Are you an expert on stress management at work? If not, this post is for you.
The way we each deal with stress and how it affects us is a personal matter. Each executive deals with stressful situations differently. Think about how you currently handle stress. Do you get stress out easily? Are you cool, calm and collected most of the time? Are certain situations at work triggering you and causing stress? Do you leave work every day stressed to the max? These are good questions to ask yourself to see if you need help with stress management.
Stress is an automatic emotional, physical or mental response to daily events that happen every day. Your stress response will be positive or negative, depending on how you personally handle stressful situations.
Try a few different coping mechanisms listed below and see what works best for you!
Strategy 1: Work Smart
Work smarter with time and task management. Time management ensues when you follow a balanced schedule, create a calming morning routine, take regular breaks and by not over-committing to tasks. These are all preventative stress measures that can help with stress management.
Task management takes place by prioritizing tasks, delegating, seeking clarifications, negotiating and compromising (when necessary). These techniques help take the stress out of your daily activities and can help break the workday up so it’s more manageable and less stressful.
Strategy 2: Track All Your Stressors
Knowing your stressors is an effective way for executives to maintain stress management. By tracking what exacerbates your stress you can learn the proper responses and even how to avoid these situations. Keeping a stress journal can help to track the stressors and even write about how you dealt with them. Another option is to use a stress tracker to track your stress response.
Strategy 3: Operate within Your Job Boundaries
As executives, we are continually stretched thin by daily work engagements and responsibilities. Make it a priority to operate within your role responsibilities. Don’t exceed mandate and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Maintaining these boundaries helps with stress management and allows you to focus more wholly on your own work responsibilities.
Strategy 4: Abandon a Sedentary Lifestyle
Exercise has many therapeutic benefits and stress management is one of them, according to several studies. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which reduces stress and anxiety. Make time for exercise before or after work. Plan to talk a walk at lunchtime. You can even do a short workout at work.
We know that being too sedentary is bad for your waistline but, it is also bad for your cognitive function. Even if you’re stuck in your office all day long there are still ways to get more movement in that can help with stress management.
Strategy 5: Be Comfortable at Work
Comfort at work is important for stress management because it allows you some reprieve from an executive’s busy schedule. Invest in good ergonomically designed seats for comfort at your desk.
If you’re wanting to turn your desk chair into a stress-relieving spa try this massage chair for extra relaxation! Other ways to create a relaxing workplace ambiance are to use light therapy for a mood and energy boost or to utilize aromatherapy for stress relief.
Strategy 6: Be Proactive in Your Workplace Duties
Being proactive in your work duties is essential to maintain order, stay on task and meet deadlines. All of which are major stress triggers when not addressed. Talk to your seniors about workplace stressors. Clarify your job descriptions with them. If your creativity and drive need a boost, then request for a change of duties or a more engaging assignment. If needed, ask for a transfer. Your mental health is always a top priority so don’t be ashamed to ask for any of these adjustments.
Strategy 7: Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques are great to do anywhere or anytime. They are perfect for the busy executive to help with stress management. Yoga and mindfulness are also exceptional for daily stress relief. Right when you wake up to set an intention for your day or quickly for a few minutes at the office to reset and calm your mind. Deep breathing exercises can help calm your mind and ease the stress from the workday.
Meditation can also be useful for executives to set intentions on, particularly stressful days, before an important meeting or when you’re feeling unfocused and unproductive. Executives can try a meditation headband which can help improve stress response and reduce stress and anxiety.
Strategy 8: Stop Bad Work Habits to Decrease Your Job Stress
A great way to incorporate stress management is to stop bad work habits. Resist perfectionism, stop negative thoughts, and quit micromanaging. Avoid procrastination, start appreciating feedback and even see things from a humorous angle.
These small but mighty shifts in perspective will lessen your stress from the workday. Allow you to actually enjoy the job and maybe even reward yourself on achievement.
Strategy 9: Reach out
Simply put- talk about what is stressing you out. Sometimes just getting it off your chest can help the stress fade away. Reaching out to others is a simple way to air grievances and not to feel alone!
Ask co-workers for support or lean on friends and family members. If you need to, establish new satisfying friendships. This can be great to feel a sense of camaraderie with other executives or to let your friends and family in on daily work life.
Strategy 10: Check Your Nutrition
Proper diet helps to offset the impact of stress. When you eat well-rounded meals full of vitamins and nutrients, you strengthen your body’s immune system, your moods become more stabilized and blood pressure is reduced.
