How to use coping networks to deal with nervous energy

I Just Need Some ‘Me’ Time!

Nervous energy, anxiety or stress?

‘When the demands placed upon us at work exceed our resources, and we feel we can no longer cope’

Yes, that sums it up nicely! You’ve had a stressful day – there’s too much work, deadlines are tight and you’re worrying constantly about the consequences of not getting it done. Perhaps your manager (also stressed) will shout at you? Not a pleasant situation, and the last time was horrible. Now you’re also imagining what the next time will be like. It’s the end of another working day, and you feel exhausted, irritable and on edge. What is going on?

Woman Holding Her Head

Stress and your brain

When you feel stress, you often spend your day in a state of constant anxiety. Basically, you’re stuck in fight or flight mode, that wonderful caveman survival instinct designed to assist us whenever we feel threatened or in danger. You perceive a threat, and fight or flight is switched on, releasing adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. There are physical effects (increased heart rate, raised body temperature, sweaty palms, butterflies in the tummy), but the main problem is the amount of nervous energy it gives you, which you are supposed to use to stay alive – either fight back or take flight! But you’re in the office, not about to engage a sabre-toothed tiger in mortal combat!

Here’s the thing: once you have dealt with the threat, the fight or flight mechanism is supposed to switch off. It’s only meant to be used in temporary, short-term bursts. The problem is that stressed-out people see threats around them at work all of the time, so they go into fight or flight mode and get stuck there. The nervous energy within them builds up throughout the day, and at some point it will have to be released!

What can you do?

Let’s talk about coping networks. It’s all about finding an appropriate outlet for the pent up nervous energy, emotion and frustration generated during a stressful working day. These networks are very important, because if we can’t find an appropriate way of releasing our nervous energy, it will definitely come out somehow! This might take the form of an outburst – we’ve had a hard day, and someone says something we don’t like. Suddenly we start raging at this poor unfortunate person!

Here are some popular coping networks:

  • Exercise – ever wondered why people go to the gym after work, or go running? Obviously a healthy pastime, but also an effective way to burn off the nervous energy accumulated at work. Any form of sporting endeavour can be useful here.
  • Talking things through with family, friends and colleagues – Perhaps after you’ve played sport, it’s time for a drink in the bar? Over a nice glass of something, the conversation usually starts with ‘you will not believe the day I’ve had…’
  • Hobbies and pastimes – any activity which allows you to relax for a while!

There are no hard and fast rules here – it’s each to their own. Some people like to take the dog for a walk in the countryside, or learn to play an instrument, or wallow in a hot bath, with essential oils, scented candles and whale song!


During a stressful day at work, nervous energy accumulates within us. That energy is going to find a way out at some point, and it’s better for everyone if we can control how and when that happens. As discussed, there are a number of possibilities available so find the coping network that works for you. After all, we all need a bit of ‘me’ time!

4 Steps to Manage Change and Deal with Uncertainty

Throughout our careers, nothing will have any greater impact on us than change. For most, we enjoy the security of routine and the known boundaries in which we operate. Let’s begin to look at the 4 steps to managing change and dealing with uncertainty in a positive way.

Time for Change Sign With Led Light

Change can have substantial effects across so many fundamental levels.
  • It can weaken our self-confidence and self-efficacy
  • It can challenge our productivity at work
  • Create baseless fears and concerns
  • Can add stress between individuals and teams
  • Can be daunting in the face of new knowledge and systems

So are there factors that can help guide through the process of change? Is there a plan or blueprint that can better support and implement change?

The initial shock

You are moving through the day into the flow of work, maybe you have heard rumours of a change being implemented. A department being cut or merged with another, perhaps. Nothing has been confirmed, everyone is in the dark, then suddenly it is all announced with immediate effect. Most will feel shock and confusion, worry and concern. Questions will be raised about your position, the impact on the business, the new knowledge that you may be challenged to learn. This is the first stage of change.

defensive mode

The second stage begins to take effect. The shock has weakened, and the news is clear. Change has happened and is there in front of you. You don’t know why it had to happen, you question the logic of it, and the more you pull the decision apart the angrier you get. It just doesn’t make sense? This is the stage where your defensive retaliation to the initial shock is at its highest. You tend to band together with colleagues who agree with your position. All you can see are the difficulties. This is stage 2.

Just feels wrong

The uncomfortable stage begins to settle in. You are unhappy and feel awkward, unsure of what you are supposed to be doing. Of where the company is headed.

You sort of understand the advantages, yet remain unconvinced. Others are quick to point out faults and everyone is at their lowest point of morale. This is stage 3.

Slowly but surely

Time has now passed and things are starting to make sense. You can see the real advantages of why the change was implemented. This includes new skills that the change has brought to the business.

The progress forward seems heavy and slow, yet there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. This is stage 4.

How could this have been easier? What was missing? In each of these stages the key was the lack of communication.

In the first stage, a clear and united meeting should have been held to present the change, the impact and the benefits. Reassurances should have been given. At stage 2 team meetings should have been instigated to discuss issues and individual concerns. At stage 3 it is all about 1-2-1 and goal setting, action planning and clear objectives.

Change is inevitable. It can be an opportunity for growth, or it can be destructive. Which would you prefer?