The Tiny but Powerful Strategy Alison Cupito Uses to Course-Correct When She Gets Stressed

In her Thrive Questionnaire, Accenture's Global Mental Health Program Lead says the smallest pause can help you recharge when you feel overwhelmed.

At Thrive Global, in honor of International Women’s Day, we’re inviting women business leaders to share how they Thrive. 

Thrive Global: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about prioritizing your health and well-being?

Alison Cupito: “You are always going to have a lot of different balls up in the air, things you are juggling, balancing and taking care of. Never let your health or your family drop. Those come first, always.”

TG: What’s the best advice that you would give women about preventing burnout?

AC: Ask for help. We believe as women that we have to be perfect, be strong, do it all with a smile and accept little appreciation. This is not true. We are only human at our core and it’s not weak to ask for help, it’s a sign of strength. The only thing we have to do as women, and human beings is to lift each other up, always. 

TG: What obstacles have you overcome in your career, particularly obstacles that had to do with your gender? What did you learn from those experiences that you wish you’d known before?

AC: It’s not really gender related, but a huge obstacle I overcame was opening up. I spent 15 years battling a severe anxiety disorder and I had no idea that THAT was what was happening to me. I ignored it, hid it, self-medicated it. And the older I got, the more I realized cannot be the only one. Sharing this with a colleague at work (and close friends and family) was the most important thing I ever did. My company embraced it and supported me to get help I needed, and now I’m paying that forward every day. 

TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?
AC: It’s easy to look at the top of the mountain and be overwhelmed, but instead of looking up, take a moment to look around, and right in front of you. Tackle what you can, one step at a time. Save the rest for another day. Break that mountain into small rocks and whittle each one down, slowly.

TG: When you notice you’re getting too stressed, what do you do to course correct?

AC: I step away! I literally step away from my computer. If I’m at the office, I’ll go for a walk or have a coffee to chat with a friend. If at home, I love to go tidy up something, like wash dishes or put away laundry or walk the dog. Just step away. It will all be there when you get back. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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