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Successful Self-Care: Tips for Overwhelmed Business Executives

Stress is a major factor in the lives of business owners and busy professionals. There are everyday pressures including meeting deadlines and contributing innovative ideas. Then there are the really crushing pressures we place on ourselves such as achieving personal goals and keeping pace with our own individual expectations, objectives that often push executives to work extra-long hours and cut corners when it comes to their physical, psychological and emotional well-being.

Managing stress is essential because it’s nearly impossible to excel at work if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Learning to manage stress has a lot to do with setting manageable goals and admitting that you aren’t a superhero after all. Think of it this way: If you’re unable to manage stress, how can you be relied upon to manage other people?

Focus on finances

Business owners – especially new business owners – are under considerable pressure to keep the company profitable and manage its finances effectively. It can be a daunting prospect, but through a careful management of your time and priorities and responsible budgeting, you can keep your business venture viable and competitive despite those early pitfalls. If your credit is in less than sterling shape, don’t panic: You can turn your finances around by staying organized and focusing on paying off debt so you have the option later on to acquire funding when needed.


Congratulate yourself

The pressure of competition drives business executives to push themselves very hard. An ingrained tendency to emphasize one’s failures and undervalue successes is an unfortunate byproduct of that corporate ethos. It’s a common phenomenon in corporate America, where there’s always a demand for more and better. It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements because, for one thing, they can be hard to come by and others may not always recognize them.

So embrace and accept achievements for what they are – signs of progress: progress in your career and professional development. The inability to recognize and appreciate personal “wins” has driven many an ambitious executive to desperate emotional and physical straits. Remember, the pressure you place on yourself may produce dangerous physical manifestations such as high blood pressure, anxiety or depression and they can be debilitating. So use those achievements as an excuse to high-five yourself and celebrate.

Call ‘time-out’

Think of your office environment as a high-pressure, high-stakes football game. As coach, you wouldn’t go the entire game without calling an occasional time out to reassess your situation and make plans accordingly. Take time throughout the day to go for a walk or to shut the door, stare out the window for a while and take some deep, cleansing breaths to clear your mind. Everyone needs a breather now and again. It’s a safety valve that helps you manage stress by sitting back, taking it all in and engaging your sense of perspective, an invaluable tool for any business executive.

Making time for reflection, even for just a few minutes, can make the difference in your day and produce an alternative understanding of a problem and how to approach it. If you’re a business owner, you are the coach, so use your discretion to call time-out when necessary, relax and clear you mind.

Self-care comes in many forms, and it can mean different things to different people. For ultra-busy business professionals, the need for self-care means more than getting enough sleep, eating healthy and making time for exercise during the week. It’s also about finding opportunities to take the heat off yourself, to acknowledge when you succeed and not crush yourself under the weight of unrealistic expectations. Follow a “one-small-win-at-a-time” philosophy and you’ll be happier, mentally sharper, and more productive.

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