We all go through stressful times during our lives. There are so many sources of anxiety and overwhelm in the world and it’s not realistic to expect that we will be able to deal with all life throws at us without getting stressed from time to time.
It’s important to be kind to yourself during times of stress, but you can also create healthy coping strategies to maintain your leadership mindset. Rest is important, but you will likely still have responsibilities you’ll need to keep up with.
Maintaining a “boss” mindset can help you stay productive even during stressful times. Here’s what you need to know about stress, anxiety, and how to cope.
Common Misconceptions About Anxiety
Many people experience anxiety when they become stressed. Anxiety is an extremely common mental health problem that can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life. People with anxiety routinely worry about different problems to an excessive degree.
There are lots of myths about anxiety. People who experience anxiety are often told that it isn’t a real disorder when in reality it is the most common mental health disorder diagnosed. In fact, around a third of adults in the United States will have an anxiety disorder during their lifetime.
Anxiety doesn’t just go away on its own, as some people believe. Without treatment and healthy coping mechanisms, anxiety can affect a person’s quality of life, both personally and professionally. Those with anxiety need strategies to cope with stress and create a healthy mindset.
The Physical Ramifications of Chronic Stress
Stress is normal and can actually be beneficial from time to time. But when stress is chronic, it can have severe physical ramifications, affecting nearly every system of the body over time. People who are unable to gain control of their stress levels may eventually experience severe health problems.
When a person is stressed, their muscles tense. This is the body’s way of protecting itself from injury. The stress response may be protective, but constant tensing can also cause musculoskeletal issues. For instance, chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain are common among people who experience constant stress.
Stress can also be a source of tension headaches, which affect a person’s ability to focus and be productive. Other stress-related problems, such as poor sleep quality, a weakened immune system, and elevated heart rate, can contribute to a number of chronic and serious health problems.
Productive, Positive Ways You Can Cope With Stress
If you’re in any kind of leadership position, you will often have to work through your stress. Getting the right mindset is important. Finding productive and positive ways to cope with stress will allow you to manage your stress when it’s not possible to step away and take a break.
Some anxiety coping strategies are very simple. You should try to stick with a healthy, positive routine that includes regular exercise, healthy food, and plenty of sleep. Staying hydrated is also important.
Another way to cope is to start a mindfulness or meditation practice. Try meditating in the morning before you start work to get in a good headspace for the day. You can also try yoga or journaling to control your stress.
If you need an emergency stress management technique, it can be helpful to learn breathing exercises. Even just taking a short break to take a walk or meditate can help you clear your head and get back into a boss mindset.
Reduce Leadership Stress: Re-prioritize, Recover, and Revitalize
Part of stress management is about good planning. Reducing your stress as a leader often involves changing the way you do things and the way you think about the work you do. What causes you the most stress on a regular basis and can you make changes to reduce that stress?
Take a step back and look at your day-to-day responsibilities. What are you prioritizing? Is it time to re-think those priorities? Could you delegate some of them?
You also need to take time for yourself so you have a chance to rest, recover, and revitalize. Your mindset is likely to decline if you ignore your stress levels and just try to work through your anxiety. It’s important to know when it’s time to take a step back.
Many leaders worry that taking a break to recover shows weakness. In fact, it shows strength. It’s important to set a good example for your team, and taking a break when you need it shows that rest is an important part of maintaining a healthy, productive mindset.