“Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you haven’t fallen asleep yet.”
Business and stress go hand in hand. In small doses, it’s manageable, and in fact has even be shown to be healthy. It makes us sharper and more productive. But like everything else, too much and we run out of steam. We burn out. We can’t function, make mistakes we wouldn’t normally make, and just can’t think straight. Not only that, but it can create problems that affect us both physically and mentally.
Continued stress plays havoc, not only on the cardiovascular and immune systems, but it accelerates aging and actually shrinks the brain.
It’s true. The ‘little grey cells’ Master Detective Hercule Poirot often spoke about, actually decrease production under long term stress. Consequently, they don’t make as many connections to the other parts of the brain – the parts that help us make sound, rational decisions, and maintain our emotional and behavioral health.
While some people allow themselves to become the victims of stress, others have learned the secret to making it both manageable and productive. We wrote about it in a previous blog. As a matter of fact, they seem to thrive on it.
You can to. But before you move forward, you need to step back, re-energize and regain perspective and control. Here’s how.
Set new boundaries, focused on achieving what’s most important and align them with doing the things that can be sustained. In other words, your actions should be based on your assets. Don’t rely on yourself to do it all. You can’t. Effective delegation not only gets the job done quicker, but brings new eyes – and hands – into the picture. Your employees. And while taking some of the load off you, you’ll be allowing them to participate more fully in the operation and gain good will.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself. When you’re under stress, it’s especially important to take care of yourself, inside and out.. Don’t chain yourself to your chair. Allow time to relax, whether you take a walk around the block, do things that renew your soul (like meditation or listening to music).
Smile often and laugh a lot. Humor has a way helping us refresh and regain perspective even during the most stressful of times.
As Henry Kissinger once said, ‘“There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.”
You can take charge of your stress too. Here are 8 tips on how to handle the workplace.
- As a leader, the vision is yours. Look first with your long range perspective, rather than the short range daily duties and responsibilities.
- Don’t be afraid to question what you or your team is doing. Ask yourself if it’s valid in relation to your goals and readjust priorities accordingly.
- Yes, there are ongoing tasks, responsibilities and deadlines to be met, but what needs to be done today and what can go on the back burner?
- Create a new roadmap based on the new criteria you’ve just established.
- Establish priorities. (Beware of ‘scope creep).
- Don’t be afraid to say no, if you believe saying yes will lead you off course
- Don’t be afraid to say yes, if warranted. Be open. Ideas other than your own are also valid. They may provide additional perspective, insight, and may also save valuable time and energy.
- Be confident. Your team depends on you for direction. Remember, people tend to live up to your expectations of them. Low expectations yield minimal results. High expectations yield rewards.