A lot has been said about mental health lately and now is the time to get involved in the conversation about stress and anxiety whether it’s reaching out to someone or educating yourself online. For some, it’s an underlying presence lurking all year round for others it’s a gradual build-up brought on by specific triggers, like work deadlines, lack of sleep, or even certain people in toxic environments. Fortunately, with some healthier habits and practical and emotional support systems in place it can be managed. Here’s some stress busting advice specifically for professionals to keep those nerves in check.
It sounds far too simple but everything you put into your body (and mind) plays role so if your idea of staying hydrated is drinking 7 cups of coffee a day, then honey, you're doing it wrong. While the short term benefits may make you feel like you are on top form, you'll be left feeling jittery and have even lower energy when the effects wear off which will leave you reaching for… yet another cup of coffee. Water or herbal tea is a great alternative which will regulate your system and keep you authentically alert. However, if coffee is your life and you absolutely cannot do without it, strike a balance by drinking your last cup before 3pm.
A little bit of restlessness the night before a major pitch is understandable. Even at worst case scenario, the body is amazingly well equipped to naturally deal with sleep deprivation for a night or even three but if you’re constantly having to combat the effects of little to no sleep then consider using a meditation app like Headspace – it’s not just for hippies - and will change your life as it has done for me. If you want to perform at your peak it really comes down to cause and effect. What you invest is what you’ll get out. Alternatively switch your mind off with a good distraction like a book, some chill time with friends who will help put things into perspective or a nice relaxing bath (unless you’re in Cape Town then maybe pass on the bath).
Often stress can be brought on by a feeling of lack of control. There are a variety of innovative apps on the market which can assist in helping manage daily tasks. Something as simple as a virtual assistant can make your workload easier. These are my top 7 apps for managing mental health. If you prefer the natural remedy route, consider adding lavender oil to your daily bedtime routine like a couple of drops on your pillow. Lavender oil has calming properties and is also said to assist with insomnia, stress and anxiety.
Speak to a friend
Too many overworked executives underestimate the power of taking the time to connect. It may feel like even though you’re making loads of money you’ve lost sight of why you’re doing it in the first place or time is so limited that you can’t even enjoy spending the fruits of your labour and it’s just a relentless cycle of moving from one point to the next. Through connecting even on a weekly basis and by discussing shared experiences, stress can be converted into renewed excitement and help you realise that you’re not alone when faced with a challenge.
Reach out to a professional
If at any point the pressure feels like it’s getting too much or if you have a negative feeling you just can’t shake, remember that although pain might be the touchstone for growth and occasionally it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, only you know what’s normal for yourself and what isn’t so don’t hesitate to reach out to a medical professional because like any bad physical feeling, the brain is a body part too and needs to be taken care of to remain functioning at its peak.
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