It can be lonely at the top. As leaders we often have to accept that we are in stressful positons and we can’t pass accountability for the situation to someone else. Sure, we can delegate or team with others, but that doesn’t make the stress go away. In fact, sometimes stress increases when we have to trust others to complete critical phases of our plans.
There’s no question that some stress is good. The pressure to succeed or to meet new challenges can keep us at the top of our game. But letting lots of stress pile on because we are too focused on work neglecting our basic health and fitness needs is detrimental to our own success and the success of our team. Finding healthy outlets for our stress is critical to maintaining ourselves and our team at peak performance
Outlets at work
Sometimes we work on a problem for house without ever seeing a small crack in it that looks like even a potential solution. Take a break. Talk to a co-worker about anything other than the current project you’re working on, even if it’s still work related. I had an office mate who would walk around the building. I like to go to the gym. It gets me out of the office and away from my desk but it’s not so far away that I can’t get back quickly if I need to. In addition, focusing on my workout clears out my head and I can come back to work on the problem with a fresh perspective.
Outlets outside of work
It’s important to have outlets where we interact with other people. There’s nothing wrong with engaging in hobbies or activities that are individual endeavors, but without a strong support network of others like friends and family that we share your personal time with, we risk becoming isolated and feeling frustration with our work stresses alone. Also, spending time with co-workers outside of work can be a great way to build camaraderie in the workplace and strong friendships outside of work, but it’s beneficial to also have some engagement with people outside of work. Activities with friends where you can completely put aside the challenges and pressures of work is essential to decompressing. Take the time to engage and get involved in what your family and friends are doing. It will be worth it!
Letting our burdens go
It’s important to learn how to let go of the stressful things that are weighing us down and bothering us. Some things we may not be able to let go or share with others; all the more reason to find a way to open up to others about the ones that we can. Finding a trusted peer or mentor can help a lot. Just saying what is bothering us out loud to another can help us find some perspective on the situation. As a bonus, the person we share with may be able to offer additional perspective to help us find that the situation isn’t as difficult as we thought or they may be able to point us in the right direction to a solution by connecting us with someone who can help. Many problems that weigh us down aren’t as bad as we build them up to be. Actively looking for opportunities to remove these burdens from ourselves can free our minds up to spend energy on the things that really matter.
Discussion Question: What outlets for stress do you find effective for your team at work and outside of work?
Photo Credit: By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher Wilson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons