In this day and age, avoiding stress is virtually impossible, which is why we’ve come to think of it as a modern epidemic. We all have to deal with a certain amount of stress in our lives. Some are better at keeping it at bay, while others have a more difficult time fighting it. However, very few of us are subjected to high levels of stress on a daily basis. One category of people that have to deal with a lot more stress than the general population is represented by leaders.
Unlike the average Joe, leaders have a large amount of responsibility on their plate. They have to work hard every day to motivate, instruct and inspire the people around them, so they carry a great burden on their shoulders. You might think that’s exactly what a leader needs to thrive: action and adrenaline. And while this might be partly true, they also need coping mechanisms to keep them going.
Leaders aren’t robots that can check off tasks on a to-do list relentlessly. Even if some might have more energy than others, they’re also human, and they get tired and exhausted just like everyone else. And, just like any other mortal on the planet, in order to function and perform their activities at the highest standards, they need to take a break from their stressful lives from time to time and make room for self-care and relaxation.
So, if you’re on your way to becoming a leader and you’re wondering what other leaders do when they feel the need to take the edge off, here are some strategies that seem to do the trick.
Juggling multiple tasks and being so busy all the time means there’s a lot of drama and noise around you, and that can stop you from thinking or acting with clarity. So, what do leaders do to block the noise and put things back into focus? They meditate.
Mediation is an ancient practice used by people all across the world to reduce stress and induce a sense of calmness and clarity. It implies using certain techniques, such as mindfulness or focusing on a certain object, to observe the stream of your thoughts, train attention and restore emotional balance. So, when you need to give yourself a mental reset and step away from the things that are stressing you out, mediation is a good place to start.
Stillness is not for everyone. While some find their peace by doing nothing at all, others need movement to relax and get their mind off things. Leaders are usually active people that feel the need to move around a lot, so if mediation is not your cup of tea, exercising might be.
Everyone should exercise regularly, as it can significantly reduce the risk of developing certain health conditions and improve your overall health. But physical activity can be particularly helpful when your stress levels are high and nothing seems to help you get it back into the normal range. So, put your running shoes on or get a gym subscription and start working out as often as possible.
Leaders are also known as being extroverts, but that’s not always the case. Even if they enjoy communicating and being surrounded by people all the time, most often than not their interactions are limited to discussions on work matters and their professional activity. As a leader, you have to know that not everything in your life has to revolve around work.
So, what do leaders do to get out of their comfort zone and do something different for a change? Businessmen and the political elite use escorts when they want to meet new people and have some fun. They also join clubs or associations, depending on their interests and hobbies, so they can meet like-minded people and talk about something other than work. It’s worth making an effort to socialize with people outside your direct area of activity if you want to reduce stress levels.
Switching things up
You might think that the life of a leader is filled with excitement and thrill. But that’s the glamorized version people see from the outside. In reality, their life is not made of one major event after another. If it were like that, they’d have no time to actually work and achieve their goals. The simple truth is that they spend most of their time dealing with routine tasks, which ultimately contributes to the stress they experience.
So, the obvious solution to get some relief from the daily grind is to switch things up a bit. What does that mean? Instead of focusing on the same tasks over and over again, you can turn your attention to something different. For example, you can put your to-do list aside for a moment, and run a personal errand. That can help you get a much-needed mental break, so you can step back into work with more energy.
Change of scenery
Most leaders are always confined between the four walls of their office, and when they do go out it’s to travel from one meeting to another. That means they don’t get many chances to enjoy nature or any of the wonders that surround us. If you want to be a productive and healthy leader, make sure to break your routine with short nature trips.
Every once in a while, you should make time to step outside of the office, and spend some time in nature, whether that means taking a walk in the park or going on a quick country escape. There’s nothing like a change of scenery to help put things into perspective and prevent stress from taking over your life.
Managing stress effectively is a must-have skill that can lead you on the path to success as a leader, so keep these tips in mind and put them into practice when need be.