It seems like there’s already a million articles out there about managing stress, but the payroll business is incredibly stressful; I figured one more wouldn’t hurt, especially after Year-End. As a senior manager at Payroll Tax Management and Cachet, a wife and working mother, I have made it one of my life’s goals to maintain a good work/life balance. And it is not something that is attained and then you’re done — it requires constant upkeep. One of the main things that I do as my part of my constant quest for the perfect work/life balance is to manage my stress.
1. Exercise regularly. This is my number one… healthy mind and healthy body go hand-in-hand. Stressful times like year end can make up feel more tempted to eat things we shouldn’t. To make sure you don’t allow your comfort food to drag you down, make sure you get some regular exercise, especially during year-end. Your doctor will be pleased too.
2. Use your commute as decompression time. Both PTM and Cachet keep corporate headquarters in Southern California, notorious for crowded, smoggy freeways and equally obnoxious drivers. You can use a long commute to your advantage though, to put distance between you and your work day — both physically and mentally. Listen to loud music, books on tape, talk to a friend (hands-free), whatever it takes to get your head out of the work game.
3. If you have a stressful job, try to run a harmonious home. My home is my oasis!
4. Have a hobby. If you are a more well-rounded individual, you’re more likely to not get all wrapped up in all of the work drama. Be more than just your title!
5. Let it out. Actually, this should probably be my number one. Anyone who knows me well knows that I hold nothing in. It is well known that bottling up your emotions will only cause you emotional distress. Don’t freak out and throw tantrums all the time, but don’t be afraid to let people know how you feel.
Overall stress management techniques are all well and fine, but what to do when something is causing you stress or anxiety… right now?
1. Take a walk. If you can, physically remove yourself from the situation (politely though), and clear your head. A walk outside for a few moments will do wonders for your soul and possibly prevent you from saying something you later regret. If you can’t take a break or go outside, go get a drink of water.
2. Talk to a trusted colleague or mentor. Key words being “trusted” and “colleague/mentor” — the last thing you want is for your catharsis to make its way to an unintended party, and you certainly don’t want to complain to someone you supervise. Talking through your problem with the right person is great therapy.
3. Sleep on it. If possible, reconvene later when clearer heads may prevail.
Bottom line is to do what works for you. Please share your stress-busting techniques in the comments section below, I’m always looking for new ideas.