Rita Perea is President of Rita Perea Leadership Coaching and Consulting, specializing in working with senior leaders to successfully establish executive presence, lead high-performing teams, engage employees, manage change and create work/life balance.
Are you feeling frantic? Overwhelmed by responsibilities on the job and at home? Do you feel like a hamster running on a wheel without a way to stop and jump off? Are you feeling exhausted but don’t know where to begin to feel better and more in control of work and life?
One way to move the needle from feeling frantic to feeling fabulous- shiny, sparkly and having it all together- is to take a good, honest look at the stressors in your life and at work. And then do something about it! Most people find that targeting and minimizing one or two areas of stress feels doable and empowering. Trying to tackle all areas of stress at one time can feel, well, even more stressful and overwhelming. That’s not what we are going for here.
These five stress-reduction tips can help you feel at the top of your game again:
- Give yourself a break. When you find yourself in a stressful situation, it is important to remove yourself and take a time out, even if it is only for a few minutes. Do you have a supervisor at work who is unpleasant and relentless? After an interaction with him/her, take a short walk outside for a little fresh air to gain your perspective again.
- Do it now. Procrastination, putting things off and telling yourself that you will get to these tasks later, causes stress that we may not even be aware of. Think of each task that you procrastinate about as a new little sticky note attached to your brain. Too many of these distractions hanging there waiting for attention can cause the a person to feel overwhelmed and to not be able to think clearly. If you adopt the mantra of “Do it now!” you can minimize stress-producing procrastination and decrease your to do list.
- Change your thinking, change your life. Stress is a way of reacting to events and problems, and you can lock yourself into one way of viewing your situation. If you can take a few minutes to try to view a situation from different angles and change our thinking about the situation, you can choose to react differently. You can seek an outside perspective of the situation by talking with a trusted friend, coach or counselor, and then compare it to yours. A change in attitude can unlock your stress- filled condition.
- Do something for others. We can find ourselves stuck in the cycle of negative thinking which can lead to fear, anxiety and despair. Our focus can get locked on ourselves and how miserable we are. If we do something for another person, especially someone less fortunate than ourselves, we can can mentally and emotionally move from having our own little pity-party to feeling gratitude that our situation is so much better than we thought. Spreading love and cheer is a wonderful way to support others as well as ourselves.
- Be present in the moment. Focusing on the future or the past can cause fear, anxiety and stress. When we are mindful and present in each moment, we are not worrying about what the future holds or regretting the past. The negativity is sometimes called “stinking thinking” and we can get stuck in this unproductive mental loop. When we are present in the moment we are not standing in fear. We are simply noticing and aware of our thinking and our feelings moment by moment by moment. When you find your mind wandering off to the past or the future, you can simply notice what your thoughts are and return your attention to the present moment. Being mindful will slow you down, reduce your stress and help you feel focused and relaxed to complete the task at hand. You can take this a step farther and incorporate mindfulness meditation into your day. This is a supercharged way to get work and life feeling balanced again. Visit the Succeed! blog on my website to find out more about mindfulness meditation and taking a time out from stress.
We all have stress in our lives, but too much can make us feel sick, overwhelmed, irritated, angry, distracted and frantic. By kicking the excess stress out of our lives and to the curb we can feel fabulous, relaxed, in control and balanced.