I was coaching a woman the other day who is from Eastern Europe and current world events are top of mind for her. I noticed she wasn’t her usual energetic self when she came into the room. I asked her how she was and she said she was struggling with how to stay focused on her workload when she felt so stressed for friends and relatives in other parts of the world. By the end of our discussion, to her relief, she had a plan to help her manage her stress going forward.
Planning how to manage and cope in various life situations, and finding out which coping skills work best, is the key to managing stress. This article contains ideas for coping with stress and also acute emotional crises. Here are some ideas for coping with stress:
Understand more about stress
This involves recognizing your sources of stress and how stress affects you personally. My client recognized she was stressed; however, she didn’t grasp the impact that the stress was having on her. She thought it only affected her workload. When we talked through it, she realized that it also impacted her mood and relationships.
What is the problem? Be specific about the problem and break it down into realistic achievable components. For my client, she deduced that her main problem was listening to the news. It was draining her. She had ways to check-in with friends and family, so that wasn’t the problem for her. Her problem was the overwhelming feeling of helplessness she got from listening to the news. Once she realized this, she decided she would prefer to read the news, instead of listen to others tell her the news. This way, she thought, the emotions would be her own and not someone else adding stress and weight to the words.
Develop new behaviors
Try something new to help minimize the stress in your life. My client loves to write; however, she said that when she’s stressed, she gets writer’s block. Right there in the middle of our coaching session, we stopped, set a five-minute timer, and wrote whatever came up. At the end of the five minutes, my client started laughing and I asked what was so funny. She said she made her entire to-do list in that five minutes. She was so preoccupied with other things in her head that she couldn’t move forward on anything. Finally, she had made her list, organized it and new exactly what first step she would take when we ended our meeting.
Create a support network
Deliberately develop good supportive relationships. Ask for help when needed and accept it when offered. As ambitious women, we’ve come to rely on ourselves to do all the things, including carrying the weight of our stress. We shy away from being vulnerable with others and instead of being lifted up during our stressful times, we feel weighed down. With a good support network, we can feel freer and less alone.
Make time to relax and enjoy yourself
How many of us know we should do more of this but don’t make the time? Set aside time each day to relax. Build this into your daily or weekly routine. Develop hobbies and leisure activities that help you to switch off.
Stress is inevitable in our lives; however, it doesn’t have to consume us. Pick one thing to try today to better manage the stress in your life.
Work with me
Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the things right now? If so, I can help. Let’s get a plan together to address the stress so you can thrive as the leader you long to be. Click here to schedule a time to talk.