SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 24 July 2020Soft Skills: Why They are Harder Than You Think and How You Can Acquire Them
If you are a busy professional, then nobody needs to tell you about stress. After all, it’s part of your daily life. In some circumstances, you may thrive in it. But while stress can be a motivating force — something that keeps you striving to be better and more successful — it can also be unhealthy if it’s out of control.
In order to truly move forward in your career, you must get a handle on your excess stress. Here are some ways to give it the boot.
Step 1: Never Lose Sight of Your Work/Life Balance
In an ideal world, your employer would have policies in place to, in essence, force employees to maintain a healthy work/life balance. But alas, it is often up to you, the busy professional, to ensure you are spending enough time and energy on your life outside of your job. Without this, no other stress-busting technique will matter.
Start working on achieving a better balance by setting firm lines about work vs. free time with your employers, talking to them about how you can manage time off while still getting your work done. Check your company's policy about flexible work schedules and consider telecommuting when possible.
Empress Hyder, owner of iHartdesignz talks about her experience with keeping a healthy balance. She states,
“When arriving at work I would leave all of my personal issues at the door to refrain from being distracted on my daily task. To manage my workload accordingly I created a daily routine which I followed, this includes; checking and responding to emails upon arrival so, checking voicemails to follow-up with before lunch, going on my daily to-do list and checking off task as I go, incorporating daily stretching to take my eyes away from the screen, and listening to my daily playlist on YouTube. Organization helps a great deal when you have a flow. It keeps you disciplined and it’s easy to detach from the work world when tasks aren’t lingering.”
Step 2: Rest for Success
Removing workplace stress begins at home — specifically, in the bedroom. The American Psychological Association notes that even a small sleep deficit can negatively impact your overall health, including your ability to deal with daily stress.
If you need to improve your nightly slumber, a mattress upgrade may be in order. Make sure you research your options and the types of mattresses available (like memory foam, hybrid, latex, and innerspring). Everyone is different and needs different types of support and material composition.
Step 3: Eat Right and Stay Active
Every human being should eat healthfully and exercise daily to avoid a wide range of health problems. For business professionals, however, treating your body well is not only the key to better health but better overall success as well.
While there is no magic food that will eliminate stress from your life, there are some that are thought to reduce anxiety. Remember, healthy eating in general (fruits, vegetables, lean protein, reduced sugars, and refined carbs) will give your brain a boost and make it easier to deal with stress.
And as the Mayo Clinic says, “exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever … being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.” Thirty minutes to an hour each day should do the trick. For example, try taking a jog during your lunch hour or completing a 30-minute full-body workout in your office.
Step 4: Tell Your Boss “No”
Are we mad? Well, not really. Defying your boss when it comes to your everyday work responsibilities is probably a bad idea, but telling your boss “no” when they ask too much of you, fail to value your time, and overstep into your personal life is key to managing your stress (and becoming a well-respected member of the team).
When you’re striking these boundaries, be sure to do so in a respectful manner that attempts to help the company as a whole.
Step 5: Relax
Is it easy? Not really. However, you must strive to actively relax on a daily basis. Remember: simply not working is not relaxing. Go have a beer with the team. Read a book in the bath. Take a two-day jaunt to the woods. Whatever helps you relax should be prioritized.
Forgoing the things you love to get ahead at work will be counterproductive in the end, as your stress will overtake you and prevent you from achieving your goals.
No amount of skill, experience, or good fortune will help you advance in your profession if excessive, unhealthy stress is holding you back. Resolve to reduce it today and you’ll be rewarded with better health, better work performance, and increased overall happiness.
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