As you recall, my topic for last month was about managing stress especially around email at work and at home. This month, I want to provide some reminders from last year and some new ideas on how to manage stress at work and at home.
So let’s first focus on work:
- How many of you have been trained from birth that you should have an open door policy? Did you know this causes people more stress than most things at work? It causes a disruption to your focus on work and causes you a lot of stress when trying to finish even emails. If you want to focus, close your office door and let everyone know that if the door is closed, short of extreme emergencies, you are not to be interrupted.
- Open office areas can also be a great source of stress. If you have created or work in this environment, you will have to develop some techniques to “shut the world out” while you try to focus. Our brains can be easily distracted and this causes stress. I have seen work places where there are phone and meeting rooms to help reduce the background noise for everyone else around that person or space.
- At work, make sure you get up and walk around every once in a while to give your brain and body a break. This should include a walk outside to get some fresh air.
- And take those coffee and lunch breaks. Eating at your workplace is not only unhealthy for you but could also be costly when those crumbs and coffee or tea spill all over you keyboard or other expensive equipment.
- Set yourself some goals for everyday and when you have accomplished them, focus on some lesser important stuff like catching up on reading. You don’t have to work 150 km per hour every hour for every day. If you think you can, take a look at what happens to high speed/stress motors like on riverboats, ATV’s or snowmobiles. They break often and are expensive to fix. Do you think you are any different?
Now for home or play
- Commit to some exercise every day.
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
- Find some relaxing things to do in your time off such as reading a book, taking a walk, etc.
- And every once in a while, take a “jammy” day where you might even try staying in your jammies or slouchies (is this a word?) all day or for most of the day.
- Schedule those annual holidays so that you actually take them. They are there for a reason- to recharge your batteries and to give your mind and body a break.
- When you do go on holidays, lock the phone, computer, ipad, etc. in the hotel safe and don’t even press the on button until you get home. It will take you a day or two to wean yourself off these electronic anchors but once that happens, you will really enjoy your holiday.
- Learn to say “no”! We all need time for ourselves and sometimes that means saying “no” to one more meeting, one more board, one more everything.
There is good stress and bad stress. You have to choose which one you want to live with and how long you want to live. The good news is that we get to choose.