5 easy ways to combat stress as a project manager

As we all know, Project Management is not a 9-5 job. It’s not a Monday to Friday job. You will have times when you check your email on weekends and send reminders to your teams in the evenings. How aware are you of work creep? Is your work/life balance being affected?

Many studies have shown that stress can be beneficial for our health. The Yerkes Dodson Law is the most prominent. This shows that you can work at peak performance if you have the right amount of stress. But if you keep it up for too long your work will suffer.

How can you relax during the day and keep your best work conditions?

1. Take a walk

Let’s get down to basics, shall we? You can feel the stress beginning to creep in at mid-morning, and you haven’t moved from your desk since you’ve been battling through your endless emails with no end in view. Take a walk during lunch. Make sure your phone is off. Even if there is nowhere to go, a walk around the block can increase memory and attention span by up to 20%

2. Meditate

It can be a great idea to take a few minutes each morning to practice a guided meditation. We don’t mean to make you rush to the Zen Centre while you eat lunch, but meditation is something we do. Head Space, an app that allows you to do quick meditations in 5-10 minutes, is something you can use whenever you feel overwhelmed. These meditations are easy to do with a chair and a quiet place.

3. Learn to Say No

Learn to say no when you have too many things on your list. Don’t feel guilty about saying no. Just explain that you have too many things on your plate and ask for help if necessary.

4. Get your sleep in order

Are you finding yourself rushing to the coffee pot in the morning, instead of getting the work done? It might be worth taking a look at your sleeping habits.

Begin by setting a time limit on caffeinated drinks. Caffeine can stay in your system up to 6 hours so it is best to stop drinking caffeine after 3pm.

You might also find it helpful to keep a pen and notepad next to your bed. This way, you can quickly write down any thoughts or ideas that come to mind during the night and not worry about whether you will remember them in the morning.

5. Take some annual leave

After you’ve tried everything, you can book some annual leave. However, you should make sure to write detailed handover notes. This time doesn’t have to be spent on holiday abroad. You could have a small staycation or spend a day binging on the Netflix series you missed. It’s okay to take some time for yourself to recharge your batteries and get back on track.

If you’ve tried everything and you still can’t get out of the stress, you should speak to your manager or HR department to discuss possible changes to your work schedule or work methods.

If you are not a manager or want to talk to HR, it is best that you seek medical assistance. Your GP can help you find groups or other options to reduce stress. This epidemic is responsible for 40% of workplace illnesses.

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