According to Safe Work Australia, burnout is one of the few mental disorders recognised as directly caused by too much work. It contributes to a $20 billion ‘stress bill’ which is footed by businesses each year. Given such a high figure, it probably goes without saying the magic ingredient—getting the balance right—continues to elude many of today’s top leaders.
This all comes down to the fact many leaders are using old strategies when it comes to wellbeing. What may have served you in the past—to get back on track with your energy, drive and wellbeing—may no longer be working for you. You will have more responsibilities, less time, and most probably less energy overall.
In a recent survey conducted by The Centre For Creative Leadership, 88% percent of leaders report that work is a primary source of stress in their lives, and that having a leadership role increases their level of stress.
If any of the following apply to you, you’re probably at the pointy end of the stress stick:
- Aren’t sleeping well
- Get angry or irritated quickly/lack patience
- Make small mistakes, forget things or are not operating with your usual efficiency
- Suffer from aches, pains, stomach cramps, headaches, and anxiety
- Feel off your game, overwhelmed or unfocused
The good news is you can fix this fast and feel fantastic if you just apply these 5 simple rules:
Stop right now and put 15 min in your agenda a day for a nano-break. This 1% of your day will be your chance to re-group, assess the day, hit pause, and be present. It is crucial for mental clarity and physical regeneration.Think of it as plugging your iPhone in the wall for a re-charge. Except for you it’s no phones, no computers, no meetings. Just a quiet space in your day, completely uninterrupted.
Divide and conquer. Hold a meeting with your core dream team and find out the facts across all of your projects. Listen, assess, and delegate back what you can with clarity and conviction. What are you trying to work on or solve that any one of your team could easily do? Be transparent, identify the road-blocks and challenges in the workload. Work with the people you trust, and can rely on, and be clear about what you need. Empower your team to step up so you can step back and run with vision again.
Start your day as you intend to continue it. Begin with 5 min of core exercises or focused breathing. Take time to consider personal presentation, your day ahead, time for your family, and the schedule. Consider your time, where you are going for meetings and how can you be more effective. What can be done by phone instead of face to face? What should be done face to face? Allow space on either side of vital meetings to prep, refine, then review. Slow down and be deliberate.
4. Fresh air:
Get plenty of it. Take your colleague for a ‘walk and talk’ to discuss an ongoing project, step out for lunch, walk first thing in the morning and make the most of your time while travelling or on the weekends to get outside. Lace up your running shoes and head outdoors. It’s the best medicine. Ditch the gym and hit the beach or a nearby park.
5. Fresh food
Fuel your body well. Make good healthy choices at lunch and avoid alcohol at times of stress. You are an athlete in the business world and need to operate like one. The one rule I advise is fresh is best; the closer your nutrition is to it’s natural source the better it is for you. Plenty of healthy salads, fresh vegetables and lean meats are important to fortify mind and body. Keep it simple.
Overall this comes down to the vital pillar of leading in life and business: A fresh perspective.
Why keep making the same mistakes with an old set of rules, when you can take a moment out to consider the current landscape you operate in and find time to tailor a new approach to planning your winning week.
A lot can happen when we create the time and space for our mind and body to slow down, to reconnect and to re-charge.
Rest and re-focus is just as important as the high octane energy you use to make decisions and run your business.
Now it’s time to integrate all these elements seamlessly into your life. Be agile and think outside the box to design a week that has a blend of you being healthy, wealthy and wise.