Updated 10/8/23; Originally posted 10/30/21
You just landed that promotion you really wanted – Woohoo! You are likely headed to more money, greater responsibility, longer working hours, increased decision making power, and additional people to supervise. You will need to work harder at managing work stress on a daily basis. You want to work hard but you don’t want to suck the joy out of life or reduce your own vitality.
That’s what happened to Ellie (name changed to protect the innocent). Ellie moved up in her company to start a new project and guide a group of employees that were new to working together. She knew her plate would be full but wow the pitfalls were just as deep as she feared! Stress reared its ugly head and she started sleeping poorly, feeling jittery all day, experiencing difficulty shifting her thoughts away from work, and began feeling like she was failing at her new endeavor. Ellie decided her wellness needed to receive a higher priority.
Ellie came to me for help and together we found a selection of tips and techniques that worked for her. She opted into the DIY version of my Wellness Roadmap and was happy to experiment with adding new wellness habits. She kept the stress relieving actions that worked for her as part of her new wellness oriented lifestyle. Read on for the Wellness Lifestyle tips that Ellie used and see which ones work for you! If you want guidance in making adjustments to your own wellness practices, let’s talk!
Stress Relieving Tip #1 : Add a tiny calming element to your office
When working from home during the pandemic, Ellie had thrown together a home office area. During a stressful day, I often encourage stepping away for mental resets via actions like a brief walk, a bit of sunshine on your face, or a small snack. It is hard enough to keep work and home separate for many of us, but Ellie was spending every minute of her work hours in her home office in order to get everything done and be present for her team.
I encouraged her to add something to her office that would help her take a quick mental reset. We talked about possibilities that might work for her and she settled on a bell. She chose one whose sound she loved and that she could keep away from her dog. Now, any time she needs a reset she can walk over to the bell, ring it just once, immerse in the pleasure of its sound, and shift her mind to a place of beauty to relieve her stress.
Stress Relieving Tip #2 : Add movement to your time off
Work days are busy and so are the hours you are not working! Movement is an important stress reliever which all too often takes a back seat when time is short. For some people, fitting exercise or physical activity into your non-working hours is only possible when you can combine it with something else important to you. Some examples:
- Meet up with a friend – skip sitting with a coffee or meal and take a walk together instead
- Join your family outside – get creative and take a nature hike, play a game, or go on a bike ride
- Work in the garden – pulling weeds, splitting plants, stirring a compost pile are all good physical work!
- Exercise when your family does – skip sitting at your kid’s soccer game and walk around the field or parking lot instead
- Join wellness oriented friends for a group movement class with me to guide you!
- Use one of my short movement videos in your Zen Anytime Online Membership while you are waiting for the oven timer to go off with a yummy dinner!
Stress Relieving Tip #3 : Make time for you
This is your encouragement you to do something important for yourself. You can recruit helpers. You can stay in or go out. You can do nothing or be creative and active. You can do something small or a part of a bigger project (that is not stressful!). Ellie chose to commit to 2 things for herself: a weekly private yoga session with me and to not work on the weekends.
For her, it was ok to be racing to arrive at yoga as long as she didn’t cancel. It was ok to work longer hours in order to avoid working on the weekend and still meet her deadline. Her “Me Time” was an honored protected time – blocked on her calendar and worthy of rescheduling other offers and appointments.
Stress Relieving Tip #4 : Celebrate your successes
When your job involves managing a team of people, it can be hard to detangle accomplishments of your team from those of yourself. Particularly if you are not feeling much success yet. I suggested to Ellie that she grow her self compassion and self appreciation by increasing her practice of ahimsa (non-violence). Ellie was telling herself (in her mind) that she was not good enough, smart enough, etc. which was harmful. She needed ahimsa practice tools.
Shifting to more positive thinking is hard, so we discussed simple actions which Ellie could do at the end of each work day. She settled on putting a sticky note up on her wall with something she did right that day. More than one note was allowed! The notes were to stay up as long as she desired as a visual reminder of her daily successes.
Stress Relieving Tip #5 : Honor your circadian rhythm and get good sleep!
Ellie’s team jumped eagerly into work at 7 am while Ellie preferred to start her working hours at 8:30 or 9 am. As long as everyone gets good sleep and good work done, who cares right? The problem was that Ellie needed to check in with her team each morning in order to best guide the focus of her team as they worked together to weave their magic to create something new. It was inefficient to ask her team to wait for her to begin at her preferred time. Trying to rush her morning to be available to them earlier was not putting Ellie at her best for work. Ack!
Part of the morning wake up issue was Ellie’s low quality sleep. She would wake multiple times in the last few hours of being in bed so those hours were not yielding good sleep. We discussed her cortisol and melatonin levels for optimal sleep. She made some adjustments to her physical and mental activity in the evening. She shifted her meditation timing to help her settle her mind for better sleep and to help her fall back asleep.
Getting better sleep made a world of difference to how her morning started and she saw improvement in her work performance and ability to support her team. Yay for good sleep!