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Seb Anthony

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Icebreaker for a Stress Management workshop


Hi all. I'm on the hunt for a thought-provoking icebreaker to run on a half-day 'Managing Stress in your Team' workshop. The goal is to help managers understand their role in managing stress in others as well as themselves and to facilitate understanding that this requirement is very much intrinsic to their role.
Looking forward to your replies and thanks in advance,
Tracy Israel

3 Responses

  1. You could try this…
    I used to use this on a stress awareness workshop. Get your delegates to move their chairs into the centre of the room, forming 2 lines facing each other. The delegates have to speak to the person opposite them for 2-3 minutes a time answering a question, after each question everyone gets up and moves 1 or 2 places to their right, with those on the ends move across to the other side.
    The questions I have tended to use in the past are:
    1) What are the main sorces or causes of stress in your working life
    2) What kind of things do you do to reduce stress in your working life?
    3) How do you think your colleagues would describe the way in which you deal with stress?
    You can of course use different questions, these are geared towards self stress management but could be tweaked to fit managing stress in others.
    Hope this helps

  2. Creating an awareness of the Stressers
    Hans Selye researched an identified a condition which he called stress in 1936. His theory states that the body goes through 3 stages during stress or DIS-stress.
    1. The body’s ALARM reaction
    2. The body’s RESISTANCE
    3. Exhaustion caused by duration of stress.
    Have the group hold a glass of water at arms length whilst you talk. After 2-3 mins they will EXPERIENCE all THREE stages as their arm muscles tension up etc.
    Then debrief this activity and apply the learnings to STRESS and have the group identify which of the 3 stages caused their arm more “stress” – apply this to DIS-STRESS in the workplace and watch for the A-HA moments! It also overcomes DENIAL to stress. Some people have heroic feelings towards stress and like to boast about their stress levels…or …they are in denial. We have run this dozens of times…. it really focuses the mind!

  3. Multiple Tasks
    Hi Tracy

    I too have used the glass of water at arm’s length technique but usually ask one volunteer. I then ask them to hold something else in the other hand and continue asking them to perform tasks, until they say they can’t do it.

    This not only gets across the water issue, but demonstrates that if we keep on accepting responsibility for more and more tasks and have too many ‘balls in the air’ we can’t do anything well and become stressed.

    I hope this helps and good luck!

    Annie Lawler


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