Coping with Hurricane Stress: Part Two

Coping with Hurricane Stress

Part Two

By Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM / Published September 2018

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Editor’s Note: In Part One in the July issue, Betsy Barbieux introduced the problem of ANTs—Automatic Negative Thoughts.

If you look at the life of real ants, they have three obvious characteristics. No matter which of the sources mentioned in Part One causes you stress, these three reminders could go a long way in minimizing or avoiding stress.

     First, ants are Proactive—apparently there is some sort of intentional planning that allows them to create their fabulous underground cities. Do the same—be intentional. Plan ahead. Don’t “just do it.” Do it right. 

     Second, ants are Persistent—while they must have a sense of the greater goal, they are not discouraged by the seemingly impossible task at hand. They move one grain of sand at a time. You’d think they had read Stephen Covey’s book and understood Habit Number Two, “Begin with the end in mind.” No job is too small or large; all tasks contribute to the goal.

     Third, ants are Objective—apparently, they receive information and feedback from others, they network, they delegate, and they assign tasks to each other. They work as a team. They seem to believe there is a solution to any problem. They work together to solve it.

     If you believe there is a solution to any problem, you’ll have a more hopeful attitude about today and tomorrow. You won’t take yourself or life too seriously. You’ll see the possibilities.

     Another great way to de-stress is to exercise. Ugh! But, be sure to do the exercise that suits YOU. Otherwise, you won’t like it and won’t stick to it. So, before you embark on an exercise program, it’s important to know yourself so you can choose the right type of exercise.

     How would you describe yourself? Check all that apply.

  • I like to win.
  • I like to plan the future.
  • I like new ideas.
  • I like results.
  • I like to be my own boss.
  • I like to move fast.
  • I like a challenge.

     If you are a Determined type, you’ll likely stress out in a work environment where you have to be slow, cautious, and take orders all day. To de-stress, Determined types need to rev up. They like activities that require physical exertion and competition, such as tearing out the kitchen cabinets, digging up the lawn, jogging, racketball, etc. They will work out at the gym during times when no one else is there.

     Or would you describe yourself like this? Check all that apply.

  • I like to be liked.
  • I like to express (talk) my ideas and feelings.
  • I like being in front of a group.
  • I like surprises.
  • I like lots of fun activities.
  • I like public recognition.

     If you are an Involved type, you’ll likely stress out in a work environment where you have to be serious, perform boring tasks like paperwork and reports, and can’t make new friends. To de-stress, Involved types need some fun. They like social activities such as going out with friends after work, having a neighborhood BBQ, or group sports such as bowling, softball, or cards. They will work out at the gym on the days their friends are there.

     Or would you describe yourself like this? Check all that apply.

  • I like to be accepted.
  • I like teamwork and cooperation.
  • I like sticking to what works.
  • I like harmony.
  • I like things to stay the same.
  • I like sincere appreciation.

     If you are the Systematic type, you’ll likely stress out in a work environment where you have to be out front all day; make quick, tough decisions; think outside the box; and tell people “no.” To de-stress, Systematic types need to throttle down. They like “zone out” activities such as taking a nap,

sitting in the recliner and flipping channels, and undirected activities such as watering the plants, pulling weeds, staring at the fire or light, and reading for entertainment. They will prefer a yoga class.

     Or would you describe yourself like this? Check all that apply.

  • I like to be right.
  • I like to know what is expected of me.
  • I like an established plan.
  • I like clear instructions.
  • I like finishing what I start.
  • I like organizing things.

     If you are the Calculating type, you’ll likely stress out in a work environment where you have to smile, make quick decisions without enough time to analyze the data, and give general (not specific) instructions. To de-stress, Calculating types need to think. They enjoy cognitive activities like balancing the checkbook; flipping through catalogs of their favorite hobbies, crafts, or clothes; using mental pictures to complete or complement their collections; visually rearranging the garage or living room; reading a “how-to” book; or putting together an item that “requires some assembly” without reading the instructions. They will work out at the gym and end up being the coach/instructor (whether officially or unofficially)!

     There is an 80 percent chance your significant other is your opposite. That means what he or she needs to de-stress actually stresses you! And what de-stresses you will stress him or her. Your family members likely need different de-stressing activities, so take that into consideration when planning fun days or vacations. A “fun” day for a Calculating child is totally opposite of the “fun” day of the Involved child.

     In conclusion, to paraphrase Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great and Built to Last, when things go well, look out the window to credit those who helped you. When things go poorly, look into the mirror and take responsibility for your part. Then starve your ANTs and feed your proactive, persistent, and objective characteristics. This hurricane, too, will pass! 

Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM

Florida CAM Schools

Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, guides managers, board members, and service providers in handling daily operations of their communities while at the same time dealing with different communication styles, difficult personalities, and conflict. Effective communication and efficient management are her goals. Since 1999, Betsy has educated thousands of managers, directors, and service providers. She is your trainer for life! Betsy is the author of Boardmanship, a columnist in the Florida Community Association Journal, and a member of the Regulatory Council for Community Association Managers. For more information, contact, (352) 326-8365, or