Dealing with stress in your life – how to keep a high pace and not burning out

Time Stress Management

Dealing with stress in your life – how to keep a high pace and not burning out

As already mentioned in my previous blog about work-life-balance, today a lot of people are struggling to find a good balance between the job and their life at home. To most people it seems like an impossible challenge and something that affects almost all of us today.

A lot of people are feeling stressed, talking about their huge workload and some are actually getting sick from stress and are forced to staying at home or even in hospital to treat the stress symptoms.

First of all, I would like to state that this article is about preventing stress through a healthy (physical and mental) life style and then avoiding getting really sick. It is not my intention to advice or guide people that are suffering from stress related mental issues like anxiety or people that are currently ill.

Stress Management

A lot of articles have been written about stress management. Some are of course good and relevant, but I think that a lot of them are complicating the issue.

According to me it is not about the amount of things you have to do and the workload – it is about taking control.

I will describe a little bit about myself, how I am handling stress and what I think you should be aware of when dealing with stress.

I am a person that is always busy, always trying to keep up with tight deadlines. Besides working full time and more, I am married, enjoy spending time with family and friends and also like training to become a faster triathlete.

This has made me think a lot about how I can get the best work-life- and also study balance and of course avoid being physically stressed.

Time Management and stress management is something that I have been struggling a lot with.

In the morning I usually do not workout, maybe only a nice and easy morning jog, but after leaving the office I am always having at least one sport session.

2-3 days during the week it is two sessions a day and often swimming and running.

Be the warrior that takes control

My job is, maybe like yours, not always a typical “8-16 job” with the ability to leave at 16.00.

I am often finishing tasks, having meetings and sometimes different discussions before I can leave the office each day.

I really enjoy it though; I enjoy the fact that I can help people at the office and generally at the company. I like to create things and optimize procedures and I generally like being a leader and affecting people the right way. So I do not see it as a problem that my daily routines are affected by my job.

First of all my job is my main priority and what puts food on the table so I am always willing to skip a training session if I have to. But I have never done it. I have always managed to “get the job done” after the ordinary working hours.

I am always trying to push the pace in my life and be the warrior that takes control. So a lot of times I have gotten home late, spent time with my wife and after that done my sport sessions.

This means that sometimes I am not able to run fast because my stomach is full, but that day I have talked to my wife and I am outside running and clearing me head.

As already described in my previous articles, I am “cooling of” and taking a mental break when I do sports.

The 3 high-level stress areas

I am not going to spend time clarifying what stress is and how it physical is affecting your body with a lot of irrelevant medical descriptions of various hormones. The medical part of it I will leave to the doctors of medicine.

Instead I will jump to conclusions and let you know how I am handling stress and give you my overall recommendations described in the 3 levels below that are also linked to my work-life-balance.

Level 1. Fight back and take control – the mental aspect

Be a machine and release your “inner warrior” – do not let anyone push you around. Always try to be one step a head.

That sounds so easy – and it is not! In fact it is extremely difficult not to get pushed around and letting other people (your boss/customers etc.) decide for you.

When your boss tells you to do a hard task (often a few hours before going home), you can either get sad, start feeling stressed or you could tell him/her to do it yourself! That might not be the best solution though.

Instead you could ask yourself why your boss asked you to do it? – It might be because your boss thinks your are the office champion that always gets the job done.

Maybe that is a good thing. At least you could think of it as a good thing, start finding your inner warrior and solve the task like a champion. Then your mental aspect will change and you will not feel used by your boss – you will feel like a warrior fighting an important battle for the company because you are the office champion!

Always try to manage any unpleasant situation like a warrior and never like a victim. That goes for everything in your life.

 Level 2. Using Time Management and getting structured.

Privately

Be extremely present in your spare time – it is the most important thing in your life that you are getting the most out of the time with your loved ones.

Even if you only have a few hours a week with your beloved ones, make these hours count and stop thinking of all the things that you would like to have done with them.

Get very structured, consistent in studying and waist no time waiting and doing things that makes you unhappy (at least in your spare time). Do not only be a machine – be a time machine using the time you have available as effective as possible. Go to bed each day evaluating if you have used the time properly and done something you loved.

