Our reality has shifted abruptly and our stress levels are skyrocketing. It doesn’t matter whether you are a top manager or the youngest employee in your firm, whether you are a freelancer or part of a group of friends who founded a startup: as a human being, you are probably going through a rough time right now. So is everyone else. As scientists and doctors drag humanity out of this crisis, the rest of us must find ways to cope. We have already talked about remote team buildings and how they can help your team stay connected during these stressful times, but what about specific stress-relief activities, both for those still in lockdown and for those slowly going back to some sort of “normal”? We selected a few for you to try.
Yoga team building
No, we are not literally asking whether you have “tried yoga” as an antidote to a global pandemic. But we are suggesting you try it as an easy and accessible way of leaving the general stress and fear of this moment in history behind for an hour or so. The great thing about this activity is that it works equally well if you do it online or if you book your team into a resort for a day or two – provided that they can meet the requirements in terms of hygiene and personal distancing. Yoga is an approachable activity, that can be undertaken even by those who have no previous training and are not particularly active: a good teacher will always devise movements that are safe and beneficial. Even a two-day yoga retreat can provide physical and mental relief to your stressed coworkers.
Guided meditation team building
Is meditation really “an activity”? That’s debatable. Those who have tried, however, will tell you that, while on the surface it might look like someone meditating is about to doze off, there is actually a lot going on inside one’s mind, particularly during a guided meditation. As stress-relief activities go, this is one of the most popular. Just like yoga, it does draw a fair amount of skeptical criticism, but that’s just another case of “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it”. This activity too works just as well online and offline – although it is advisable to use headphones if meditating “remotely”. A good guided meditation can be a wholesome and incredibly relaxing experience when conducted by someone talented and experienced. And it is a matter of talent: this is, by all intents and purposes, an interactive performance. You don’t need to read anything more into it than there is: this is the mental equivalent of a massage. It’s not there to restore your health or make you whole, it’s just supposed to feel good and help you relax. And, during these trying times, that’s plenty.
Stress-relief activities or stress-relief incentives?
If your goal is to help your employees cope with the stress of this situation, you don’t necessarily have to pick their stress-relief activities for them. In fact, the introverts in your team would rather you didn’t. It may seem counterintuitive, but this is a terrible time for introverts. You might think they are having a pretty decent time, away from everyone else, but they are not, because suddenly everyone wants to hang out on Skype for hours, they want to talk on the phone, they want – with the best of intentions – to connect. And your introvert friends are hating every minute of it and they find it overwhelming. So, if you know for a fact that some of your team members are introverts, try not to saddle them with the added stress of stress-relief activities, and instead go for stress-relief incentive gifts. Sure, you can hardly book them on a trip to Italy right now, but you can still give them a gift. Surprise them by ticking an item off their Amazon wishlist, treat them to something they will genuinely enjoy – it may be a waffle-maker or a giant box of chocolates – or just give them a gift card with a nice note, expressing your wish for them to be ok and to take care of themselves. This is the kind of moment in history where a little goes a long way. When life returns to normal, you will be happy to have a dedicated, grateful, and above all healthy team by your side.