How Barbara Cudak Minimizes Stress by Setting Boundaries

The Customer Success Manager on why it’s OK to say no.

When working from home, it can be easy to let work and home time blend together, so I’ve been practicing a few habits when I need to recharge. First, I set my iPhone and computer to turn off work-related notifications and alerts to indicate the end of my workday at 5:30 p.m. After that, I allow myself a one-minute worry session where I release and let go of items that must wait until tomorrow. I “commute home” by leaving my desk and going to the kitchen to make dinner. The process of cooking a meal replaces my commute and allows me to switch gears.

Because we have a west coast team, I do allow myself 30 minutes (or less) to check messages around 7:30 p.m. This helps me avoid ruminating over “what if” issues that could have come in since logging off; this quick check-in helps reduce my stress. I give myself another minute to release and let go of items that must wait until tomorrow, and after that I do something with my husband or kids. Usually we watch one of our favorite T.V. shows. During the holidays we may bake, decorate, or even play a game.

I think that if you want to avoid burnout and work-related stress, you must be able to set boundaries. Saying no or “not right now” is not a phrase that equates to failure or lack of commitment to a team or a company. It is a valid strategy to manage your time and priorities.  Ask for help from your manager or teammates. Choose to only work on your top priorities so you don’t overcommit and burn out by working too many hours for too long.

For me, my joy triggers are my horses. Their herd mentality and their ability to be present grounds me every day. I have a “Be Present and Breathe” rock that I sit on to watch my horses, listen to the birds, and embrace the moment. I find that within minutes I can reset and relax regardless of how stressed I am when I get there.

I love my Thrive app, Thrive’s educational sessions, and the tools offered to help me grow in my self-development. Thrive has been a real game changer for me. I absolutely loved the session on biotypes, learning my stress behaviors, and how to improve my response to stress. It is one of the most valuable events I’ve attended and helped me understand myself better. I use the Microsteps every day — especially writing down my top three tasks to get done and practicing gratitude. I love the way it gives me the ability to focus. Often I complete more than my top three tasks because I don’t spin in circles trying to decide what to do first!

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