Each industry has a busy season – or two – and you know better than anyone when it hits your office. Each day is a difficult juggling act of monitoring emails, phone calls and texts – all between meetings and managing events. Sometimes it feels overwhelming and that the mountain of work will never cease. What do you to do manage your stress?
Each event comes with its own challenges and stressors, but in the end the way I deal with the stressors is the same, no matter how big or small. I have worked hard to manage stress levels and have picked up a few interesting tidbits along the way.
The first: to relinquish the idea that you have a personal/home self and a work self. You are not two personalities, you do not turn a switch to go from your home brain and feelings to your work brain and feelings as you drive to the office. Everything you do will affect the other parts of your life, intentional or not. This was a huge revelation because I grew up learning that personal problems should be checked at the office door, and vice versa. Ironically, letting go of this idea has allowed me to accept and deal with stressors faster than before. I’m able to accept that I may be affected by some things and move on with that conscious thought instead of fighting the emotions that were to be separated and thrown into a small box to be dealt with later. This is particularly helpful when I have the luxury of planning my full work day (a day with no meetings) – sometimes I’ll be more communicative and write a blog. On other days I’ll need a methodical project, like a critical path or a financial update to work on.
The second: to understand your stressors. Until you know what stresses you, you won’t be able to address it. For example, do you dislike getting a long email with multiple topics in one message because you feel like you’ll miss an important detail? Or is it that the long, detailed emails make you feel micromanaged? I love working onsite at events but not everyone does. Knowing what you need and how you react to things will help you to understand how to move forward. I’ve got a note on my wall that reads:
avoid the stressor;
alter the stressor;
adapt to the stressor;
accept the stressor.
I am not sure where this came from, but the feeling of choice, however small, has a big influence. Of course, if the stressor is threatening your health, you need to act fast.
The third: to celebrate your successes. I was at a seminar on fundraising and the speaker recommended celebrating successes. She said that saying “ta da!” (out loud!) is enough to recognize that good work was done and give you an energy boost. When was the last time you celebrated a good day of work? The renewal of a contract? Finishing your to do list? We’re all so good at getting lost in the work that we forget how far a “thank you” or a small token of celebration goes.
I have no doubt stress is a great money maker for therapists, self-help gurus, book stores, pharmacies and dozens more, yet each of us deal with it in our own way. Whether good or bad, our habits affect every area of our lives.
Determining what you need to alleviate stress is hard work but worthwhile work and will make all the difference to your world and no doubt to the events you manage.