At work John often felt he wasn’t doing enough if he wasn’t overloaded and “busy”.
Constantly multitasking and racing to keep ahead of deadlines he wondered why he felt so stressed when others around him seemed to be accomplishing all of this and more. They didn’t seem to be stressed, they appeared calm, driving themselves to achieve. So, like many of us John felt the need to work harder, to prove he could keep up with the ever-increasing demands of the workplace.
As he did so he realized that he was spending little time away from work and with those he cared about. Suddenly there was added pressure to achieve balance, to do everything and be everything to everyone. His energy and motivation decreased, and he went home at the end of the day feeling exhausted. He was irritable with his family and no longer enjoyed going out with friends, even work interested him less than it had. He found that his mind wandered in meetings and although he had always been known as a decisive leader he found decisions harder to reach. There was a sense of anxiety in everything he did.
John was suffering from burnout but how many of us have experiences like this to a greater or lesser extent? Do we recognize the early stages of stress or do we label it a challenge or just everyday life, something we need to deal with?
Everyone experiences stress, but it often goes unacknowledged. It is accepted as the new normal, and the harmful consequences it has on our lives and health are ignored. But stress is not a weakness or a failure, it is a byproduct of a human brain that is not evolved for dealing with the stressors of the modern world and workplace. It affects our health, energy, memory and ability to make decisions and enjoy life. Unaddressed it is the starting point of burnout.
Although it is rarely the reason executives come to me for coaching, I find that stress is an issue for nearly everyone I work with. While simple techniques to manage stress are interesting to learn about, nothing changes unless you are willing to explore the underlying reasons for your personal stress and commit to implementing change.
To overcome stress you need to take time for yourself and implement some healthy practices. At a simple level addressing diet, exercise and sleep patterns can make a world of difference. At a deeper level it is important to increase your self-awareness and take notice of what your personal triggers for stress are. How do you respond emotionally to stress? This is different for everyone and the solutions and actions you need to adopt will therefore not be a one size fits all approach. Take notice of your thoughts, your physical responses and your behavior and attitude in moments of stress and you will be well on your way to uncovering your personal solutions.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Kate Price is an Executive Coach and Organizational Development Consultant with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She has 20 years’ experience working with individuals, groups and organizations enabling them to overcome difficulties and develop skills in life and leadership. Contact her at [email protected] or visit www.drkateprice.com
In April 2018 I am offering the opportunity to join a small group in Indianapolis exploring the emotions and stress that you experience in your life. Over four months you will be enabled to develop personalized strategies based on neuroscience and behavioral psychology that will allow you to overcome challenging situations throughout your life.
If you feel that it is time to take back control of your emotions and stress levels, then follow the link below and join us in Downtown Indianapolis
If you are not in Indianapolis or want to implement something similar in your organization please email me for customized solutions.