Are you stressed out, worn out, or downright burned out? As a business owner or busy professional, it’s inevitable that you’ll experience a certain amount of stress each day. Some stress can be helpful, as it can motivate and energize you.
However, too much stress — particularly work-related stress — can lead to everything from major health problems to problems with substance abuse. Below are seven strategies for keeping your stress levels in check so you can hit the ground running to achieve new goals.
Have clearly defined goals in both your professional and personal life. When you have specific goals, it’s much easier to say no to anything that will distract you from them.
Take Care of Yourself Physically
Make your physical well-being your top priority. Your body deserves a certain level of respect and attention. Be sure to fill it with nourishing, stress-fighting foods, get enough exercise, and avoid empty calories as well as caffeine and alcohol in excess.
Getting enough rest is crucial. Stress greatly interferes with your sleep. According to the American Psychological Association, research shows that most Americans would be happier and healthier if they were to sleep an extra 60 to 90 minutes per night. If your busy brain keeps you up at night, read these suggestions from eight sleep experts.
Pay Attention to Your Mental Health
Your mental well-being is a top priority as well. Science supports meditation, yoga, and deep-breathing exercises as healthy ways to cope with anxiety and stress. According to Eckhart Tolle and countless others, meditation can simply entail taking one conscious breath in and out. By simply focusing on your breath (vs. your thoughts about the past and future), it puts you in the present. When your mind begins to wander, gently bring it back to focusing on your breath. Start with just three minutes per day. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. To motivate you, \create your own private oasis to de-stress when you’re at home.
Don’t Neglect Self-Care
Embrace self care. Carve out time for yourself every day to pursue whatever makes you happy, be it FaceTime with a beloved friend or taking a long bubble bath at the end of the day. Schedule these necessary treats as you would a very important appointment.
Remember to Take Breaks
It’s important to take regular breaks. Whether it’s a brisk 10-minute walk outside of your office, a weekend trip, or a three-week vacation, you need physical and mental breaks to restore yourself. Breaks interrupt the cycle of stress that leads to burnout. You’ll find yourself returning with sharper thinking, greater creativity, and increased productivity.
Keep Things Tidy and Clutter-Free
Author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield coaches busy professionals on how to clean up their messes and incomplete tasks. He says to make a list of all the things that are undone in your life, anything from a report that needs to be sent to a squeaky office door that needs to be fixed. He literally walks through his house and office quarterly and makes a list of anything that needs to be handled. Then, he makes a list for all the people and relationships that are incomplete or need attention in his life. Once he has it all down on paper and out of his head, he prioritizes his list in the order he’ll handle the stressors. The goal is to have an environment both mentally and physically that’s clean, calm, and has the space to support you.
As suggested by a contributor on the Forbes Coaches Council, never underestimate the power of delegating. Not only will it help greatly reduce your stress, but it can also be rewarding to watch what your team can accomplish. Whenever possible, let others take some of your load so you can focus on what you do best.
As you take the steps above to improve your health and well-being, you’ll find your stress level going way down and your overall effectiveness going way up. You may even find your level of energy at an all-time high. By making these practices part of your company’s culture, you’ll be investing in the well-being of others and may even achieve goals you never thought possible.