Articles | Overcoming Stress – 8 Strategies That Work






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Overcoming Stress – 8 Strategies That Work

Overcoming Stress – 8 Strategies That Work

By David Lindsay, High Performance Coach, Keynote Speaker and Former Athlete,

As leaders we are often the person others are reliant upon and who people come to get answers. That is perfectly fine as we have chosen that line of work, and we are capable leaders, otherwise we wouldn’t be there. There will, however, be occasions when it really gets to us and it becomes a problem when it starts to affect our performance at work, our life away from work and our health. Here we discuss 8 simple strategies to help you reduce stress and operate at 100%.

As leaders we are often the person people are reliant upon and who people come to get answers. That is perfectly fine as we have chosen that line of work, and if we weren’t capable we wouldn’t be there. There will, however, be occasions when it really gets to us and it becomes a problem when it starts to affect our performance at work, our life away from work and our health.

I have had conversations with people many times when their stress levels are really high and it is starting to hit their home life and they feel they have no escape, or no “safe place”. When life gets like this it feels like there will be no end to the problems that their family no longer have their back and they must fend for themselves at all costs. This is not a place I would like to be or wish upon anyone. Below I have given you a few strategies for you to play with to help get on top of these stress issues. Please remember that it is not a sign of weakness, it is more a sign of inner strength, that you reach out for help when necessary and even seek professional help when needed.

8 Simple Strategies To Help Reduce Stress

  1. Put things into perspective: This has helped me out many times when things have been at boiling point. Times when I thought the world would end if I didn’t come up with the solution right there and then. It was actually when I was listening to Les Brown, a motivational speaker that he said to put things into perspective. If you don’t get the right answer right away what will be the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen? If you are in the emergency services this could be a life or death situation, but for the majority of people it isn’t that bad. If you are in the emergency services you are trained for most situations, and if it doesn’t work you have done your best. 6 Months down the track who is going to remember? This doesn’t mean you let things slide, because if you continually let things slide and fall behind maybe you aren’t meant to be a leader in the first place, but if you need time to think for a minute or an hour, take that time.
  2. Stop and take a deep breath: When people are at their computers and get flustered they tend to make small silly mistakes that can possibly have a long flow on effect. If necessary simply get up from your computer, walk a little, grab a drink of water and then take a deep, slow, conscious breath or 2. Sometimes it can be the difference between getting the work done correctly or not. That simple breath can help you catch up to your thoughts.
  3. Leave work at work, and your home life at home: All too often I hear of colleagues say that when they are at work they are worried about what is happening at home, and while they are at home they are worried about work. This to me is worrying about what you can’t fix. If you are at work you should be at work 100%. Work in intense chunks of work, between 30-50 mins worth, and have these broken up by small “re-set” times. Where you get up and move, make any necessary phone calls and go get some fresh air. (Check out the Pomodoro technique) . When you are at home you should be 100% at home. I have a daughter who is 9 and she is growing up too quickly, as they all do, and I don’t want to waste my valuable time with her worried about work
  4. Get out and move more: This can be anything from organised sports, to training, rock climbing, walking and everything in between. Training is a great way to relieve stress; if you are frustrated you can get your aggression out on the weights or boxing bag; if you are walking with someone you can talk it out or if you are by yourself you can think about it, at least you will be in fresh air. Researching for a recent speaking engagement, it was interesting how many scientists and mathematicians are avid rock climbers. This is because it truly allows them to let go of the stresses at their work. When they are on the cliff face they can’t be worried about what is happening in the lab or they will miss their next grip and fall down. They are truly in the moment. I understand many people can’t and don’t want to go rock climbing, yet there are many other things they can do that will get similar results such as martial arts, surfing, painting, and music to name but a few options.
  5. Drink more water: You should already be drinking more water and feeling much better for this. Simply stopping to take a drink of water is very similar to stopping and taking that breath. It gives you time to catch up to your thoughts, and stop making small and potentially silly mistakes. It will also allow you to keep a brighter mind than if you were to plough yourself with caffeine
  6. Look at your diet: This may sound silly. Give me a minute here though. If you have a bad diet, full of high bad fats (LDL’s), full of sugars and low in nutrient foods your body and mind will work in a sluggish format. Along with having less energy and clarity you will also be putting your body and organs under extra stress, which may cause high blood pressure, or other worse issues. Remember to get a full body health check from your doctor
  7. How well do you sleep: This tends to be a much overlooked aspect of people’s lives. You may notice I didn’t say how long do you sleep, I said well do you sleep. How well is vastly more important than how long you are asleep for. That is why you can have a 10 hour sleep and wake up like you have been hit by a truck, or you can sleep for 5 or 6 hours and wake up fresh as a daisy. I will give you a few little quick and easy tips to sleep better. Don’t drink caffeinated drinks 6+ hours before sleep, and don’t think that alcohol will help you sleep better either. Drinking an alcoholic drink or 2 may help you fall asleep but it isn’t a good quality sleep. Get blackened blinds for your room as even a little light can affect your sleep. Set your room at between 15.6 and 19.4 degrees Celsius. Many people sleep in rooms that are way too hot to fall into a deep sleep. Go to sleep at the same time (if possible) each night. Our bodies love routines. So by going to sleep at the same time and doing the same activities before sleep, such as reading a book, having a shower etc can help you fall asleep quicker. Get the T.V out of the bedroom.
  8. Activities away from work:- We all need time away from work. Find some healthy activities to give you time away from work, both physically and more importantly mentally. This doesn’t mean going to the pub for a beer, it is ideally getting out in the fresh air with some mates whether it is doing something active like golf, or other outdoor sports, but something away from the stress and grind of your normal day to day activities.

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