Influential Leaders Practice Safe Stress

Handling stress

Summary: The beginning of each new year offers unique possibilities for growth and health. At the core, it is mostly about attitude. Here are some tips on navigating your world to make it special.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

The new year has not been friendly to me.

To clarify, I live in what used to be called “sunny” California. While always ready for an earthquake, I am unprepared for all the flooding and rain here.

My team at work is worried and tired. AND it’s only the second week of 2023.

I’m not sure how to support them, or myself for that matter.

Observe your natural style for handling stressful situations to see what to change.

My natural style, which is usually upbeat and fun, has turned sullen and angry.

How can I climb out of this deep hole of anxiety and lead the colleagues who work with me in a better way?

Every time someone says “Happy New Year,” I smile and respond appropriately. However, I want to say, “So far, this year sucks, and I am miserable.”

In any case, I would appreciate suggestions to turn around my malaise, please.

And by the way, I wish you a Happy New Year even though I am not particularly happy.


Tired and stressed

Dear T and S,

When disappointment drags you down, find new ways to climb higher.

You are not alone in the disappointment with how 2023 is starting for many of us.

I also live in California, Sonoma, to be exact. Though we are still dry and mud free at our home, there is undoubtedly a lot of rain and floods.

I guess our plea for the rain to get us out of the drought was not explicit enough. No one ever said how much rain would be best! Or at least how it could be titrated effectively so that it is not destructive.

I think I am blaming myself for all the rain. I kept wishing for rain but forgot to put in an order for the amount and timing.

In any case, there are issues everywhere that are about climate change, politics, relationships, and health concerns.

Stress and anxiety have been at the boiling point for the last few years, and depending on where you live, the weather has been the proverbial icing on the cake.

Here in “sunny” California, the rain and floods have been trending for the past few weeks.

Therefore, what do we do to stay calm and positive during stress and frustration?

Leaders who exhibit a positive perspective are needed now more than ever.

As a leader in a company, your health is vital to keep the engines of your business revved and going smoothly. Sadly, when stress hits the hot button, most forget about eating right, sleeping soundly, and exercising regularly.

More and more, usually fit executives are putting on weight, which can drive insulin levels up, causing worries about diabetes. Grabbing that handful of pretzels or peanuts for lunch or feasting on cold pizza daily increases the chances of higher blood pressure.

Research indicates that losing your job can send your health spiraling downwards. Even more complicated is that those with safe jobs feel the impact and have cardiac and other stress-related symptoms.

Eating, sleeping, exercise; most executives know what to do, and in easier times, do it. So, what can we learn from these challenging times? The first question is: how do we maintain a healthy attitude?

Attitude is the driver for handling stress.

And attitude is more complex than just having a positive outlook. It means learning to stay in the “Safe Stress Zone” ™ and creating a work setting that is not too extreme. That means you are better off not being either too flexible or too rigid.

I call this The Goldilocks Way. Find the middle ground as she did between beds too hard or too soft and to just right.

In “Invisible Stress (It’s NOT What YOU Think),” there are tips and tools for leaders to create a balanced setting for their workforce.

I believe that we can better communicate and collaborate once we learn about best practices for handling stress.

You can also email, and we will be pleased to offer you some articles about the foundations of a “safe stress” work culture.

And, by the way, the good news is you can take what you learn about what to do at work and bring it home; it’s equally essential to practice “safe stress” with your family successfully.

Just one last thought. Often a year that starts with problems and perhaps lots of rain (emotional rain also) ends up with great new understanding, lots of rainbows, and better relationships.

Here’s to your success,


PS. Our coaches are here, ready to help you personally or to work with your team. Let us know how we can help.

PSS. Happy New Year to all!!!

Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options