As a health and exercise professional, you may experience an increased amount of stress due to your interactions with your clients. If you are particularly empathetic, you may find that you take on the issues of your clients and may even feel as if you are taking on their unique stressors. As you can imagine, this does not bode well for dealing with your own stress. You might also be dealing with a wide range of stressors, including time spent in traffic, long working days that start early and end late at night, trying to get your own workouts done between clients, a lack of sleep, and the pressure to create content for your clients, all of which can easily make you feel overwhelmed.
So, what can you do to help manage all of this stress? Try these three simple steps to stress less and accomplish more, starting today.
1. Manage Your Energy to Stay Focused
One of the reasons you may feel overwhelmed is because you are spread too thin, with multiple clients, projects and places all requiring your attention at once. With your attention scattered across too many things, it can be difficult to stay focused on a particular task for too long.
You may feel overwhelmed because you work on tasks when you are not the most productive or have the most energy. Think about your energy throughout the day: Do you find you have more energy in the morning, afternoon or evening? Are you more mentally prepared to perform some tasks during a certain part of the day compared to another? Think about the time of day you have the most energy for particular tasks and then attempt to schedule those particular tasks during that timeframe.
2. Manage Your Time to Reduce Distractions
Distractions are everywhere: cell phone notifications, phone calls, emails, messages and social media pings, plus countless others. Every notification that captures your attention requires additional minutes to regain your focus on what you were working on prior to the distraction. This can add up to a lot of time lost over the course of the day. A great way to handle this is to turn off all notifications on both your cell phone and on your computer, which offers you the opportunity to fully focus on the task at hand, uninterrupted.
Consider devoting blocked-off time periods to specific tasks throughout your day For example, if you are most creative in the morning (see step 1, above), dedicate the first hour of your day to creating content for your clients and save responding to emails for later in the day. Consider going an extra step and add time blocks on your digital or written calendar and follow your schedule daily for the most benefit.
If you want to be more diligent with your time, follow the Pomodoro technique and set a timer and work for 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. By only having 25 minutes to focus on a task, you are forced to commit to that particular task, undistracted. If 25 minutes is not enough time, try 45 minutes; use whatever works for you and your level of focus and demands.
3. Find Enjoyable Ways to Unwind
When stress is high and you feel overwhelmed, find an activity that helps bust through your stress to clear your mind. The key is to find something you enjoy doing; for example, don’t do yoga because everyone is telling you to do it to relieve stress even though you find it unpleasant. Instead, find something you enjoy and will actually look forward to doing when stress is high.
Here are some ideas to help get you started:
Go for a walk
Go for a run or do something active
Doodle, draw, color or paint
Play an instrument
Listen to music
Write about your stress and one simple solution to anything that could be a major stressor for you
Meet with a friend for a quick break
Take 3 to 5 deep breaths (or more), focusing on breathing into your belly button and making it rise and fall with your breath
The key to optimizing the way you manage stress is to find what works well for you to manage your energy, time and current levels of stress, so have fun exploring these tips.