Have you ever considered quitting your job due to stress? Do you toss and turn at night thinking about everything you feel you need to do? Or, have you snapped at someone and then felt badly for overreacting?
Even though we can’t realistically discuss every aspect of stress reduction in a single article, it is possible to learn a few simple tips to help you begin creating a life that is more balanced, happy and rewarding, even in today’s stressful world.
First, if you are feeling stressed, know that you are not alone. A recent study from consulting firm Towers Watson showed the number one reason top talent across North America are leaving their jobs is due to stress. Interestingly enough, however, it appears that many companies are missing the boat in terms of understanding the deep impact of stress on their key employees. In this same study, human resources professionals were also interviewed and they did not mention stress as a top factor for their employees leaving their roles. It appears there is a gap here. Unfortunately, it is top talent falling between the cracks.
Earlier in my career, I was responsible for event planning. I know it can be one of the most rewarding, yet stressful jobs. In fact, CareerCast recently released a study showing event planners have the sixth most stressful job in America in 2012, just behind police officers.
In my first few years as an event planner, my life was full of stress. I started to experience problems sleeping and the anxiety of trying to do everything perfectly at lightning speed was tearing me a part. I came to a point where I realized this was not how I wanted to live my life. I knew I had to make some changes.
I found working with a coach was essential to creating new lifelong, healthy habits. I also embraced regular exercise, no matter what my schedule looked like, and I created boundaries for myself. In this business, it is so easy to run yourself ragged because there is always more you can do to make the event just that little bit better – or so you think. But what I learned is that we have to make choices and preserve our energy better so we can go the distance in our careers. . .and in our lives.
When I was able to create a system to manage my stress better, my career started to take off. I was eventually promoted to vice president. Then I realized there are so many others out there who are being held back by stress, and that I had a passion for helping professionals make positive changes just like I had. So, as someone who has successfully made the leap from executive to executive coach, my piece of advice to you is to listen to your gut instinct. If you feel you are pushing yourself too hard, don’t push harder. Stop. Breathe. Then come back to your work with greater clarity.
Top tips for surviving the stress factor:
- Learn to unplug. Do not sleep in the same room as your mobile device.
- Remember it is okay to take risks and make mistakes. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Get in shape to go the distance. Exercise is a great way to manage stress levels.
- Work with a coach and mentor. They can often provide the support you need.
- Reduce your multi-tasking. Once seen as a highly prized character trait, multi-tasking is now seen as a habit that has people doing too much at once. It is better to place more focus on fewer tasks at a time to achieve greater success.
- Don’t try to be all things to all people. We know this doesn’t work in business so why do we try to do this in our own lives? The reality is that work-life balance is about deciding on priorities and delegating or outsourcing the rest.