Most of us feel frazzled on the job these days--from entry-level workers to CEOs to entrepreneurs. No matter where you work or what you do, there is always too much to do and not enough time. It's hard to feel calm in such a stressful climate-- so how do you combat stress so you can be your best?
Here are some of the best stressbusters I share with the leaders I coach:
1. Track your stressors.
A great way to begin relieving your stress is to track where it's coming from. Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you react and respond to them. Keep an account of your thoughts and feelings, including the people and circumstances involved and how you responded. Knowing the sources of your frustrations and stresses lets you better understand how to eliminate or prevent them.
2. Practice mindfulness.
Meditation and deep breathing exercises can help melt away stress. Start by spending a few minutes each day in the simple activity of sitting still and concentrating on your breathing. Mindfulness helps you focus purposefully on a single activity without distraction, a practice that can calm you mentally and physically.
3. Establish boundaries.
These days it feels like we have to be available 24/7. That's why it's so important to establish boundaries. Some options to consider: not checking email from home in the evening, not answering the phone during dinner, not doing work on weekends. When you create rituals and establish boundaries, you establish calm.
4. Learn to let things go.
Don't let something that's long done and over with continue to bother you. A big part of managing stress is learning to turn loose of the things you cannot control--and that includes everything in the past. You can't change the things that have happened, but you can control your attitude and how you deal with those things.
5. Get moving.
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to work it out. Being outdoors is especially beneficial, so hike or bike if you can. But any form of exercise, indoors or out, is good for you. Moving your body is a mood booster and produces endorphins that will leave you feeling more relaxed.
6. Learn to say no.
Stop trying to be a people-pleaser; simplify your life by learning to say no. The more you say no to unimportant things, the more time you have to say yes to the things you care about deeply.
7. Have a good laugh.
Studies have found that laughter can reduce stress and actually strengthens your immune system. Find something to laugh about.
8. Focus on the positive.
Positive thinking isn't about expecting the best to happen every time--it's about accepting what happens and making the best of it. Building positive rituals will help you keep negativity at bay.
9. Learn not to take things personally.
If you take everything personally, you'll remain offended for the rest of your life. What other people do is usually a reflection of their own issues and doesn't have anything to do with you.
10. Take time to recharge.
To avoid stress and burnout, everyone needs time to replenish, recharge and recuperate. The process of switching off from time to time is critical in a way that fits your needs and preferences. When possible, take time off to relax and unwind, so you can come back feeling reinvigorated and ready to perform at your best.