All professionals experience stress at work – it’s part of the package. Meeting deadlines, juggling clients, conferencing with colleagues, checking and returning phone calls and e-mails. Sound familiar?
What can you do to manage daily stress? Start simple. I know you have heard this before, however, the following “coping mechanisms” can make a big difference in your day.
- Eat a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch – Without filling up your gas tank with food, you will be running on empty, which leaves you without energy. Imagine doing that with your car. To save time, schedule breakfast or lunch meetings – use these meetings to network and do business development. If you need help planning quick meals, consult a nutritionist. Most health plans include several free or low-cost nutritionist visits.
- Get some activity/fresh air – Use the stairs, if possible, rather than the elevator. Park your car further from your office, creating an excuse to walk and get fresh air to and from the office. Go to the gym for a workout before you get to the office.
- Prioritize your “to do” list daily – Do not set yourself up for disappointment by thinking you can do everything on your list. Pick the top two things you need to get done and, if you finish those, you can always move on to item three.
- Take it one day at a time – You only have control over today and today’s responsibilities. Try not to focus on yesterday or tomorrow, you have no control over either of those. Having no control serves only to increase your stress and anxiety levels.
- Practice saying “no” – It may “feel” hard to turn down a boss, colleague, or friend, but overextending is an automatic formula for stress and possibly disappointment. Consider offering the following: “No, I can’t right now, however, I’d be happy to help another time – check back with me in a few days/weeks.”
- Give voice to your stress – Holding in your feelings will result in stress building up. Communicate to a trusted confidante or coach, or write about it in a private journal. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel!