Pressure is a part of every day, whether it is a small, ordinary inconvenience or an overwhelming personal or professional burden that stretches over weeks, months and perhaps years.
Mostly, only a small part of life is dictated by what happens to you, the vast majority of life is dictated by how you handle what happens to you. This principle also applies to pressure; it is inevitable, so its impact is dictated by how you react to it. So, here are five healthy, productive ways to respond to pressure:
If you are confronted with a major source of pressure: a project, a personal crisis, etc., instead of thinking about the entire situation and getting overwhelmed, immediately start to break things down into steps, and determine what needs to be done right now and what can wait. Then determine what needs to be done first, second and third. Breaking up a larger situation into smaller tasks will make an overwhelming situation feasible, and as you check these things off of your to-do list you will gain composure and get a handle on things.
Foster Healthy Responses
When we are stressed and overwhelmed it is easy to fall into bad habits: eating and drinking unhealthy things, consuming too much caffeine, not sleeping, not exercising, generally not taking care of ourselves at all. It is easy to rationalize these habits when you’re stressed, but taking care of yourself when you’re under pressure actually gives you more energy and helps you focus. Make sure you’re eating fresh, healthy food like lean proteins, vegetables and healthy carbs, drinking lots of water and setting aside some time to exercise. Taking some time to meditate at the beginning and end of each day also helps clear your mind and is a peaceful, healthy way to beginning and end your day—especially when life is chaotic. Spend time with friends and family. Go outside and breathe fresh air. You will handle pressure with more focus and grace if you cultivate healthy responses to stress, and make sure to take care of yourself.
If you are under pressure because people are delegating too much work to you or are asking too much of you personally, it is time to draw some boundaries. With phones and laptops, many of us feel on-call 24/7. Maybe don’t answer emails after you go to bed, put your phone in another room. Try and manage the expectations of friends and family who ask a lot of you, so you are not burning the candle at both ends. If you haven’t spent time with your family because work has been hectic, tell them you will come over for dinner after your project deadline, and tell friends you haven’t seen in awhile the same. It lets people know you’re thinking about them while also giving yourself some space and time to finish work priorities.
Take Time To Recharge
No one stays on the treadmill forever. We all have to set aside time to recover and recharge from life’s stressful and chaotic moments, whether it is simply sleeping in, going to get a massage, going outside to get fresh air or taking a vacation. No one is perpetually at the top of their game, when you are worn down, you will be a better person and professional if you take some time to recharge.
If life and work are simply too much for you to handle, you should reach out for help. Delegate some tasks to colleagues or people under you and tell your boss you’ve reached a breaking point. If you are struggling with some personal issues, if you have the means call a therapist who can help you work through them. Spend time with loved ones you will support and will help you through difficult and stressful times. You do not have to handle things by yourself, you can reach out for help.
Article was culled from Forbes