Life is just plain stressful. Whether it’s your workload, conflicts among direct reports, problems at home, stress can feel like it’s all around.
When one is stressed out, they can get overwhelmed in crisis situations and fail to identify the core issues of a problem. The consequence of poor coping skills will invariably lead to lost opportunities to be effective. An inability to cope with stress will not only cause personal unhappiness, it can also make you ineffective as a leader.
A common misconception is when one has a ton of work to take on, they will simply work continuously for an extended amount of hours. However, when you work like that, it actually does impact your performance. You then become burned out, tired and feel achy.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this will not only impact your day-to-day productivity, this can impact who you are as a person.
Alright, there’s no easy fix to beating stress. First, you should acknowledge that you are not really in control of much that happens, as much as you would like to be, and you do not need to be in control of all situations. Realize that maintaining control in an environment of rapid change is different from maintaining control in a static situation.
Another easy fix to beat stress? Take a nap at work.
Yes, we are aware that seems to be an odd solution, but research shows that a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness, and performance, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
If you don’t think you have time to a nap, some famous afternoon nappers include: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison. I would say those men were pretty busy at their jobs, wouldn’t you?
It is possible to nap during the workday. Simply schedule a time, say between 12 and 3 p.m., and nap at the very least about 10 minutes, but not more than 40 minutes. If you have your own office, put up a do not disturb sign on your door. If you don’t have an office, try to find a quiet place somewhere in the workplace.
Three benefits of napping, according to the National Sleep Foundation:
- Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
- Naps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
- Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.
Even if you can’t fall right asleep, even just taking a break will help you relax. Try these stress reducing techniques: learn and apply deep breathing when you are stressed; take a break to listen to relaxation music; go for a walk outside; exercise regularly; eat regular meals.
The key takeaway is to make sure you take a break during the workday that doesn’t involve any type of technology. Just simply stepping away from all of that and having a moment to yourself might give you the energy to recharge and relax.