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Everyday life can get hectic at times and some days are more stressful than others. Sometimes it’s the smallest things are creating the biggest worries. In the light of the increasing prevalence and awareness of mental health, our new blog post focuses on our own mental well-being and reflects on situations, where our team members have felt stressed. Most importantly, we were curious about the techniques that each of us uses in order to cope with the pressure and workload. Here are the thoughts of Triumf team members on how to relieve stress.
Taking short breaks to refresh the mind during the working day
Our team members relieve stress during the working day by taking small breaks. We all have different was to relax such as playing guitar, watching meaningless youtube videos, listening to music, catching up with social media or just giving the eyes some rest. It is important to take the mind off from work from time to time. You are then able to return to your tasks with some new energy.
Some of the problems we are trying to fix are enormous. But if we don't look at those problems as a whole but rather take these problems to pieces, it will be emotionally easier to handle. Setting the goal to complete a certain amount of small tasks as an effort to solve the situation without thinking about the reachability of end goal gives the sense of achieving small victories and diminishes the barrier of getting yourself to work in a first place.
The importance of physical activity
Be it in the form of building something with your own hands, doing some moderate exercise, walking and stretching, dancing, playing basketball or bouldering. All of our team members are engaged in some form of physical activity that keeps the mind at peace. If you feel overwhelmed with your work, stressing about it takes much more time than having a short time for yourself to exercise. You feel much better afterwards and can tackle work issues with more energy.
Recognizing the symptoms
Difficulties with sleep are a common indicator that you are under a lot of stress. It helps to learn what works for you to relieve this situation. Perhaps a little neck massage from a loved one before going to bed? Or reading or meditating? Or maybe doing some exercise will also help you sleep better?
In today’s fast-paced society, we recognize that many of us are stressed out and it is common to say that “I am so busy, I am so stressed out”. However, talking about this with your family or just spending time with your loved ones might relieve this. Some of our team members say that having a dog is the best emotional support to have. Find the best way for yourself, your friends, family or pets can be a huge support. This reduces the risk of burning out - you cannot be under a lot of stress for a long time without it taking a toll on your health and wellbeing.
Do you agree with these tips? Read below for more detailed description of what our team members said:
Riin: People are different and different things work for individuals but I’m one of those who cannot keep going without fulfilled basic needs and therefore, eating normal (i.e. healthy and preferably warm) food and keeping my sleep regular are a must (a rested fool is better than an exhausted smart one!?). Also, taking work breaks on hourly or 1.5h intervals has turned out to be optimal for me. What I have also learned is that spending time outside and doing moderate sports is very refreshing. And when it’s hard for me to fall asleep then I have to be very stressed already. For that I have learned that even a five minute massage on the neck or back delivered by your loved one works the best. And overall, it’s important to keep a positive mind and think of the privilege of being able to do the things you love.
Lea: The first line of defense against stress is my brain - I have trained it to understand that not everything is tragic. With the start of every work day, I take a look at priorities and re-adjust to changes but not kill myself over it with overtime. In rare situations that actually require 12+ hours of non-stop work, I do 20-min pauses in the middle to play guitar and change the focus entirely to refresh the mind. I also do bouldering three times a week, to keep the body and posture engaged (after sitting on the computer whole day). When I’m climbing my mind is on the route in front of me and thinking how to solve it while pushing my body to its limits. The puzzle side of this sport is great to take my mind off from any other worry.
Risto: The only way to get rid of work-related stress is just to do all the assignments, worrying takes much more time than doing them. Down-to-earth solution for me is combining work with music without words to help with the concentration. Also, our dog is the best way to get away from any stress. Whether it is throwing a big stick to him or hiding some cheese or sausage to somewhere or even myself, I couldn’t imagine a life without our dog. Second is basketball. It’s an opportunity to let some emotions out on the court. And even if sometimes some ribs hurt or loss is the result, hugging and clapping the opposite team afterwards and going to the showers all sweaty and tired is always positive in my book. Also, playing certain video games, doing physical work, drawing/reading/learning Spanish at the moment. And for me, sometimes it is crucial to be left alone.
Kadri: I feel like it is sometimes difficult to get the mind off from work as there are many things constantly on the plate in an early stage startup. During the most critical times, I have found two things that really help: building something with your own hands takes a lot of concentration, so it is almost impossible to think about anything else. Doing some woodwork, construction work or renovations will really put the mind to a different place. A great plus to that is the fact that you need to be physically very active while doing those activities. It’s a really good change to being behind the computer 24/7. Second, sometimes it is necessary to just give the brain a break… and do nothing. I often tell Risto (the husband who doubles as a coworker) that I need to do something “brain-free” as things get out of hand. This usually means that I will open Youtube and watch some meaningless vlogs or makeup reviews. And, as Risto said, truly a pro tip is to have a cuddly dog.
Mait: I try to reduce my stress by managing my time. While encountering large and complex problem, the sheer thought of tackling or solving it can be somewhat tantalizing or freezing. I work by using pomodoro time management technique that means working by 25 minutes splits with 5 minute short break between each split and longer 20 minute split after four consecutive pomodoros have been completed. I use the 5 minute and 20 minute splits to walk and stretch and interact in social channels that I keep in my other computer. Secondly, by not tackling the big problem at its wholeness, makes the situation emotionally easier by presenting it in a piecemeal viewpoint. Setting the goal to complete a certain amount of pomodoros as an effort to solve the situation without thinking about the reachability of end goal gives me the sense of achieving small victories and diminishes the barrier of getting yourself to work in a first place. Usually, I am quite surprised how far I have reached as a result of my efforts after week or two and by that time, the situation turns from stress inducing problem to positively challenging one.
Kaari: I usually don’t get stressed by the fact that I have lots of things on my plate, per se, but rather because other things (i.e a normal, healthy lifestyle) get left in the background. My first go-to destressor is definitely exercise. If I still have mindspace left and motivation, I usually go for a run. It’s actually amazing what a therapeutic impact it has. Running gives me the chance to completely clear my mind from work-related thoughts- I’m only focussing on my breathing and the surroundings. When I return from a run, I feel so much fresher and all the to-do tasks seem to have less impact on me. A little bit of sweat always helps. Secondly, I usually prepare for the upcoming week during the weekend by doing all the little things that take time (laundry, food shop, cooking). That way I feel ready for the week and can cope with new challenges better. My last little tip to myself is not to think about the stressors when I spend time with family and friends. I know I could use this time to study or work but I also know that, at the end of the day, I get things done, even if I need to wake up a little bit earlier.