To help combat stress with nutrition make sure your diet includes vitamin C, complex carbohydrates, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin C is linked with boosting the immune system and lowering cortisol, the stress hormone. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains induce serotonin production, which minimizes anxiety and stress. Proper amounts of magnesium also restrict cortisol and prevent inflammation in the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts have been found to reduce surges of stress hormones.
Just as healthy foods can diminish stress, unhealthy foods and maximize it. Reduce sugar, refined carbohydrates, caffeine and alcohol to lower your body’s stress response.
Strategy 11: Seek to Make Work Satisfying and Meaningful
Think about the ways your work benefits the world. It can give your soul more purpose and, in turn, give you more drive to do your best.
Track your achievements. It will help you see the progress and the returns on what you do. Monitoring your success will always make you happier and is a great stress management technique.
Ask frequently for feedback. Your face-to-face interactions with clients and employees will help you understand how you can make more meaningful contributions to them.
Finally, don’t set unrealistic deadlines or expectations (to avoid disappointment and stress), and enjoy the moment!
Strategy 12: Sleep Well
Not getting an adequate amount of sleep can lead to a stressful and unproductive day. Sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, lack of concentration and focus, increased errors and forgetfulness. All side effects that will surely lead to more stress for executives.
Therefore, getting the recommended 7-9 hours a night is beneficial for stress management. If needed, melatonin supplements can help. Melatonin pills can promote sleep onset and improve sleep duration.
Strategy 13: Challenge Yourself to Unplug (Me Time)
Unplugging after every workday is something that all professionals should practice for self-care and mental health. If there is no downtime and your brain is always “on” this could cause you to be in a state on constant stress.
According to a study done by the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology persistent stress, particularly in older or unhealthy individuals, can damage health and cause disease.
A good way to prevent this from happening is to unplug from work daily. Pick a hobby that will keep you interested and engaged. Learn a new language, sport or activity. Engage in community work or volunteering.
Activities like this can help you gain new confidence and become more resilient.
Strategy 14: Focus on the Bigger Picture
Focusing on the bigger picture can help you take your mind off the minute details that could be causing unnecessary stress.
Therefore, always include your big important goals on the top of your daily to-do list.
Focus on the tasks that matter and which are aligned with your big goals. Ignore or delegate the task related to the small stuff. That will allow you to advance your business and your career.
Concentrating on these big targets make the biggest difference in meeting goals at work. It is also a solid foundation for stress management at the workplace.
Strategy 15: Work-Life Balance
Create time for the people and things you love. Many executives love their work, but there is more to life than working. Allowing for a proper work-life balance will not hinder your performance but will actually enhance it. It also allows you to share your successes with people who are happy and proud of you.
Relate to others who don’t share the similar experiences of being an executive. It may be hard at the very beginning, it is important, however, to have others outside of that circle to get different perspectives on what is important in life. It is possible to have a successful career and a happy private life!
Strategy 16: Take Time off
Possibly the best stress management technique is to just take time off. Take a day to yourself and recoup (no checking emails for work texts!). Take a weekend getaway with the one you love or even a trip with the family to refresh.
Strategy 17: Change Your Job
If you’ve tried some stress management techniques and that just isn’t helping, try a career change. As executives, we should always be striving to be great leaders. Sometimes great leaders need a change in direction to keep the fire burning.
A permanent change in a career can be scary and thrilling all at the same time. If stress management isn’t helpful for your regular work stress, then this is something you should consider.
Strategy 18: Seek Professional Help
If you have tried all previous strategies and you still feel stressed and overwhelmed, then maybe it is high time you consulted a professional. Everyone needs help at times so seeking professional help can be the answer to your stress management. Take part in a stress management training or take advantage of one-on-one psychology services. It’s no secret that executives lead stressful careers so this extra help in dealing with stress can be supportive and nurturing.
Stress on the body isn’t always bad. Even so, as executives, we have our fair share of stressors hit us daily and the need for stress management in this career is necessary. This isn’t an easy career and we must put in the work to stay on top of our game. To maximize work productivity and promote overall wellbeing stress management must be a priority for all executives.
Staying on top of stress management is just as important as eating well and exercising. Good mental health makes for a happy and healthy executive. Try a few of the stress management techniques listed above and see what works best for you!
Do you have any stress management techniques? Please list them in the comments below.