When you’re overwhelmed or burned out, the whole world is a drag, which is why it’s so important to counter the drags with more “lifts.” These are things that shake you out of a rut, reframe negative thoughts, and give you fresh energy when your own is in short supply.
In our work at meQuilibrium, we teach and study resilience—a life skill that keeps you afloat during stressful moments (or days, or weeks). And every day we discover people and organizations that are helping others build greater resilience and we love sharing them. Why? Because stories like these are indeed lifts. They can inspire you, shift your perspective from “Everything stinks,” to “Alright, this is pretty cool,” and affirm your efforts to build your own resilience. Here are three stories that lifted our spirits this month.
9-1-1 dispatchers bike off stress
Handling emergency calls is considered one of the most stressful jobs in the country. Add sitting for your entire shift on top of the emotional toll, the level of focus, and the sheer unpredictability of the work, and you’ve got a recipe for enormous stress-related burnout. A 9-1-1 call center in Springfield, Missouri, decided to put the problem on wheels—by installing stationary bikes designed specifically for the dispatchers’ desks. Biking isn’t mandatory, but most of the center’s 70 full-time dispatchers spend at least a little time pedaling on the job. The activity helps them unwind physically (and burn off a few extra calories). Their bodies and minds are more resilient as a result.
(Read more about how to incorporate exercise into your work.)
A company makes it easier for employees who double as caregivers
About two out of five American adults are caregivers for aging parents, and many of them are also full-time employees. Some major U.S. companies are recognizing that in order to maintain a resilient, productive workforce, they need to acknowledge and support caregiving duties. Pricewaterhouse Cooper is one of those forward-thinking companies. By offering a flexible schedule, they’ve seen an increase in employee productivity and a decrease in used sick days. “It is the responsibility of the management team to make this stuff happen,” Pricewaterhouse Cooper chairman Bob Moritz said at the 2014 White House Summit on Working Families.
(Read more on how mindfulness practice can help caregivers.)
A football coach teaches strategy—and work-life balance
Blake Anderson was football coach at Middle Tennessee State. It was his dream job. And then, in 2005, he resigned. It wasn’t the pay or the team record that forced his hand. Instead, he wanted to be able to spend more time with his family. That decision has shaped every aspect of his career ever since. When he got back into coaching two years later, he did so with a promise to himself: ”I’m not ever going to be that person again. There’s going to be balance, there’s going to be family.” Now, as head coach at Arkansas State, he organizes meetings, practices, daily routines and vacation schedules to make sure his staff and players have time for life off the field. Time will tell how his approach works for the team, Anderson says, but to him, “it’s worth the risk.”