Sep 25 / Helen Bryant

Stress-Proof Your Leadership: 3 Tips for Effective Stress Management and Work-Life Balance.

In today's fast-paced work environment, stress management and work-life balance are crucial for effective leadership.

On Monday, I was having one of those days, a long to-do list and a non-moveable deadline.

I went to update a PowerPoint doc for a workshop, and there was a message saying it was View Only. I tried all the normal quick tips that we do when the computer plays up…on/off, etc. Nothing. 

My blood pressure started rising as I googled what to do next. 
45 minutes later, I was still in the same position as everything I tried did not work; by then, I was ‘f-ing and jeffing’ like a trooper. 

I felt like Microsoft was personally trying to take me down. I was well and truly rattled.

We know that the role of a manager can sometimes feel like you're juggling flaming swords while walking on a tightrope. Stress is an inevitable part of the job, but managing it is crucial for your sanity and success. 

My PowerPoint issue was the cherry on the cake of a number of stresses, all building to the point. It alone was not that important, but it was its impact, along with everything else I was doing, that was the problem. 

You will often find the same, a simple issue is the straw that breaks the camel's back and sends you off on one! But as a manager, this can be a danger zone, stress doesn't just mess with your mood; it can have real physical and mental consequences. Your team will notice if you are stressed, and it can unsettle them if you show visible frustration. It's vital to recognise the signs of stress to tackle it effectively.

So what do you do when you feel the stress getting hold?

Tip 1: Stress Management Techniques - Take a breathe

When stress starts to build up, try this simple breathing technique called four-box breathing. It's a powerful way to regain your composure and stay centred.

1. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit.
2. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of four.
3. Hold your breath for a count of four.
4. Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four.
5. Pause and hold your breath again for a count of four.

Repeat this cycle for a few minutes, focusing on your breath and nothing else. It's a quick and effective way to reduce stress and regain control of your emotions.

I did this, it worked!

Tip 2: Time Management and Prioritisation

As a leader, effective time management and prioritisation are essential for reducing stress and maintaining work-life balance.

Time management is like the secret sauce of stress reduction for managers. Take control by setting clear priorities. Identify the most critical tasks and tackle them first. Delegation is your best friend—trust your team to handle some of the load. 

I paused, got a coffee and reprioritised the day.

Tip 3: Talk With Someone 

Sometimes when we are feeling a little overwhelmed chatting with someone else can give a new perspective, reassure even make us laugh and release the tension.
Who do you go to chat with when you are stressed?

Managers often neglect their own well-being in the pursuit of success. But remember, you're no good to your team if you're running on empty. You need to be able to identify your stress triggers and take action to minimise it. The best leaders do.

Leaders can create a healthier work environment and foster team collaboration by implementing these stress reduction techniques and prioritisation strategies. 

→Today’s Action Step: What is triggering your stress right now? What could you do to reduce it? Who could you talk to?

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