Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and near the end of your rope? You’re not alone.
A 2006 study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership found that “88% of leaders report that work is a primary source of stress in their lives and that having a leadership role increases the level of stress.”
It shouldn’t take a dramatic breakdown for us to get the message. Wellness matters to leaders, because you need to bring your best game to the table every day. To do that, you need to pay attention to your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Think baby steps toward wellness – simple things you can do to increase the quality (and perhaps even the quantity) of life. Here are some ideas to take care of yourself:
Immerse yourself in positive messages. Skeptical and negative thinking erodes your physical health by increasing cortisol (a stress hormone) production. Read a book with a positive message, watch a funny movie or listen to relaxing music to reduce stress hormones.
Make activity fun. Your body and your mind love the stimulation that comes from breathing harder, increasing your heart rate and a little sweat. Enjoyable movement stimulates serotonin (“happy” hormone) production and distracts you from negative thoughts. Find something you like to do (snowshoe, swim, dance, jump rope, yoga…) and mix in some variety. You can even work out while you’re being productive. Put on some loud music and clean the house. (Better yet, come clean MY house.)
Keep food intake in balance. You don’t have to deprive yourself to eat a balanced diet. Strengthen your immune system and allow your cells to repair by eating right. Don’t forget that over-eating puts stress on your body by forcing it to process a large quantity of food in a short time. Enjoy winter comfort foods, but do so in moderation!
Laugh a little. “Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it” (Lily Tomlin). Don’t you feel better already?
Don’t take our word for it. Do your research online at reputable sites like the Mayo Clinic and AMA. Your body, mind and co-workers will thank you for it!
Humanergy can help you put yourself first!
Photo from stock.xchng.
As with so many things in life, balance is the key. I think it can be just as stressful or more stressful to not have meaningful work…Not have something you are passionate about… something that gets you up and going in the morning.
I agree with Bill, and I think it’s especially true for those in retirement. I know many folks who have retired, and if they don’t have a plan for being involved in something that has meaning for them they seem to just wander and wither–physically and mentally.
One thing I would add to the list is 8-9 hours of sleep each night. As leaders we need to access both our conscious and subconscious minds to process the work and make decisions. Having a good night’s rest helps the body, and it helps the mind. Some of my best ideas or solutions have come to me during dreams or as I am just awakening.
I’m also a “nap advocate”…taking just a quick 15-20 minute nap when facing a decision or a challenging problem often results in a good idea upon awakening. Plus, it’s kind of refreshing in the middle of a stressful day 🙂
It seems worth mentioning on the heels of this good idea – Humanergy has a new-ish staff member, Launda Wheatley, who has had some great success in helping business leaders find baby steps to less stress and more centered leading. I’m thankful for and implementing a number of breathing techniques from her on a regular basis. In one instance, she has been starting the first half hour of day-long offsite meetings for a client. She has received rave reviews.