In a previous post I described the concept of somatic balance and at the end of November I had the opportunity to participate as speaker in the International Congress in Project Management held in Trujillo, Piura and Cajamarca and as part of my participation I conducted a survey that suggests reflection on how project managers balance work and other activities related with somatic balance.
Below I share some of the results of the survey in which an average of 250 people participated:
Question 1: Under what stress conditions do you live, work or study?
The results of this question show that 50% of the respondents consider that they work, live or study with high levels of stress and of the entire sample, 20% consider that they have low levels of stress. The survey was not intended to deepen the reasons why these answers are given. However, it is not surprising that project managers work under high levels of stress, which creates the need for professionals to find ways to reduce these stress levels, as well as the responsibility of companies to monitor the stress levels of their collaborators and combine moments of acceleration, with moments of de-acceleration.
Associated with the previous question and given that high levels of stress are usually also manifested with physical disorders, the following question ask the participants about physical :problems.
2) In the last 6 months have you had any of these discomforts?
The most common discomfort in the sample (present in about 64% of the responses) was back or neck pain. These symptoms are commonly associated with excessive physical effort or stress. in second place there are, headache and excessive tiredness. Since mostly the answers come from project managers, it seems logical to assume that most of these discomforts are consistent with the values obtained in the previous question about stress levels.
Proper fitness is a way to comfront stress and is the first component of somatic balance. In that line the following questions searched to investigate a little about the physical state of people.
Question 3: How often do you go for a general medical review?
Performing a general medical review at least once a year helps maintain good health and detect any physical problem in a timely manner. Regarding this, the results show that 37% only go to the doctor while they are sick and 15% only go to the doctor by obligation.. 16% have a general medical review at least once a year. It is worth mentioning that most private insurances offer the possibility of conducting a free annual review and the occupational health and safety law in Peru forces companies to schedule occupational health exams for their employees in periods of one or two years depending of the sector.
Question 4: In general how healthy do you eat?
Given this question, it is obtained that 27% say they eat healthy and 31% say the opposite. In other words, almost a third of respondents acknowledge that they do not eat healthy regularly. The 41% that answer "I think I do eat healthy" would require more research, but presumably the respondents would have different perceptions of what it means to eat healthy. The results of this question are complemented by question 5.
Question 5: How often do you eat out of time or do not eating?
Eating out of time or not eating creates other physical disorders such as the gastrointestinal discomfort of question 2, hence the 21% who almost always eat after hours or even do not eat is a risk to their health. If we add the 32.6% that do it with some frequency we could affirm that of the respondents more than half usually have eating habits that can affect the physical state and with it, the somatic balance, which allows us to be better facing challenges. These results also appear to be consistent with the 30% who reported having had gastrointestinal problems in the last 6 months in question 2.
Question 6: How many hours a week do you exercise?
All doctors indicate that frequent exercise has many benefits, but in particular when there are professionals whose activity focuses more on mental than physical effort, it is necessary to exercise so that the body is prepared to withstand mental stress levels. Hence the result that 58.6% of respondents do nothing or very little exercise reflects the need to perform a higher level of physical activity in order to keep the body healthy. It is worth highlighting the 22% who do more than 4 hours of weekly exercise.
Finally, question 7: How satisfied am I with my rest time?
This question shows that 50% of respondents feel that rest hours are not enough and 11% consider that they are always tired.
Good nutrition, medical reviews, exercise and rest are elements that help maintain a healthy body and this in turn allows you to better face complex situations and keep stress at manageable levels.
Another component of somatic balance that helps cope with stress is emotion control. The control of emotions is directly related to emotional intelligence, a concept popularized by Daniel Goleman and currently considered one of the main competencies of a good professional. Likewise, the spiritual component helps us prepare and face stress situations.
The spiritual component in religious people can relate to religion, however in a wider context it refers to knowing that we are part of something bigger.
Question 8 shows some of the actions that can be developed and the frequency of use by the participants in the survey.
It should be noted that more than half of the respondents mentioned that contact with nature is something they frequently do. Since this survey was conducted in the north of the country in cities rich in tourism, this is likely to influence this result and that if the same survey was conducted in the capital, maybe the results may differ.
The last component of the somatic balance is the mind, but nowadays, continuing to develop knowledge has ceased to be a competitive advantage and has become a requirement for any professional, regardless of the field. In fact, the mere presence of the participants in the Congresses suggests an interest in continuing to develop this aspect, which provides better tools to face complex situations that generate stress.
In conclusion when analyzing the results of the presentation with the participants, the majority recognized that the somatic balance in a professional helps to achieve better results and that due to multiple reasons many of them neglect one or more of the 4 components
Performing a self-analysis of the level of satisfaction with the elements that form the somatic balance is the first step in developing an action plan and from my own experience I can say that achieving it, allows you to achieve better results. Stress in a role as a project manager, responsible for changes in the organization will always be present and that is not necessarily bad. Certain levels of stress help keep you alert, but too much stress and the absence of somatic balance becomes a time bomb that will eventually cause problems of presentism and absenteeism, which negatively affects the achievement of organizational and personal goals.