Almost everyone in any sort of leadership position that I know have some of kind of stress coping strategy, and so should you! Why? Because the few I know who don’t have a strategy, sooner or later struggles with health issues.
Being alone with a responsibility is stressful. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Sometimes you’ll feel very alone – when your work gets called into question, when or if results fail to materialise or goals are unmet.
Plus, if you’re an introvert like me, being in constant contact with people can take its toll.
I have a few stress coping mechanisms: exercise, yoga, meditation, trying to get as much time for myself as I can, for example.
I work in an open office landscape, which I honestly think is the best way for collaborative software development. However, never being able to close a door behind you makes it tough to get the peace and quiet you sometimes need for deep focus, analyse or just have a bit of free association think to figure things out. That in addition to an active family life leaves me with limited opportunity for alone time, which for an introvert can be crucial.
So sometimes I escape the office. My home is only a five minute drive away, so I go home to have a quiet lunch by myself. I might even work from home for a couple of hours before heading back to the office – where I might have to dive into meetings or just be open to interruptions constantly. If your home isn’t as close, try heading to the public library, or just some off and away corner of your office building.
Learning about mindfulness is a good technique, because it trains you to feel the stress coming. Being mindful doesn’t have to mean wearing flowers in your hair and be all mellow, man. It means being able to stop every once in a while to check in with the state of your mind and body, being able to detect stress early. If you feel it coming, you can be proactive about it so it doesn’t get to you and wears you down.
Never forget, as a coach, one of your main functions is to bring energy and a positive vibe. That’s an impossibility if you’re stressed out.
Learn your stress, and make sure to plan time for wind down and thought processing – yes, wind down should be part of your work day.