As a nation, stress is kicking our butts. Anywhere from 75% to 90% of doctor visits are stress-related, and our busy workspaces and overpacked schedules are to blame.
And yet, you can’t help but notice that easy-breezy coworker who thrives under stress, and never lets work “get to them.” How do they do it? Better yet, how can you do it?
Stop Doing Stressful Things
Ah, if only it were this easy. Of course you want to do fewer stressful things. If you could, you would.
With that said, sometimes, the most obvious solution is all you really need. Maybe you can lighten up your to-do list. Delegate tasks, maybe even get a virtual assistant like Clara. Take shortcuts where you can, and save your energy for things that really matter.
Doing less doesn’t make you a bad worker. If you’re a people-pleaser and find yourself compromising the quality of your work (and your life!) by saying “yes” to everything that comes across your desk, STOP. Learn to say no without hurting your career. It’s as easy as promising to help in a less-involved way, or just offering a good reason.
Make Friends with Stress
Stress is a very negative word. It’s usually preceded by phrases like “suffering from” or “overwhelmed by” or even “killed by.” No wonder stress is scary! No wonder it’s so easy to suffer from a fear of stress, on top of the stress itself.
Change your mindset. Make friends with stress. You can use it to drive your success. It doesn’t have to be scary! Stress is a friendly reminder that you’re human, and that your mind and body are preparing for a challenge – a challenge that you’ll be ready to tackle, no matter how difficult.
When you think of stress in a positive way, as a motivator, your fear of stress will fade. Positive stress, known in the world of psychology as eustress, is good for you. Eustress is that feeling of stimulation and excitement you get when you ride a rollercoaster or give a big presentation.
Don’t pray that your hands won’t shake, and don’t beg your stomach not to rumble. Avoiding stress is impossible.
Try thanking your stress instead. Thank your stress for reminding you that you’re capable enough to be trusted with demanding projects, and know that you’re going to find your way, just like you always do.
Take Weekend Vacations
The key to managing the ill effects of stress is making the most of the time you have between working on stressful projects. It’s not only a matter of getting enough vacation time. You need to use your time off efficiently to make sure your mind and body are truly rested.
You actually get more stress-relieving benefits from the countdown to your vacation than your vacation itself. Planning your vacation and crossing the days off your calendar can bring you enough excitement to make work stress more bearable.
Short, frequent vacations are better than long, infrequent ones. Long vacations can stress you out in the days leading up to them if you have to double up on your work beforehand and afterward to compensate. You’ll also have to deal with more stressful planning. A short, three-day weekend getaway might be all you need to refresh.
Take Care of Yourself
Self-care keeps you sharp and prevents buildup of unhealthy stress. You can always get another job, but you will never have another body.
The way you eat has a major effect on how your body handles stress. Certain foods have even been shown to lower production of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. Snack on salmon, nuts, dark green vegetables, berries, dark chocolate or oats to help your body naturally reduce stress.
Other ways to take care of yourself include improving the length and quality of your sleep each night, trying some soothing breathing exercises, and getting more exercise. No need for a gym – quick mini-workouts spice up your day and keep you focused.
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PPS – Finding funding for your startup can be stressful too – check this out before you panic.