According to a survey by leadership development company Lee Hecht Harrison in 2016, nearly 7 in 10 business leaders are struggling with stress and managing their emotions in the workplace.
There are several key ways that leaders and managers can minimise stress accumulation, potential burnout, and boost their wellbeing:
Tackle stress head-on
Often the initial symptoms and signs of stress are ignored by high-achievers. They are possibly even regarded as ‘part of the territory’ of success in entrepreneurial worlds. Accordingly, treatment is rarely sought early on – partly as the stress is not recognised, partly as it is accepted, and partly as many people think that there is not much that can be done about it.
Signs and symptoms of excessive stress should not be ignored, as they can escalate and become problematic without intervention.
Stress can be tackled head-on by making small but positive changes to your lifestyle. By investing in your own health, you can decrease your chances of burnout and lead a healthier life.
Listen to your body
When under pressure, it is common to ignore seemingly-minor health concerns rather than address them. If you experience prolonged periods of tiredness, a lowered immune system response as shown for example by continued coughs and colds, or just a general feeling of being ‘under the weather’ for a long time period, it could be your body trying to tell you something. Listen to it, and see a healthcare professional, as this may help prevent a minor issue becoming more significant.
Invest your time
Leaders and managers can at times treat clients better than they treat themselves. Investing time into your own wellbeing will ultimately help your clients, as you’ll have more energy to put into your business.
Regard your healthcare appointments as you would any other business meeting with a valued client. Schedule check-ups with your healthcare professionals, commit to them, and act on the appropriate follow-up steps.
Invest in your health
Consider your healthcare and wellbeing costs as an essential expenditure, as you would do a client lunch or networking drinks. Running your own businesses means constant investment – in companies, in people and also, in yourself.
Understand your lifestyle is unique
As a business leader, work days can be highly variable and very long. Weekends can be non-existent. It’s important to understand that you need downtime, particularly in a career that is unique, individual and often unstructured. It can help to find a healthcare provider that helps you to prioritise you own health care needs, when you aren’t putting yourself first.
Be aware of the warning signs
See a healthcare professional if you are experiencing:
1. sleep disruption or change to your sleep patterns
2. feeling tired all the time
3. feeling isolated or disconnected from others
4. body aches or looking or feeling generally unwell
5. smoking or drinking alcohol to excess
6. nagging health concern that you are ignoring
7. feeling anxious or finding it hard to rest or sit still
8. a change in appetite or you are eating an unhealthy diet
9. a change in your weight
Know your worth
In the leadership world, many people define success as when others want to invest in you.
Being healthy can help with this. Feeling well can help inspire confidence in yourself, which in turn, can inspire it in others.
Make sure you put in place simple, practical steps to protect and invest in your greatest asset: yourself.