Stress levels must be managed

Chatham-Kent’s Brian Knowler showcases his book, “Career Suicide is Overrated,” which offers a slew of pointers on how to deal with stress. The book was recently updated to address the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

C-K author updates book

Local author, mental health coach and police officer Brian Knowler saw the damage the COVID-19 pandemic was doing to people’s lives to the point he felt he had to update one of his books.

The book, “Career Suicide is Overrated,” re-released this month following an initial release of 2018

“We’ve all been through a ton of changes due to COVID-19. Personally, I took some time away from work to get refocused,” Knowler said. “I opted to incorporate three years of experience and put it out as a new tool.”

He added he met some “incredible people” who provided him with new perspectives on mental health, leadership, resiliency and communication since the book’s original release.

Knowler said a third of the book is new material. It merges with other information intended to help people be good leaders, be it in the home, workplace or in volunteer organizations.

And being a leader, he said, does not necessarily mean you are in a position of authority. He uses his years as a police officer as an example.

“Leaders aren’t dictated by rank or title or role. Leaders are dictated by if people are willing to follow them, listen to what they have to say or are willing to trust them,” he said. “Some of the best leaders I’ve ever met are constables who are perfectly content to stay in that role. They don’t aspire to move up the rank system. But the force of their personality and the fact people round them trust them, that’s what makes them a leader.”

It can be challenging balancing one’s work/home lives at the best of times. Toss in the uncertainty of the pandemic, and stress levels have risen, Knowler said.

“People have that nose-to-the-grindstone mentality and are pushing themselves so hard, worrying about finances, their health, their children’s health, they push so hard that they kind of grind their own face off,” Knowler said. “They get pushed to the point of chronic stress, chronic depression where their bodies start to break down.”

He added signs are everywhere that this stress is running rampant. Social media interactions with people, for example often show a lack of civility. He added there is a cycle of fear and anger with the pandemic.

Drug and alcohol use, domestic violence, mental health issues among youth have all risen drastically, Knowler said.

Learning how to deal with the stress rather than leaving it to fester, is crucial, he said. Exercise, playing with your children and other healthy outlets trump turning inwards and letting issues bubble under the surface.

Problems develop in all occupations, Knowler said.

“It doesn’t matter the profession or level of experience, people are pushing themselves; they’re not taking care of themselves. A lot of managers aren’t tuned in and aren’t watching as closely as they should be,” he said.

Knowler added not watching closely could be due to a lack of education on the part of the manager or a lack of empathy. The former can be fixed.

He said his book is for anybody, and contains about three-dozen short chapters.

“Career Suicide is Overrated” is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo and Apple Books. Knowler said if someone has a preferred local bookstore, chances are they can order it in as well.





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