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STRESS-ME-NOT

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Being a fashion buyer at one of the UK’s largest retailers means that things can get a little stressful for me at times. On that matter, any job in the fashion industry can be stressful… Any job can be stressful. I love my role because every day is different, and I’m glad to say that most days go by smoothly. But once in a while not so much. I have made a list of four ways that I personally cope with work stress. The advice is quite general so it can hopefully be of use to you too.




First, you probably want to know what a fashion buyer does. It’s not as simple as just buying fashion! My job is varied, and may be very different to another fashion buyer’s role in the south for instance. In a nutshell, I help to determine what the retailer should sell for the next season, this includes what we already sell, with the addition of new product lines. I travel up and down the UK (and sometimes abroad) to look for what competitors are designing and manufacturing for consumers. I also attend regular meetings with my team to share ideas on developing new merchandise.


My role is demanding because I have to be at the right place at the right time; there’s a lot of organisation involved. If you have an interest in becoming a fashion buyer, I would say that you need to have a lot of enthusiasm because without it you’ll lose interest in what you’re doing. Communication is also essential because it ensures that everyone on the team knows what’s going on. As you may be able to tell, if I don’t provide my team with the right information, then profits will fall because the merchandise is not what customers are looking for.







Know what the cause of your stress is.


If you’re getting stressed out at work, it’s not an ideal situation. Long term stress is not good for the body, mind, and soul. Try to find out what the cause of your stress is so that you can deal with it from there instead of ignoring it and letting it get worse for yourself. If you don’t know what it is, then most likely it won’t be dealt with appropriately. How we react to stress-inducing situations and events is an individual thing. Some people may feel pressure and get angry, others may feel worried, and some may get a rush of adrenaline, helping them perform better. The point I’m getting at is, how do YOU deal with stressful situations?


The next time you get stressed out, keep a note somewhere of the situation (you can keep a diary or use the notes app on your mobile to help you keep track of stressors), who else was involved (if any), how you felt at the time, and what you did at the time. Did you get filled with rage? Did you raise your voice? If your reaction is not ideal, instead try to make changes towards how you deal and react to stressful situations. You can do things such as going for a walk to cool down, explaining to others about how you feel, and taking efficient breaks. If you cannot cope with stress, it is worthwhile to talk to your employer or manager to voice any concerns that you have. It is essential that an employer is non-judgmental and attentive to concerns and someone you should be able to discuss issues openly with (Toniolo-Barrios & Pitt, 2021).


If your reaction is not ideal, instead try to make changes towards how you deal and react to stressful situations.

Don't take others' opinions and actions to heart.


After the pandemic, I’ve found that people are different, meaning, they’re more direct and stern. I’d like you to think about certain situations you’ve maybe been in, in the past couple of months. If you drive, when was the last time you found the driver behind you eager to sit in your backseat? Or when you politely told someone in the supermarket that you wanted an item on the shelf behind them, were you met with the look of disgust? How about when someone deliberately rushed to the cashier that you had your sights on? Or how about when you thanked the bus driver and they didn’t acknowledge your existence? These situations and actions may be so small and not worth fussing over, but when you’re consistently annoyed or frustrated with other people’s actions, it can leave you feeling like you live in a cruel and unkind world.


I think that people have forgotten how to act in public after not having to socialise as much with others. Rather than letting yourself get negatively affected by other people’s actions, you should instead acknowledge that, that person may not realise how their behaving or they may have things going on in their life that you may not necessarily know about. As annoying as this quote is, everything happens for a reason, and you may not be the reason of other people’s actions and opinions. Don’t take it personally. If one of your colleagues didn’t like a certain input of yours shared in a meeting, so what? Let it pass. You’ll know when enough is enough. Sometimes we may read into things a little too much. We mustn't let a couple of seconds or minutes ruin our entire day, week, or our entire existence for that matter. If you feed it, it grows.


As annoying as this quote is, everything happens for a reason, and you may not be the reason of other people’s actions and opinions.










Planning is important.


Please, try and plan your week in advance. You can’t just rock up to work not knowing what you’re doing for the day otherwise things are just not going to go well for yourself or your team. When we make a plan, we have guidance of what to do instead of winging it. Plans also minimise the risk of mishaps from occurring. I find that this is the most important factor for me in maintaining a healthy stress level. Let me cut to the chase, I need to organise and prepare everything that’s in my control. This helps me out because if any surprises come up at work, I know where to slot them in my diary. I prioritise the most important tasks. I also make sure that I give myself periods of rest and relaxation, and time to not be thinking about work, which I cover in my last tip. Have you got one task that takes up a lot of your time? Make a note of this and move it up your priority list. You don’t have to plan what goes on minute by minute, just make note of a couple of things that you wish or need to do for each day, such as what time you’ll leave, meal planning, upcoming meetings, exercise, grocery shopping, and leisure time. It really does help when you know what’s going on. I tried to use a 6 ring agenda at the start of the year, but it wasn’t my thing. I generally use my iCloud calendar so that I can access it in many places!


You are not just your job.


So, you’ve got a job, well done, it’s a lot of hard work to acquire one these days. When we have a job, sometimes we find ourselves under pressure to perform and be the best. If you live and breathe work 24/7, then who are you as a person? Consistently trying to impress others increases the risk of burnout. Just recently, I’ve come to appreciate having a life outside of work and not taking work home with me, especially if I’m on holiday. The ability to switch off from work (and everything work-related) is referred to as "psychological detachment" (Firoozabadi et al., 2018).


I have also realised one thing that all my friends have in common, they have hobbies and make time for them accordingly. My friends don’t ever complain about work like I used to do (a lot). Having a hobby is quite useful when dealing with stress. One of my favourite hobbies at the moment is taking pretty pictures to upload on Instagram. It gives me something to do, gives me inspiration, and the chance to interact with others. I can’t explain it, but looking at my posts make me feel relaxed. If you find it hard to find a hobby, just ask yourself, what would you like to do if you won the lottery tomorrow and didn’t have to work? Try and turn that into a hobby, or at least a reasonable and alternative version of it that satisfies you.


If you find it hard to find a hobby, just ask yourself, what would you like to do if you won the lottery tomorrow and didn’t have to work?

Another point to add is that during your lunch break, try to step away from your desk, or at least where you work. Humans were not made to sit at desks for long periods of time! When it’s my break, I usually go for walk in the courtyard, especially now that it’s great weather to do so. It’s refreshing and helps me to separate myself from work for a little bit. A lot of people tend to continue working throughout their breaks but that doesn’t work for me. Since the weather is great now, I’ll take a short walk outside.


Lastly, home time is home time. When I get home after a long day, I like to just chill. I don’t like to think about what could’ve gone better or what I should’ve done because the time for that has passed. If you make a mistake, you can learn from it and try not to repeat it! Home should be a place for you to relax and switch-off from work, even if you work from home. Responding to emails can wait, unless you know that it’s important to respond.



 

Firoozabadi, A., Uitdewilligen, S., & Zijlstra, F. R. H. (2018). Solving problems or seeing troubles? A day-level study on the consequences of thinking about work on recovery and well-being, and the moderating role of self-regulation. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 27(5), 629-641. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2018.1505720

Toniolo-Barrios, M. & Pitt, L. (2021). Mindfulness and the challenges of working from home in times of crisis. Business Horizons, 64(2), 189-197. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2020.09.004

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