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How to Deal With Stress

Tips on how to deal with stress at work, especially if you are in a leadership position

Have you read Part One of this article. If not, you can do so here. You'll discover three additional tips on how to deal with stress.

Take Time to Relax and Play

Who's got the time to take time to relax and play? Well, here's a simple answer! If you are serious about how to deal with your stress levels, you don't have any option but to take time to recharge your batteries.


Stop Deceiving Yourself: Possibly one of the biggest self-deceptions of many leaders, when it comes to dealing with stress, is that they are indispensable. Their actions proclaim very loudly to the world their belief that the workplace would fall apart without them. Are you guilty of any of these?

  •  Not taking leave
  • Coming in while ill
  • Working 12-15 hour days, 7 days per week
  • Consistently missing important family events 

If that's you, you've likely got a lot of stress going on from both work and family.


To stop this you need to empower your team to be able to make decisions while you are away so that you can have the time to rejuvenate and refresh. Not sure how to empower your team? Review the articles below, or if you have budget contact Shelley for a Strategy Session to discuss how working with her may help you move to a new level.

Exercise: Getting physically fit improves not only your physical health but also your mental health. Physical activity releases endorphins into your body which helps you to feel good.

Meditate: Research suggests that people who meditate are happier, healthier and live longer than those who don't. Indeed, my personal experience is that meditation reduces anxiety and stress and enables me to feel better within myself.

Break Up Your Work Day: When you're feeling pressure, particularly when your mind is cluttered with many conflicting priorities, your decision-making becomes poorer. Something as simple as taking a 5-minute walk around the block may be all that you need to clear your head and take some tension from your mind.

When you return to your workplace after that few minutes, you'll often find that you feel re-energized and new, more creative thoughts may have popped into your head. How often have you had 'bright' ideas in the shower?


That happens because you've let your subconscious use its brilliance. Your subconscious is often far more effective than trying to grapple a problem by its throat with your conscious mind.


By the way, for best effect, leave your mobile in the office as you go for that 5-minute walk!

Use a Support Network

Support Network

Be willing to ask for help when you need it. Whether it is the help of a professional counselor, using a coach, your manager, your peers, your direct reports, or your family. Seek out people that you can turn to for encouragement and support.


Leaders with high self-esteem find it easy to ask for assistance and don't suffer from the unhealthy belief that they are weak if they can't do it all.

Control Your Mind

Many people spend too much time negative goal-setting. In other words, they spend time worrying.


In the book, "The Astonishing Power of Emotions" by Esther and Jerry Hicks, the process of up-stream and down-stream thinking is one of the more powerful methods I have come across for enabling you to control how your mind thinks.


It helps you to open the door to making peace with where you are right now. To say that this piece of work has had a profound impact on my personal life is an understatement.

Focus on the now.  Planning for the future is an important part of life. However, there is a world of difference between planning and worrying.

You have probably had experiences where you have been worrying about something in the future, and it didn't come to pass. Well, what a waste of time and energy!


The only moment you have to deal with is the one right now. 


Fussing and fretting about what 'could be' does little for your energy levels or the future.


Don't overly focus on what 'could' go wrong. Instead give most of your attention to what you do want to have happen. Then take the actions right now that will make THAT happen! Taking the right actions now is the most important thing.

Have an Exit Strategy

If all else fails, and you can't see any light at the end of the tunnel you may find that leaving is an option.


While financially it may be enticing to stay, at some point you may need to ask yourself, "At what Cost?" The price you are paying may well be more than just your health, it may also include declining relationships.

I'm Out of Here

I have coached several leaders who resisted, (due to financial commitments and the desire for security), stepping out of their stressful situation.  But eventually found the courage to do so. 


Without exception, they have all said that armed with clarity about what they wanted to create, it was the best decision they made ... even though it may not have been a walk in the park!

I've also coached several leaders, who once armed with a new skill-set - i.e. they applied skills such as those described above - were able to take the dragon, soothe it and remain very happy where they are!


Potential Hazard!


Before you take the significant step of resigning, work with a coach or take a stress management class. Get the skills you need  to help you with anxiety and stress management. Figure out how to enhance your skill set at managing work loads better.


This will reassure you that should you decide to jump ship you aren't taking the problem with you - which might well be you!

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Part 1 of this article

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