This guest post is by Stephanie Malan. Stephanie graduated from Brandeis International Business School with her Master’s in International Economics and Finance. Prior to this, she studied Finance at Dauphine University in Paris where she grew up. Most recently Stephanie interned as an analyst at The Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group.
Take an active role in your life and learn how to manage stress.
Managing stress will help you achieve a better work/life balance in your daily life. Women, and especially working mothers, have very busy schedules and often feel overwhelmed and stressed when facing their never-ending “to-do list”. However, some basic tips can improve your lifestyle by helping you to identify sources of stress, to make simple changes, and to take control of your life.
1. Identify sources of stress in your life.
Are you disorganized? Do you tend to postpone important tasks to the next day? Do you take on too many responsibilities at work? Is it part of your personality to be nervous? Do you feel productive during the day? If not, why? Once you’ve identified potential sources of stress in your life, take a moment to think about how you can remove or limit these sources.
2. Manage your time, plan and prioritize.
I am personally a big fan of the “to-do list.” However, the tricky part is to systematically prioritize your tasks in order of importance. Make sure that the most important tasks are at the top of your list and focus on completing these tasks first. This is easier said than done! Most of the time, those important tasks are the ones that make you sick to your stomach. Did you make that phone call to the CEO that might land you a job? Did you do your taxes yet? Did you pay your tuition on time? Busying yourself with the least important tasks often prevents you from reaching deadlines and goals that have a true impact on the course of your life. Spend a few minutes each morning organizing your day. You will likely get more done!
3. People shape their lives through their thoughts. Learn how to look at the big picture.
Going to an interview, giving a presentation to clients, or making a phone call to someone important can be an immense source of stress. When faced with these situations, take a step back and try to view this task within the broader perspective of your life. Realize that the phone call to the client is not going to determine the path of the rest of your life. It is simply a phone call to a client; the worst that could happen is that it does not go well. If that is the case, sit down and think about what you learned, take a few notes on how to improve next time, and learn how to not repeat the same mistake.
4. Exercise and make time for yourself.
No need to tell you that exercising helps release stress by producing serotonin and a host of other beneficial chemicals. So, just do it! Stretch in front of the TV, take a yoga class, or go for a run in the morning. Taking time to do things that involve moving your body is a great way to manage stress and improve your overall well-being. It is also important to take time for yourself to relax. Do something you really enjoy at least once or twice a week. Read a book, take a dance class or get a pedicure – what ever it is you like to do – this will help you stay relaxed.
5. Superwomen! Time to learn how to delegate!
I am very lucky to be surrounded by brilliant, hard-working successful women. However, many of these highly-successful and driven women tend to take on too many responsibilities and have difficulty delegating tasks. Take a moment to see what you can take off your shoulders and if you can ask for assistance. Junior employees and interns are there to help, and if you take a few minutes to teach them how to do a task, it’s a win-win situation; they will learn something new, and you will have less on your to-do list!
Of course stress can be positive. It keeps you going and brings excitement and adrenaline in certain cases. However, chronic stress is not healthy. Making a few changes in your daily life will prevent you from acquiring self-destructive habits (i.e. procrastination, taking stress out on others, smoking) as well as curb depression. Stress management is one way to achieve a healthier lifestyle and can soon become a natural part of your routine.
If you have any personal methods you use to manage stress, please share them with us!
For more information on work/life balance read: Advice from Those Who Know: Woman to Woman