Introduction to Choosing Joy or Stress
Black Friday is in 16 days. I get excited just typing it! But for some of us, reading this can bring on heart palpitations and feelings of overwhelming stress. If you are in retail, you have probably been waiting for this peak with great anticipation! And no matter how much you plot, plan and prepare, is there a little voice taunting you? Fear of not making your sales results, a shortage of sales associates, low traffic, not being good enough and on and on the doubts and questions go. I have spent the past 30 years in retail so my comments are a reflection of what I have lived through every holiday. Adrenaline flowing, heart pumping.
While everyone else you know are planning for Thanksgiving Day and where they will shop on Black Friday, you are barely thinking about Thanksgiving because your mind is focused on what is finally here, the big day. Does this sound familiar to anyone or is it just me?
Will you let Stress take over?
So here is the question…will you choose joy or let stress take over? It is a choice. And the choice we make determines the success we experience. If stress is contagious, does that mean joy is also contagious? To achieve the results we have been working our tails off for the past few weeks, we need to choose joy. I don’t want this to sound trite…so let’s talk about what it means to choose joy.
What does choosing joy mean?
Choosing joy means letting go of the things we cannot control – which is most things! It means giving grace to others with all their strengths and weaknesses and having compassion for ourselves.
If you want to choose joy, look outwardly at your customers and what you can do to make their experience a remarkable one, rather than inwardly at yourself and all you need to accomplish.
- Envision your Success – talk to the team about the role they play, what you need from them (they cannot read your mind), what they should expect.
- Walk through all the details, one more time. Ensure you have maximized, operationalized, expanded, orchestrated, streamlined. These are “achievement” words.
- Set your goals. This means knowing how much volume you need for the day, by hour, by segment, by manager. Knowing the results will keep you and your team clear on the target and coaching the behaviors that will get you there.
- Ask for help if you need it. Don’t be a hero.
Easy things to do for the next 16 days to manage stress
Over the coming days, I recommend a few things that will help manage your stress level and allow you to ENJOY the peak retail season.
- Get plenty of rest
- Eat healthy
- Start slow and quiet each morning
- Be thankful – say thank you to customers and your associates
- Stay active
- Breathe and mediate/pray when you feel stress coming on
Impacts of Stress
There is a great article published by Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School) and I am going to share some excerpts that I have found to ease and help manage stress.
Stress comes in many different forms from a demanding job (hello retail!) to a fight with a family member to financial difficulties. Some stress can even come from fun activities like planning an event or buying a new puppy. But whether it is caused by difficult or fun reasons, it is still hard on our bodies.
Stressful situations trigger our stress response. You already know about the hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help you deal with the situation (fight or flight). We all have triggers that cause our bodies stress response to kick in.
Recognizing Stress Symptoms
Dr. Webster says that symptoms of stress can take many forms. Stress can cause physical complaints like back pain, indigestion, heart palpitations or a tension headache. It may even appear as cognitive problems, such as poor concentration and indecisiveness. Emotional symptoms of stress include crying, irritability and edginess. And stress can show up as negative behaviors” (Best Ways to Manage Stress, Harvard Health Letter). “Driving a car too fast, overeating or smoking can all be behavioral symptoms of stress,” says Dr. Webster.
Managing your Stress
The first step is to identify what YOUR trigger is. Dr. Webster says “If you know what pushes your buttons, then avoid it. But there are stresses we have to accept, so we must change our reactions to them.”
Are your triggers:
– Multiple things happening at once?
– Something unexpected happens?
The situation that triggers our stressors are different for each of us. Knowing yours is key to managing it. One of the best ways to manage stress is through relaxation techniques. These trigger the relaxation response that can lower bread pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, stress hormones, or oxygen consumption. You can achieve this with activities like praying, meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises. If you are at work, you obviously may not be able to do some of these…deep breathing is something you can do anywhere. Drinking a cup of hot tea (chamomile or peppermint teas reduce stress and anxiety) is a great stress reliever too!
Action Time: Joy or Stress this Holiday?
Okay, my favorite time of the post, practical application of what you read. I hope you have found some tidbits that you can apply to ensure you enjoy the busy holiday season and achieve the results you desire. A few final thoughts:
- If you feel yourself feeling stressed and you cannot leave the sales floor, take some deep breaths. Deep cleansing breaths help you relax.
- You will have many new customers visit your store, making a great impression will keep them coming back.
- Customers have a choice – create an experience that make them glad they chose to shop in a brick and mortar store
- Have fun! Holiday comes once a year. Make it fun for yourself, your staff and your customers. Bring treats in for your team. Smile til your face hurts!