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Pressure Cooking

We don’t notice the stresses and pressures bubbling away, until WHAM! Straight out of nowhere the pressure overflows, and one seemingly small drama turns into a crisis. Another miserable rainy day this February is getting me down, I hate to think what the stress levels are like in flood stricken Shrewsbury.

Pressure cookers have a reputation as a dangerous method of cooking with the risk of explosion. Early pressure cookers equipped with only a primary safety valve were at risk of explosion if poorly maintained, allowing food residues to contaminate the release valve. Modern pressure cookers typically have two or three independent safety valves, as well as some additional safety features, such as an interlock to prevent opening the lid while internal pressure exceeds atmospheric pressure. However there is still a risk of explosion, especially if cookers are not thoroughly and regularly maintained.”

What are your safety values? Your health is a barometer for your business.  If you are well and working to your optimum capacity, then there probably isn’t anything you can not do.  However, that isn’t always the case and we need to keep an eye on the pressure cooker so that it doesn’t get to explosive state.   Being dead is bad for business after all.

Excess stress “The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.”  This can be things that are happening in the business, to the business or just simply to you the owner of the business.  And sometimes things that you think you ought to be able to take in your stride may just be sitting at a higher Fahrenheit than you realise.  

According to Labour Force Survey, in 2018/19 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health cases and 54% of all working days lost. (And that’s not counting those citing alternative symptoms.)

Are you an explosion just waiting to happen?  If so appoint a “Pressure Pal” or recruit a “Burden Buddy”.  In ancient times people received such support from clans and tribes.  Whilst we no longer live in a close knit community your business and social networks are similar.  They are brilliant for spotting those who are acting slightly differently to what you would normally expect.  Keep your eyes and ears open for:

  • Emotional reactions (feelings)
  • Disruptions of thought processes (inability to think clearly)
  • Physical illness (ill health)
  • Behavioural signs (changes in behaviour)

Pent up emotions do not just disappear.  Find people you can trust who are willing to give you enough time to vent your emotions when appropriate.  Tell them what is on your mind, warn them that you need to share and allow yourself to react emotionally.  Emotional support comes from having people around you who are positive and who appreciate your vulnerability.  You may also find yourself laughing at the end of your vent. Laughing, of course, is really good for you.

When you have done this, take some time to breathe deeply.  It will help you anchor your calmer more positive mind.  

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