You have a major presentation due at the end of the week, but your boss keeps sending numerous small tasks your way that keep taking up your time. Your employees are not making significant progress on their latest project, while your new hire is struggling to find his footing in your department. You are unable to take short coffee breaks—let alone a lunch break—for fear that you will be bombarded with employee concerns, ideas and conflicts. Meanwhile, your email inbox is filling up quickly with every moment you spend away from your desk in tedious group or company-wide meetings.
Does this scenario fit your current working environment? In a 2015 American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America Survey, 60 percent of respondents confirmed that work was one of the main sources of stress in their life. Meanwhile, 42 percent of these participants admitted they were not doing enough or didn’t know if they were doing enough to manage stress.
Stress and work
Comedians and sitcoms joke about stressful work situations. In the break room, your co-workers complain about how much work they have to do. You vent to your loved ones about not feeling appreciated by your boss or about how your assignments or projects are too overwhelming. Essentially, stress is an integral part of the American workplace.
Do you have a lower-than-average salary for your field? Is your workload piling up constantly? Do you feel like there are not enough opportunities for career advancement or professional growth? Maybe your work isn’t challenging enough, or you lack a meaningful coworker social support system.
Unclear performance expectations, lack of control over daily work life or one of the numerous other problems listed above, are some of the most common sources of stress in the workplace today. While you may not be able to completely eliminate these stressors or change your current situation, you can learn to effectively manage your stress with the help of an executive coach.
An executive coach can help
Many Americans possess the “I can do it all myself” attitude, which can be extremely harmful in terms of properly dealing with stress. While in the short term, stress may only cause extra levels of anxiety, irritability or difficulty concentrating in and outside of work, it also can contribute to a wide variety of health problems. Some of these include headaches, loss of sleep and stomach aches.
Over a prolonged period of time, the APA finds that chronic stress can cause insomnia, anxiety and a weakened immune system. Long-term stress can contribute to or result in health conditions such as heart disease, depression and obesity. It also can cause people to deal with it in unhealthy ways, such as addictions to food, drugs, alcohol, and smoking. The 2015 survey found direct correlations between stress and sedentary activities: those who reported being less stressed were also the ones who exercised more regularly.
Skilled executive coaches can help reduce stress. Here are a few ways:
They will help establish boundaries
Just because you have a smartphone or access to Wi-Fi does not mean you should compulsively check your work email every hour outside the office. If you are busy doing work in bed until late at night or cancel personal plans to catch up on your latest project, you need to establish firm work-life boundaries starting today.
A skilled executive coach will help you identify where your work boundaries are blurring and create strict rules, such as no working or talking about work after 8 p.m. or turning off your phone when you spend time with friends or family.
They will provide you with support
You don’t have to manage your stress alone. While your loved ones may be sympathetic and understanding, they will not be able to provide you with the professional and knowledgeable insight an executive coach can offer. At times, the first steps toward relieving stress may just be to admit that you have a problem and to talk about what triggers it. An executive coach will lend a helpful ear to your troubles.
They will help you develop a stress-reduction strategy
Executive coaches won’t just listen to your struggles: They will also help you craft stress-reducing strategies. They may encourage you to exercise, meditate, and create time for hobbies and personal time.
They provide an unbiased perspective about what needs to change in your life and guide you toward the right answers. Maybe you should change jobs or positions, or perhaps you just need to re-evaluate your attitude or perspective by which you view your boss or coworkers? A professional executive coach can help you attain a stress-free mindset and outlook you wouldn’t be able to reach on your own.