Job-related pressure and tension is the main source of stress for 46 percent of American adults, according to The American Institute of Stress.
If the average American worker is experiencing this much job stress, just imagine how executives feel. Although executives receive higher salaries compared to rank and file employees, their burden of responsibilities tends to be more intense and challenging. Executives must keep in mind the company’s bottom line, as well as the best interest of team members, customers, and investors.
Naturally, it’s to be expected that a great many executives experience a high level of job-related stress. In some cases, this sort of stress can lead to health problems such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. Other stressed executives may even inadvertently displace their stressful feelings onto their colleagues and/or subordinates, sometimes acting unreasonable and impatient. If left unchecked, this can create a hostile work environment which could ultimately lead to higher employee turnover, or worse, lawsuits filed by disgruntled workers who feel they were treated poorly or unfairly.
For this reason, it is important for business executives to manage stress brought about by their responsibilities at work.
Here is a list of what to keep in mind when planning your own stress reduction:
1. Eat a healthy diet
This may sound like common sense but recent studies show that only 2.7 percent of adults in the U.S. live a healthy lifestyle. Most Americans are always in a hurry to finish a meal in order to get back to work. This is why “fast food” restaurants are so immensely popular. Yet unfortunately, a regular diet of this food has a negative effect on one’s health, such as weight gain and the development of chronic diseases. Menu planning and making your own healthy snack bags are just two of many ways you can work some healthy food choices into your busy lifestyle.
2. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise makes you stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. Make it a point to do some form of exercise at least three times a week. This will also help improve sleep quality and boost your immunity from colds and flu. According to the Mayo Clinic, almost any form of physical exercise can act as a stress alleviator by boosting your body’s own feel-good neurotransmitters, or endorphins, giving you an overall feeling of well-being, reducing anxiety.
3. Get enough sleep
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep per night, to completely recharge your body. Sleeping less than six hours at night can negatively affect your concentration and ability to make decisions. To make sure that you get enough sleep, do not eat or drink alcohol a few hours before going to bed and avoid using electronic devices late into the night. Instead, try reading or meditating before sleeping.
4. Take breaks whenever necessary
You need to take a break every once in a while, no matter how hectic your work schedule may be. Make it a habit to get up from your desk and walk around every 90 minutes or go out to get some fresh air. Sometimes, deep breathing or just closing your eyes for a few minutes can help you recharge. Scientifically speaking, our brains operate within two basic modes, “focused”, when we are learning new information or problem-solving, and “diffused” when we are relaxed and not terribly deep in thought. While many would assume that the “focused” mode is the more productive of the two, without the “diffused” mode, we would not be able to operate at full efficiency – which is why fitting in ample downtime is such an important part of productivity.
5. Get organized
Plan ahead and stay organized. Prioritize urgent or important tasks and create a schedule for each. Doing this will help you focus and complete tasks earlier. Maybe even consider a productivity app, such as Evernote to help maintain appointments and to-do lists.
6. Create your personal support group
It is important to have a group of people for support and accountability. They are individuals who will help you cope with the stress of being a leader. This should be a diverse group comprised of your boss, your peers, a trusted friend and a family member. You should share with them your goals regarding stress management so that they can help you stay on track.
Improving your lifestyle and developing good habits can do a lot to relieve the stress of your responsibilities as a business executive. Start making small changes and you will notice progress at work and even in your personal relationships.
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200