Handling Work Stress Like A Boss
It is the role of every entrepreneur and business owner to produce, create and generate effectively so that we can see the results we desire. This comes with a huge sense of responsibility and decision making, which can feel overwhelming at times and potentially lead to feeling burnt out. The challenge is that, these days, our lifestyles are incredibly focused on achievement, comparing ourselves to others and a desire to constantly DO MORE. As a result, we've become our own biggest critics, focusing on our mistakes and what we could've done better rather than our successes. We will be exposed to failure, and rejection, and when not handled well, it can wear down our self-esteem and tug at our insecurities. Here are some tips for managing work-related stress and anxiety, and how to take better care of your number one asset: YOU.
CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF ON A REGULAR BASIS
When rising in the morning, practice the act of gratitude, meditation and prayer. This helps you to find your center and to be more aware of any unwanted feelings or emotions that you may be carrying over from the previous work day into the new. I like to mentally list three things that I appreciate about my life even before I step out of bed - a 3 minute practice that will help you start your day with fresh energy, unbothered by the troubles of your yesterday.
As the day progresses, if you find yourself feeling stressed with work, stop all that you are doing and either go for a walk or sit in a peaceful space and soak in your surroundings. Often our natural urge is to push harder and try to remedy our stress by doing more instead of simply walking away. By changing your surroundings and checking in with your five senses, you bring yourself back into the moment, giving your mind some space to re-evaluate your current circumstances. My favorite way to reconnect is by reciting the words "BE HERE NOW."
You can also practice checking in by making it a habit to take short breaks throughout the day to eat a healthy snack or meal; this will help balance your body and your mind. I will completely stop whatever I am doing to eat or drink something delicious and nutritious (even if it's just water) at least three times in my work day so that I am not feeling depleted or simply starving myself because of the mentality that I am too busy to nourish my body. When we are mindful while we eat and focus on being grateful for the things we put into our body our mind miraculously resets - promoting long lasting energy throughout the day.
The key is to take time to slow down and sharpen your mind when you feel it becoming dull, overtaxed, and inefficient. Remember, being productive doesn't mean that you constantly have to multi-task. One of the most productive things you can do is step away from your work to recharge and regenerate. Give all of your attention to checking in with yourself by using these suggested practices or practices of your own. Taking short breaks will promote productivity, not prevent it.
MAKE TIME FOR LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK
One of the things we’re tempted to do when we feel work stresses mounting is shut our friends and family out so that we can get caught up. Unfortunately, this doesn't work. Spending time with people who can’t help you with your overbearing workload may seem like a luxury you don’t have, but this is the type of interaction you probably need the most. Not only do they provide us with emotional and moral support when things don’t work out, they can also offer some helpful perspective since they are looking through a different lens.
Furthermore, when work-related stress builds up, the first things we tend to push to the sidelines are our out-of-work routines and rituals: exercising, maintaining our relationships, and the solo activities we do to unwind. When you most feel you don’t have the time to do these things may be when it’s most important to do them. If you are unable to stay committed to date night with your parter, go to your favorite yoga class, or finish that book you've been reading, try your best to make time for at least one of them. Giving yourself some freedom outside of work will help prevent the feelings of being burnt out.
Remind yourself that your health, emotional well-being, and loved ones are more important than anything you have bearing down on you at work - and that reconnecting with them will ultimately help you deal with work stresses a little bit better.
ACCEPT THE FACT THAT NOTHING IS PERFECT
The problem with wanting to be perfect is that perfectionism is not real, therefore you will be spending your precious time striving to be something that does not exist. If you struggle with perfectionism, I encourage you to shift your focus from the need to be perfect to the desire to become better. Being better at something is a much more realistic goal which in turn will help keep the inevitable stress that perfectionism warrants at bay.
Within this journey you may fail, you may fall and you will most likely make mistakes - this is part of what makes us successful business owners. I believe that owning your own business, as messy as it may sometimes seem, is a risk worth taking. So lets try our best to be gentle with ourselves in the process. Instead of focusing on your flaws or failures, remind yourself of your creativity and the accomplishments you're making. Imagine that your so called "imperfections" are here to empower you by teaching you to embrace your uniqueness, which is ultimately what created your successful business in the first place. The love that you cultivate towards yourself and the work you are doing will be your calm through the storm and will be the healer of your wounds. Practice shifting your perspective on the meaning of perfection and watch your stress start to melt away.
PEACE BEGINS WITH ME meditation
This technique offered by Gabrielle Bernstein, is a fantastic mantra meditation that’s fast, easy, and effective. You can use this wherever you are or whenever you need it to lean in to a different perspective, a peaceful and happy place. I often use this meditation when I find myself striving for the unrealistic expectations of perfection in my work and personal life.
If you find yourself feeling stressed over, well, anything - use this meditation to return to your true nature, peace, and to your true state, joy. With every word, you’ll gently place your thumb against the respective finger. Breathe deeply, in and out, as you say each word…
When you touch your index finger, say: PEACE.
When you touch your middle finger, say: BEGINS.
When you touch your ring finger, say: WITH.
When you touch your pinky finger, say: ME.
Repeat this three times (or more if you need it). Go as slow or as fast as you’d like.
For more information on meditating with a mantra click here to watch this short video by Gabrielle Bernstein.
Just because stress is common when running your own business doesn’t mean you should just accept it. Developing stress management skills is one of the most powerful things you can do to protect your physical and mental wellbeing. Practice the above strategies to start handling work stress like a boss!
Light & Love,