Outsource everything at home and do not worry about the small things – nothing but focus on the important things when you are off. It might cost you a little to get someone to clean your home, do your grocery and what not, but it will leave you will valuable time to spend with your loved ones or like myself – time to train a lot and still have time for social obligations.

Learn to accept that being selfish is perfectly ok sometimes. Do what you love in your spare time and prioritize things that you like and people that you love.

Be true to yourself and learn to say no.

At the office

Earn your respect by being a helper. If you are a helper and less selfish in your company your co-workers will give you so much more.

Be structured and time your tasks. Finding out what really needs to be done this day and accept that some of the things that suddenly comes flying in from the side might have to wait. Of course these emergency tasks might be extremely important and might suddenly get a first priority.

Try to learn to love your job. By learning to love your job, you also need to learn to love you self and your capabilities. You need to obtain a certain emotional resilience and learn to say no. Just like at level #1.

Level 3. Live a healthy life your own way – strong as a warrior

A life without some wine, candy, cakes or whatever you enjoy, would be a life without joy for a lot of people.

Personally I eat at least half a kilo of candy each week and do not give a damn about how much I eat in general.

To some extend I eat like a kid and my body age is still 17 years of age (I am 35 years old). I might have a few rules though; I do not drink more than maximum 2-3 glasses of wine and only once a week, I get the amount of sleep I need, I am always hydrated and I am physically active at least 10 hours+ a week.

If I ate like the perfect triathlete with no candy and maybe 0 glasses of wine, then I might be a little faster (seconds I think), but not feeling the proper balance in my life.

You need to find your health balance and make your health rules. Ask yourself questions about your weekly “sport volume” and “cake volume”- again, be a machine; you know what is right and wrong.

That said I still think that it is important to push your self physically getting out of the comfort zone from time to time and feel some pain. Pain (this way) is good because it will make you learn to control your body. It is important to be in good shape and 3 hours of physical activity a week is a minimum.

Yoga and other mental related exercises are great and something that would be good for all of us, but you could easily get the same output from a running sessions or a tennis match.

It is about learning to control your body.

Summary

Stress affects almost all of us today. A lot of people are feeling stressed, talking about their huge workload and some are actually getting sick from stress and forced to staying at home or even in hospital to treat the stress symptoms.

The main findings below summarises the article and my recommendations

Fight back and take control – the mental aspect

Always try to manage any unpleasant situation like a warrior and never like a victim. That goes for everything in your life.

Be grateful about your life and the things and beloved ones you have around you.

Using Time Management and getting structured.

Be extremely present in your spare time – it is the most important thing in your life that you are getting the most out of the time with your loved ones.

Be structured and time your tasks. Finding out what really needs to be done this day and accept that some of the things that suddenly comes flying in from the side might have to wait. Of course these emergency tasks might be extremely important and might suddenly get a first priority.

Live a healthy life your own way – strong as a warrior

The main problem might be the mental aspect, but you will be able to get more in control, if you are strong and physical healthy.

Find your health balance and make your rules. It is important to push your self physically getting out of the comfort zone from time to time and feel some pain. It is important to be in good shape and 3 hours of physical activity a week is a minimum.

Yoga and other mental related exercises are great and something that would be good for all of us, but you could easily get the same output from a running sessions or a tennis match. It is about controlling your body.

As mentioned earlier these “findings” are of course based on my personal point of view and based on my own values, but I hope that you are able to use some of my points of view in your own life.

In my next blog I will describe how to write an MBA dissertation.

Stay tuned.

Af: Oliver Bendix Nygaard

Oliver Bendix Nygaard

Oliver Bendix Nygaard

Oliver Bendix Nygaard

Oliver Bendix Nygaard

Oliver Bendix Nygaard is Business Development Manager at Flügger A/S. He recently graduated from Henley Business School with an Executive MBA, and has been involved in Sales and Business Development since 2003. Prior to his working life, and going along, Oliver has studied at CBS, Copenhagen Business College and obtained various academic courses at Oxford University and other educational institutions. Oliver is blogging about his experiences with studying an MBA at Henley Business School. He describes his reflections about participating in a study group, studying in Denmark and UK, learning from and with others as well as he provides tricks and tips to finding a somehow proper balance between the MBA, a full time job, training and a family. Write to Oliver at mail@olivernygaard.com For more on Oliver Bendix Nygaard, see: Link til blogpost

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