The pre-text—what happens before the workday begins, including the morning routine and daily commute—plays a major role in determining your client’s work performance. I have found that the single most important element in a client’s pre-text is their home life – especially their family situation. According to the Holmes & Rehe stressor scale (Holmes TH, Rahe RH (1967). “The Social Readjustment Rating Scale”. J Psychosom Res 11: pp 213–18) family elements account for eight of the top ten items, including (being married coming in at seventh).
Techniques a client might use to boost resilience to stress include:
⦁ Building role distinction. When at home, your client should make an effort to focus on his identity as a partner, spouse and/or parent instead of bringing work home.
⦁ Being fully present at work. Taking personal calls during the workday can decrease resilience to stress
⦁ Maintaining good physical health. Support your clients in planning to eat more healthfully and exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.
Consider how stressful the workplace itself is. Each job is different: Consider that in 2013, CareerCast.com’s annual survey of the least- and most-stressful jobs identified university professor and jeweler as two of the lowest-stress professions. On the other end of the spectrum were careers in military service, firefighting and law enforcement.
Techniques for improving coping mechanisms include:
⦁ Developing boundaries. Your client needs to know when to say yes and when to say no.
⦁ Recognizing the signs of stress. Coach clients to recognize warning signs of stress, such as increased heart rate, distraction and sweating when stationary. Taking regular breaks or making time for a longer walk during the workday can help keep stress at bay.
⦁ Learning mindfulness. Separate self from activity and performance.