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15 Ways Leaders Can Take Stock When Feeling Stressed at Work

Stress at work can quietly build, catching you off guard. Here are some ways to take a step back and gain a better perspective on what you're feeling.

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Working as a leader in a business is often a rewarding experience. You get to test your own limits and go after opportunities that align with your values, not to mention you get to see direct results from your actions. Yet, all of that forward motion is largely built on self-propulsion, as well as the ability to motivate others.

Over time, the daily wear-and-tear of running a business can lead to feeling stressed or down. So, what’s a leader to do during the instances where the self that usually motivates is instead feeling down? Below, 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer their best methods of getting out of a slump.

1. Revisit Your Long-Term Goals

When I’m stressed or feeling negative, it’s usually because I’m focused on some immediate problem. Sometimes it’s good to take a break with a walk, music, exercise or to talk to a friend. If it’s work-related, it’s also helpful to look at the bigger picture. If I remember my long-term vision and why I’m doing everything, challenges are easier to handle.

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

2. Get Out and Get Active

Walk away from the work desk and get active. Work out every day, whether it’s out in nature or inside a gym. Exercising for 30 minutes increases the levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These hormones help in reducing stress levels and lift up your spirits. Pushing yourself physically would also result in pushing yourself intellectually and keep you motivated.

Rahul Varshneya, Arkenea

3. Remember Other Challenging Times

Remember a time when you thought you couldn’t get through the day or a project and the feeling you had when you accomplished it and then let that drive you when you are feeling stressed out or down. Good days and bad days come, and go but people are stronger than they think and can overcome many challenges.

Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

4. Take Time Outside Work

We will all feel burnt out or down at some point as entrepreneurs, so spending time outside of work with friends and family is a great way to get through that slump. Time with people we like and care about and away from work can help us get inspired to get back into the game.

Kristin Kimberly Marquet, FemFounder

5. Think About Your Legacy

I’ve been a very ambitious person ever since I can remember. However, it is simply impossible to stay motivated and inspired at all times. When I’m feeling down, I simply think about all the people counting on me (my family, my friends, my followers). It isn’t about the money. It is all about the legacy I’m building and the impact I’m making. Providing value and inspiring is what I strive for.

Fritz Colcol, ABN Circle

6. Question Your Fears

Odds are, whatever is stressing you out or getting you down has to do with some fear of the future (e.g., “what’s happening now will cause X or Y”), but how many times has that worst fear come true? Revisit your metrics by looking for positive outcomes from your current set of data — not just negative outcomes, such as “What’s the best that can come from this?”

Sam Saxton, Paragon Stairs

7. Remember Your Accomplishments

One thing I do to inspire and energize myself when I’m stressed or down is to write down a short list of major accomplishments. What are the things in life I’m the most proud of? What are the times I did something I never thought possible or that my childhood-self only dreamed of? That tends to put things in perspective and help me realize how much I’ve achieved.

Ryan D Matzner, Fueled

8. Listen to Inspiring Music

Many of us have playlists for the gym, so why not have a playlist for when you’re feeling down? Think of music that inspires you and makes you want to win, then create a playlist that you can listen to when you’re not feeling your best.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

9. Write a Gratitude List

If you’re feeling stressed or down, take a moment and write a list of everything you’re grateful for in your life at that moment. Sometimes it can be hard to see the good during hard times but when you can look at a list of great things in your life like family, your pets, job security, etc., it can make you see your life in a different way.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

10. Imagine a Best-Case/Worst-Case Scenario

An excellent method for self-motivation involves charting your future. Imagine where your life and career will be in the next six months to a year. Picture the best-case scenario, where you accomplish everything you wanted, and the worst-case scenario where everything goes wrong. This serves not only as effective positive motivation but also provides a tangible picture of negative consequences.

Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

11. Regain Perspective

Even the most cheerful among us are bound to get down, as it is impossible to be happy all of the time. When you are feeling down, try to take a step back and regain as objective a perspective as you can. What you will likely realize is that you don’t have it that bad, and in fact, in the grand scheme, you should be happier than you are sad. To snap yourself out of a funk, regain perspective.

Adam Mendler, Beverly Hills Chairs

12. Take a Break for Something You Enjoy

If work is getting you stressed and making you feel down, make sure to take a break in your day for something you enjoy. Getting up, going to work, coming home and going to bed will put you in a slump that seems never-ending, so carve out an hour of your day to do something that brings you joy. It could be exercising, reading a book, watching a movie, whatever, just make time to recharge.

– Blair Williams, MemberPress

13. Take In a Stand-Up Comedy Show

Whether live or streaming, taking an hour or so away from your current situation to force yourself into an environment that promotes humor and laughter helps encourage your mind to react to something differently than how it is currently operating. While problems don’t go away, being able to return to the table with a different perception or mental state can allow for a sense of clarity.

Brian Greenberg, Life Insurance Quotes

14. Practice Meditation

Meditation has helped to ease my stress, calm my thoughts, and relax me overall. This reduction of stress has led to me free up time and creative energy that previously felt blocked.

Mark Krassner, Expectful

15. Reflect on Your Resilience and Resourcefulness

Whenever I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I take a moment to remind myself that I am resilient and resourceful. I try to get myself in a better headspace so I can make decisions from a stronger place. If reflection is challenging, I head to the gym and make sure to get enough sleep. Personal health, both mentally and physically, is always a priority.

Rachel Beider, Massage Outpost

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

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