Seven Ways to Reduce Stress When You’re a Busy Professional
If you’re a business owner or busy professional, chances are you’re no stranger to stress. It comes with the job description, right? Some of this stress can be helpful; it can energize and motivate you. Chronic stress, on the other hand, makes you more susceptible to everything from the common cold to cancer. If you’re beginning to show signs of burnout and find yourself feeling increasingly overwhelmed, read on for seven effective ways to reduce stress.
1. Have clearly defined goals in both your professional and personal life. When you have specific goals, it’s much easier to say no to anything that will distract you from them.
2. Identify all the things you’re worrying about and begin taking steps to address them. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon says, “Stress primarily comes from not taking action over something that you can have some control over.” Stress comes from ignoring things that you shouldn’t be ignoring.
3. Be a list maker. As simple and low-tech as this sounds, writing lists acts as a stress reliever and will turn even the most disorganized person into an organized thinker. It worked for Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and Leonardo da Vinci as well as Madonna and Martha Stewart today, so why not let it work for you. The simple act of writing to do lists and crossing off each item as you complete them is powerful. According to a professor at the Dominican University of California, writing down goals will make you 33 percent more likely to achieve them. Writing down all the details of the day from remembering to pick up avocados at the store to an important phone call you need to make frees up space in your head, helps you to stay focused and significantly reduces your stress levels.
4. Take a walk outdoors every day. Your brain demands more oxygen when you’re under stress, and walking outdoors is the best low-stress way to oxygenate your brain. Plus, when you’re out in the great outdoors, it’s the perfect opportunity to get the stress out of your head.
5. Make self-care a priority. From the food you eat to the amount of sleep you get, unless you’re taking care of yourself as well as you’re taking care of business, you will wind up with chronic stress. As you see to it that you get enough rest and nourish your body with the right nutrients, you’ll improve your self-esteem, bolster your immune system and increase your productivity. Part of self-care also means carving out time for yourself every day to pursue whatever makes you happy, be it meeting with a friend or taking an aroma-therapeutic bath at the end of the day. Schedule these necessary treats as you would important appointments.
6. Incorporate stress relief techniques into all your mundane tasks. For example, listen to soothing music during your commute to work. Do stress-relieving isometric exercises if you’re stuck in a traffic jam. As you’re getting ready for work in the morning, diffuse some feel-good essential oils including tangerine and mint, and do deep breathing exercises while you apply your makeup or shave. Simply focus on your breath as you slowly breathe in through your nose and then exhale out of your mouth. This simple act tells your parasympathetic nervous system that you're calm and in control.
7. Take regular breaks throughout the day to restore yourself. Breaks interrupt the cycle of stress that leads to overwhelm and burnout. You’ll find yourself returning with sharper thinking, greater creativity, and increased productivity.
Rather than allowing stress to overwhelm you, these seven positive strategies can help you take your life back so you can hit the ground running to achieve new goals. You’ll find your stress level going way down and your overall effectiveness going way up. As you learn how to control your stress, you’ll find that every aspect of your life improves. You’ll have less irritability, greater focus, and you’ll definitely sleep better at night. Chances are that once you’ve got this down, you’ll make stress reduction your priority for life.
Learn more about Life & Career Coach Julie Morris here.