Imagine a beach ball. Imagine holding that beach ball under water for 2 minutes. Now imagine holding down 2 beach balls under water for 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, your whole life. Now imagine all your tasks as beach balls – how many are you holding below water level just to stop them popping up? This can be what stress feels like for some.
For others, the balls are smaller, and more numerous. What small multiple things do you get stressed over on a daily basis? Or is it a few but large things? In this post we will discuss 5 of the top work related stress busters.
Dealing With Your Stress
How heavy is your stress?
Imagine you go to the cupboard and take a ream of paper. How heavy is that ream? 1kg? 500g? Of course the rational part of your brain will wonder what g/m2 the paper inside the ream is. The real question is not how heavy it is but how long can you hold that ream of paper for? One hour? 5 hours? 24 hours?
How debilitating is your stress?
That ream of paper is not so heavy when you are placing it in a printer tray. Just like your stress, it becomes unimportant and weightless when dealt with immediately. Now imagine you have to carry that ream of paper around in your bag for a week, a month, a year?
Hold on to stress if you must!
Sure, hold on to that ream of paper, “just in case”. And carry it around with you, getting heavier and heavier. Wearing you down. You will know from experience that at some point there is physically a breaking point, and this is often the ugly side that long term stress displays, and mostly when we least expect it.
“Stress should be a powerful driving force, not an obstacle” Bill Phillips
Stress is subjective
The most important thing to know about stress is that it is a state, like happiness. In almost all cases, stress is not a permanent way of being, but an unpleasant state of anxiety.
- Every person reacts to different levels of stress in different ways. Some of us thrive on it.
- When we experience stress, our “flight or fight” reaction kicks in, releasing adrenaline. As well as mental and physiological effects, the emotional effects of constant adrenaline release are debilitating.
- Stress is our reaction to a situation, not the situation itself. We each choose to react in a certain way, and if our levels of stress are already high, chances are, at some point, we reach breaking point.
5 Steps Towards Managing Your Stress
Stress is not simply work related, but we can focus on this area to lessen the burden as we leave the office:
Write it down! If it’s a problem, write it down and check back later.
- Too many tasks? Write them down and simply prioritize them. Not enough time?
- Work out on paper what you spend your time doing and look at areas where you can save time.
Related: What’s your Stress Pattern?
#2. If you cannot change it, change how you feel about it
If it is truly something out of your control, and you cannot change anything about the situation, then you must change your attitude about it.
- Consider what you can let go of… what has worked for you in the past that you can apply now?
- If it is a colleague, manager or employee, work on changing your attitude towards them, as this will change the way they interact with you!
#3. Slow down to achieve more
“There is more to life than increasing its speed” Mohandas K. Gandhi.
- By taking time away from your work or business, you invest energy and fresh thinking to move away from the stressful situation you find yourself in.
- Decide what would be good for you, whether a game of golf or a business boot camp.
#4. Saying NO is saying YES
By saying no to others, you are saying yes to yourself and your business. Whether that is personal favours, difficult clients or extra tasks.
- Is Social Media taking up too much time? Find out which platform your customers are using, and stick with that.
- Encourage employees to be more autonomous.
- Curtail the professional favours you do for friends and family.
Related: Less Mess = Less Stress
#5. Excellence over Perfection
As an ex-perfectionist, I now understand the importance of mistakes and “good enough.”
- Can your website ever be just perfect?
- Can your route to market ever be just perfect?
- Can your sales ever be just perfect?
“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing” Harriet Braiker. So instead of trying to do everything just perfectly, decide what is good enough to get your first client. Decide what is good enough to produce that great widget.
Strive for excellence in your business ways, and leave perfection to your competitors. “Once you accept the fact that you’re not perfect, then you develop some confidence.” Rosalynn Carter
And boy oh boy, confidence will get you a lot further! For more information and tips on management procedures and work related stress, check out the Irish HSA’s “Work Related Stress” guide for Employers, or the World Health Organisation’s documentation on Work Related Stress.
What are your favourite stress busters? Please share with us below.