Life is dynamic: never predictable and constantly changing. Add in the stress of running a company and things can quickly become overwhelming. As a result, entrepreneurs and executives are all too familiar with the fine line between sanity and utter despair. Needless to say, balancing your life is the single most important thing you can learn as an individual.
We choose to be many things in life, and juggling these responsibilities is no easy task. There comes a time when you may be feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. Maybe all of the work-related stress is exhausting you; maybe you’re having a hard time maintaining your personal relationships; or maybe you don’t like the people you’re managing.
Whatever the issue, there are several ways to overcome stress. I employ these five simple daily methods and find them quite helpful in my own life, both personal and professional.
1. A company needs a board. You do too
Every company benefits from a diverse and qualified board of directors.
By merging insider and outsider views with a wealth of combined experience, the board can help navigate a company out of rough waters. The same can be said about our personal lives. In times of stress, it can be helpful to confide in a handful of trusted advisers. This can include friends, family, mentors, colleagues, therapists and so forth. The key here is to diversify the feedback you receive to view issues from multiple angles. Why? Because your mentor will likely give you advice different than the advice of your sibling. A therapist on the other hand can provide some much needed unbiased advice.
Either way, having a strong board of personal advisers will help you get through your darkest moments and will ultimately aid in your personal development because it gives you perspective.
2. Take a break
Many of us believe we can do it all. We work long hours and wear it proudly as a badge of honor but the truth is, we need downtime.
Just as professional athletes take time to recover between training sessions, we need time to refresh the mind and body. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, we can’t give 100 percent of ourselves 100 percent of the time -- it’ll only burn us out. A break can mean something as simple as setting aside an hour or two a day to shut down and de-stress, read a book, play with the kids or go for a leisurely stroll. These short breaks can clear your mind and inspire the creativity needed to get out of a rut.
Regular exercise, along with a balanced diet, is the best way to stay healthy.
We’ve been told this our entire lives yet most of us continue to neglect these practices due to a lack of time and an abundance of stress. While no one disputes the physical benefits of exercise, most of us fail to see the correlation between exercise and mental health. Stress affects the brain, depletes your energy and ability to concentrate and can lead to a host of mental ailments.
Exercise produces endorphins, the body’s natural response to stress, fear and pain. It decreases tension, elevates and stabilizes mood and improves sleep, which in turn reduces stress. In addition to combating stress, studies have shown that regular exercise can improve alertness, memory, concentration and overall brain function. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise can help you recover more quickly from stressful situations, make better decisions and become a better problem solver.
4. Encourage direct communication -- at all levels
Work-related stress is often caused by conflicting and overlapping priorities, last-minute crises with limited response time and friction with colleagues and employees.
As with our personal lives, clear communication is critical to the success of any community. By encouraging company-wide communication and direct engagement, you can limit the number of stress-inducing events. Keeping an active pulse on the company’s activities through clear communication allows you and the company to be proactive instead of reactive. While some things cannot be avoided, a majority of work-related problems and inefficiencies arise from miscommunication -- or a lack thereof.
5. Seek professional advice
Therapy is an effective avenue to explore. Unfortunately, there exists a stigma that those who require it are emotionally unstable and therefore, unreliable.
The fact is, most of us can benefit from some level of therapy. A therapist can be a great advocate for self-care and an unbiased sounding board. Therapy can help draw out your stress triggers and work on managing strong emotions. It's not only about exploring your philosophy of management and the way you interact with others, it's also about improving your entire life -- professional aspects included.
Ultimately, a therapist helps hold you accountable to your goals, whether that be a work-life balance or an understanding of the things that drive you. Having a deeper understanding of yourself will help you become a happier and more effective leader.