Some level of stress is normal, but too much stress is associated with a long list of negative health impacts and for leaders especially who have more responsibilities than the rest of their team, it can be beneficial to know how to handle stress and heavy workloads
Everyone has some level of work-related stress from time to time, and some level of stress could even support productivity. However, if you experience high levels of stress for a prolonged period of time, it could have a negative impact on your health, personal life, and work outcomes.
- Health: Headaches, heart issues, depression, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and fertility issues could be linked to stress. Additionally, stress and anxiety may cause sleep deprivation or sleep problems which increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Workplace: If you have ongoing high stress, you could experience lower morale, boredom, anxiety, and even anger.
Managers, leaders and business owners have more responsibilities and might feel they have more to ‘stress about’ than the rest of their team. Fortunately, you can take charge and manage your stress and limit overworking. This could establish the foundation for better job performance as well as health and mental health status, which in turn help control your stress.
Smarter time management
Overworking and working excessively long hours could take a toll on your health. One way to address this is to manage your time more effectively and work smarter rather than harder.
Nowadays, it is hard to escape the world of social media, which is why it is important to limit the amount of time you spend on social, in order to avoid stress and burnout. This will help you to remain productive each and every day, whilst at the same time, be happier at work.
Work to a daily or weekly to-do list. The list should set out your tasks in order of priority. Schedule time to get through everything, and make sure you base it on realistic estimates for time required. It’s always best to overestimate the time required then to have too little time, which could create more stress.
Stress frequently causes improper breathing.
Short ragged breath rhythms will both reflect our emotional state and cause us to grow frantic, stressed, and unfocused. Slow, even breathing, on the other hand, will signal that we are calm and relaxed, therefore slowing our heart rate and allowing us to more easily focus our attention.
Breathing is something that we can master on an individual basis with slow, steady breathing through the nose.
See Breathing Techniques: A Guide to the Science and Methods to find out more.
Use the right tools
Review your tools and consider whether you have the right tools to do your job as the owner of the business. Sometimes this might not be as obvious as it seems. Upgrading your hardware and updating software could make a significant difference in how effective you can be in your role.
Whether it’s online catering software, facilities management software, or an e-commerce platform—these can all work and streamline decision-making by providing customised reports that can give you a detailed view of your operations. These could lead to life hacks like time savings and a reduced workload for managers and employees.
Managing stress at work
The first step might be as simple as recognising you do have work-related stress and deciding to do something about it.
- Seek support: Whether it’s talking to your partner, friends, or even a professional coach, have someone you can freely talk to about stress at work. The act of confiding in someone can be a relief in itself. Additionally, your friend or partner can put things in perspective, allowing you to get some emotional distance from the sources of stress.
- Journal and reflect: Writing in a journal is another effective strategy to relieve stress. Write about the causes of stress and potential solutions to them. Explore what you worry about most often and why, whether it’s your workload, people issues, or something else. When journaling, you can write in paragraphs or use bullet points if you find it easier.
- Exercise: Can help reduce stress, so make an attempt to get active with some aerobic activity like brisk walking, jogging, or swimming. You can even do some light exercise while at work while uniting the team. Either way, find something you enjoy doing, whether it’s a group activity or something you can do on your own.
- Eat healthfully: Your diet can have a positive impact on your immune system and mood, so make an effort to eat balanced meals and avoid processed foods. Foods high in vitamin C could support a healthy immune function, while foods with healthy fats like olive oil and fish could boost your mood.
- Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques could relieve the symptoms of stress and help you take time out. Try techniques like relaxed breathing and progressive muscle relaxation to get started.
- Schedule breaks: Taking regular breaks can allow you to be more productive than working right through the day. Ensure you spend a few minutes away from your desk by going out for a quick walk, listening to some music, or having a chat with someone. You could also sit back in your chair, close your eyes, and breathe deeply for a quick break.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness practices like meditation could help you deal with stress more effectively. Try guided recordings or explore the different meditation techniques to see what works best for you.
Managing stress in a position of leadership
Everyone experiences some stress in their daily lives, but as a leader, you’re dealing with more responsibilities so could benefit from having a focused approach to managing stress and overwork.
Assess your daily responsibilities and consider what you can outsource or delegate. Anything nonessential to your responsibilities and anything that doesn’t have to be carried out by you could be outsourced to contractors or delegated to trusted employees. By delegating and outsourcing, you as the boss, are learning to say “no to overwork.”
With smarter time management and by drawing on a range of stress-busting techniques, you can conquer stress, avoid overwork, and become even more effective and productive for your team.