about: Federal, state and private grant funding is way down for non-profits servicing the public; a jock in syndication is micro-managing too many business dealings during her show; a factory worker with two kids was out on strike for three months and is just now returning to work; the release of a song a few hours before it was supposed to be available to radio; a neighbor worried about his family because he is going through chemotherapy for stage-three cancer.
In the radio world, people stress about budgets, ratings, revenue, sexual harassment, retribution from co-workers or management, meeting sales quotas, clients behind on payment, spec spots, management of 401 Ks, relationships and layoffs,
Okay, I have pointed out the problem and some of the things people worry about in our business. I have many favorite sayings and one of them is, "Don't complain unless you have a solution." My grandfather had a solution for my grandmother's stress over keeping the house clean, "Lil, one day you will be part of the dust, sit down and relax, we just cleaned everything yesterday."
Radio is work, but it does not have to be mental anguish. Here is the e-mail I received to trigger my thoughts on stress.
Jock: I was programming in another market when an OM position became available in my hometown. It was perfect, both my wife and I grew up there and both our parents are getting up there in age and need some help. Well, in the process of serving out the last two days of my notice, the VP tells me the Company President had offered the job to a part-timer who had programmed at one of their other stations. To make a long story short, I am now the assistant OM doing an air shift without any promises for the future. Therefore I am in the process of putting together a syndicated show and there never seems to be enough time in the day to get all the work done. I would like to devote three or four hours every day to working on my dream, but the stress is causing me to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I need time with my wife and my daughters and lately the station has needed me more and more. But becoming syndicated is truly important to me. It is a great challenge trying to balance everything successfully, but worth every minute. The whole lack of time thing is eating me alive. I'm always exhausted. I have to figure out this syndication thing and how to do this job until the syndication kicks in.
Coach: It sounds like you're stressed. Send me a demo and then I can advise you on the direction of your syndication goal. In the meantime, you need to get your stress under control or you might mentally implode! Achievement is not worth killing yourself; life goes on and you to have manage things in a way to have enough energy to be productive. Studies have shown productivity drops in people under stress. Here are some suggestions I hope will help:
If you have not done so already, make a list of daily priorities and organize them in order of importance. Realistically estimate the amount of time each task takes, and set up your schedule for recording. Setting up a routine to follow will help put you at ease and put some order in your life. Believe it or not, I actually learned this from my golf coach on the approach to playing; he keeps saying life is like golf; it's one shot at a time. Living is one moment at a time, the more we can organize, the less chaotic.
Put exercise on your 'To Do' list; research has shown people who exercise regularly are mentally sharper. Even if it's just walking for 30 minutes a day three times a week. No excuses; make the time.
Eat something healthy for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- and don't skip meals. Stay away from donuts and soft drinks in the morning. If you need help on putting together healthy meals, just go online and Google "healthy meals" ... especially breakfast.
When the unexpected happens, do not let it throw you way off your game plan; deal with it and adjust your schedule.
Try and keep realistic expectations with everything you do and take the time to enjoy your family.
Read and or find a non-stressful hobby that allows you an escape for a few minutes a day. Some people are into yoga and even the martial arts.
I have learned the secret to reducing stress is to recognize the need to adjust and allow myself some downtime. You have to handle stress and don't let stress handle you.