Life will always have stressful moments, but being a leader brings many opportunities for stress! At Launch Leadership Development, we know self-care is an important component of self-management.
Today I would like to touch on the topic of stress and give you strategies to use in these two areas:
- Identifying sources of stress
- Managing the stress
Identify Sources of stress: Take a moment to write down everything that is stressing you. This includes things like people, due dates, lack of sleep, too much on your plate, worries, fears, and questions you do not have the answers to. Write it all down – this act is therapeutic as you are getting everything all out of your head onto paper. Once you see things listed on paper, they feel more manageable and less threatening. You may even have a light-bulb moment seeing something you didn’t realize was causing you stress. Below is a chart of common stressors for high school and college students.
Manage the stress: Now that these stressors are captured on paper, it is time to deal with them. Use this strategy:
- Put a star beside the stressors that you have no control over. Now release them through prayer, journal about them, or simply rewrite them on a different sheet of paper and put them in your desk or a drawer and decide that time will work these out. Let them go, my friend!
- Now highlight the ones you CAN act on. Rewrite these on another sheet of paper and come up with one or two action steps you can take to make the situation better. Keep this list out where you can see it as a reminder. Then release these things from your mind, knowing that you have a plan and with constant focus they will be resolved. You are doing what you can!
- With both lists, visualize the perfect outcome you would like to see happen. Make a movie of it in your head. Your mind will relax, and your subconscious will begin working to bring about these positive outcomes. You will feel peace.
Mind: Anxiety and stress start in your mind. Thoughts cause feelings of stress, not the situations themselves. Once you grasp that reality, you can begin to manage your thoughts.
- Stay in the present. Focus on the NOW. Do not let worries steal your present.
- Replace negative thoughts the moment they appear with a positive thought.
- Look at your list of action steps and remind yourself that things are under control.
- Take a 1 minute or 5 minute “mini vacation” in your mind during the day.
Body: Stress affects the body in many negative ways, causing illness or long-term diseases. You can also relieve stress with relaxation techniques or exercise.
- Breathing exercises will calm your mind and body. There are many videos and resources that will guide you in breathing techniques.
- Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress and produce feel-good hormones.
- Get plenty of sleep, keeping regular sleep times.
- Take breaks during the day.
The importance of stress management cannot be stressed enough! Your physical and mental health and productivity depend on it. As a leader, be aware of signs of stress in your team, as well, sharing the strategies you have learned today. This looking out for ourselves and others will benefit everyone!
For more information on stress management, check out this video!