I used to work as a summer camp counselor at the best summer camp in the world. I taught sailing and tennis, and lived in a cabin with campers.
I remember one day when I was already beyond stressed, one of the young campers in my cabin had an accident that resulted in urine all over the floor.
Before I lost my cool I threw my hands up and said, “I need a co-counselor.” A guy we call Action Jackson came to my rescue. He told me to go take five minutes to collect myself and destress while he looked after the cabin.
Though not everyone has had the distinct pleasure of dealing with a camper peeing on the floor, we all have moments when the insanity has nearly broken us. Perhaps it is a constant stream of work emails asking for new deliverables, class assignments becoming overwhelmingly demanding, or drama within your social circle -– or most likely all of the above at once -– everyone has felt levels of insanity that have the ability to break us if we don’t keep them in check.
I have found that the best thing to do when dealing with this crazy level of insanity is to follow Action Jackson’s advice and stop for a moment. Take a breather. Go for a walk. Meditate. Make a cup of tea. Whatever it is you do, allow yourself five to ten minutes so you can decompress and formulate a plan of attack.
Personally, I like to focus on my breathing for a few minutes to connect to the moment, and then bust out a pen and paper. I write down everything that is bothering me and brainstorm for the best ways to approach each problem.
When you’re in the midst of the storm, it may feel as though you don’t have the 5-10 minutes needed to temporarily escape from the insanity. What I have discovered is that the worst thing I can do is not take the time needed to destress before returning to the fray.
Jason Connell is a career consultant as well as a public speaker. His presentations (through his company Changing the World 101) focus on how university students can get involved with volunteer projects in the developing world. For more, visit. www.changingtheworld101.com.© 2011 Jason Connell
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