How to deal with stress as a leader

Basic strategies to cope with stress in a management or leadership role

Most leaders and managers live high-paced and stressful lives. The level of responsibility, influence and stress creates abnormal circumstances that the rest of society don’t experience at work. In this article we will look at the effects of stress and how to deal with stress as a leader.

What are the negative effects of stress for leaders? 

First, let’s look at what causes stress for people in management roles, what types of emotions and and their implications leaders need to deal with. The abnormally challenging circumstances in which managers live may cause:

  • Loneliness
  • Overwhelm 
  • Anxiety 
  • Addictions
  • Risk of depression 
  • Burnout 
  • Fall of personal connections
  • Fall of marriage
  • Loss of creativity
  • Sleep problems
  • Other physical and mental health issues

Obviously, some of the above mentioned are the skills necessary to be a good leader, so it’s easy to enter a downward spiral of problems. It may become a vicious circle, so there’s a lot to fight against as a leader. Additionally, the higher you get, the more pressure you have to come with.

Mountains - leadership stress management for top performance

How to deal with stress as a leader?

To maintain your top performance and good health you need to find ways to alleviate the stress and pressure you experience. 

How to cope with stress in healthy ways

4 things to alleviate the stress in your life:
  1. Friends

    Have a friends circle – people who know you outside of work. Meet them weekly, or at least two – – three times a month. It’s important to have social contact other than the work relationships. If you have such, your problems with work relationships become smaller and you have other things going on to take your mind off work. 

  2. Exercise

    Regular exercise lowers your stress levels and has many health benefits. You will find more information on how exercise lowers the stress levels here. 

  3. Personal time

    Allocate time in your calendar for self-care or the ‘me time’. 

  4. Deal with the emotional baggage

    Don’t sweep under the carpet your emotional baggage.
    How to deal with emotional baggage? To overcome negative or too intense emotions you can take the following steps:

    1. Identify and name your emotions
    2. Rank their strength (1 – 10)
    3. Identify where they are located in your body
    4. Offload by sharing with someone or writing

Your stress goes down just by naming your emotions and getting clarity on what’s going on inside you. As with everything else, paying attention to the problem, already brings you closer to the solution. 

Conclusion

Summarising, it is crucial to be aware of what are the consequences of living a high-pressure life and taking action to alleviate the stress. Unresolved emotional problems can destroy your life, that’s why it is crucial to maintain good mental hygiene. 

How do you deal with stress as a leader? Can you share more healthy ways to cope with stress?

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