A CAT deployment is a stressful, chaotic event. Not only for when you’re on the job, but leading up to it as well. Managing your stress carries a lot of weight on whether you’ll have a successful deployment or not. If you don’t take active steps to manage your stress, you will wash out. Your claims will become sloppier and your claims getting kicked back to will increase, compounding your stress. Here are some great ways, that require little effort, to manage your stress.
Take a walk
After a long day of scoping and more time at the desk in your hotel room, leave it all behind for a little bit and take a walk. Even if you’re not completed for the evening, (which you should be) taking a break and taking a stroll can make a huge difference on your stress level. Leave your phone behind, put your shoes on and take a walk around the block.
A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine showed that university students who walked and did other easy to moderate exercise regularly had lower stress levels than couch potatoes or those who exercised strenuously. Studies in Japan showed even better effects when walking in a park or forest.
Bottom line: Put physical and mental distance between you and the stress-causing environment.
Meditation is making inroads in the US, and not just the hippy/guru stereotype. Meditation is a scientifically proven practice to help you reduce stress and improve health. While you’re managing claims, insureds, managers, emails, txts, and more, your body is producing cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines. These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking. Fatigue and cloudy thinking lead to lower quality work, which compounds the problem.
If you’re new to meditation, check out Headspace. The app is probably the most popular in the area of meditation guides. Some of us on the Storm Life team have been using it to guide and teach mediation for a while, and we can all say that it has been completely worth the investment in time and small subscription fee. It will definitely help keep you from waking up at 4 AM wondering what the Xactimate code is for copper gutters.
Matt Allen at Adjustertv.com hammers this home every week. Adjusters need to be methodical in their workflow. Workflow is not limited to what you do when you get on site. Workflow also includes what you do when you arrive home in the evening and unpack your car, and how you prepare for the next day. The key is to find what works for you, and repeat it. Ideally, an adjuster should be able to shut down for the night, get a decent night of sleep and be ready to walk out the door the next morning without a thought. Creating a method to the madness will lower your stress and keep you on the deployment.
It doesn’t work. All the science shows that multitasking does not increase your efficiency. Part of not multitasking, is shutting off your phone notifications. It’s just another distraction that is going to take time away from the task at hand. Having your phone pinging away at you like an angry R2D2 will only add to your stress level. Check your phone when you need to, not when it tells you too.
Ask for help
If you’re working for a large firm on a large event, there is probably a “war room” set up, where you can go and get hands on help from managers and trainers when available. This is a great resource for people that are new, and a great way to shorten your learning curve.
Don’t be afraid to hop on that Facebook group for adjusters and ask for help. There’s bound to be an experienced person willing to help you that is not on a deployment. And don’t feel like you have to wait for answer; move on to your next task and when an help arrives, you can return to that task when the time is right.