Stressbusters: Why You Need This Chill Summer Guide For Women Leaders

The summer is approaching and if you are extremely lucky, your company or organization will have summer hours built in so you can take advantage of a slower schedule.If you are leading the organization, perhaps you can acknowledge the toll stress takes on team  members and you can be a role model for mindfulness.And if you are still burning the candle at both ends,  you can still chill with some stressbusters. There’s ample evidence as to why that is critical.A new study from The Deloitte Greenhouse Business Chemistry team of more than 23,000 people  shows that 57 percent say they are sometimes stressed, 25 percent said they are stressed often and 15 percent are stressed only rarely, and just three percent, almost always.What are the common workplace stress triggers?More than half, or 52 percent responding in the study, said a challenging workload with long hours or juggling of multiple responsibilities is stressful. The same percentage said conflict such as getting reprimanded or delivering a difficult message is stressful. Less than half, or 46 percent agreed that situations that create urgency like critical projects or time pressure is a stress producer, with about the same percentage saying face-to-face interactions like delivering a presentation or meeting a new stakeholder causes stress.[bctt tweet=“Stress affects more women in the workplace, so these keys to reduce stress will help. #stressbusters” username=“takeleadwomen”]“According to Jeffery Pfeffer, Stanford University Professor of Organizational Behavior and author of Dying for a Paycheck, writes, “Job stress costs U.S. employers more than $300 billion annually and may cause 120,000 excess deaths each year,” writes Stacey Younge in Hello Beautiful.Another study shows that women burnout more quickly than men with more stress endured at work. The study by Montreal University of more than 2,000 men and women in different workplaces analyzed participants’ “emotional exhaustion, cynicism and professional effectiveness.”According to study author and professor of population health, Dr. Nancy Beauregard, “Our results show there are differences between men and women because, from the outset, employees are subject to different working conditions depending on their gender. Indeed, female employees often burn out at a faster rate simply because of the nature of their work,” she told The Independent.The source of burnout and stress may be a feeling of a lack of “power” in the workplace, the study shows.“The research also revealed that along with not having enough authority at work, low self-esteem, difficulties balancing work and family life, and work encroaching on time spent on loved ones, can all lead to burnout in women,” writes Sarah Young in The Independent.This sense of claiming personal power to influence action and change is at the core of the 9 Leadership Power Tools created by Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of Take The Lead, who is also leading a seminar at Omega Institute later this summer, “Your Power Journey.”Read more in Take The Lead on Gloria Feldt at Omega this July. “Feeling powerless, having ongoing financial struggles caused by low paid and/ or insecure work is a recipe for stress. People in these roles feel understandably less able to speak up or complain about their work conditions,” writes Kyle MacDonald in New Zealand Herald.Dialing down stress is important not just this summer, but for a lifetime, to maintain wellness and also a sense of stability in the workplace. Here are four tips on reducing stress that you can implement immediately to get your summer off to a chill start.[bctt tweet=“Dialing down stress is important not just this summer, but for a lifetime, to maintain wellness and also a sense of stability in the workplace. #stressfreesummer “ username=“takeleadwomen”]Make sure you are efficient, not spinning your wheels. “Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our routine we don’t take the time to review whether or not it is still the most efficient way of functioning. Quarterly, take a look at your routine and see if there is anything that can and should be reevaluated. Plan to discuss it with your team or boss if necessary. Reevaluate the things you are prioritizing to make sure they are still the most important areas of focus and haven’t turned into busy work. Explore new apps that may help streamline tasks and make more efficient use of your time,” according to Stacey Younge, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and owner of Sixth Street Wellness, writing in Hello Beautiful.Put your work in perspective. Work takes up a lot of your time, but it need tnot take up all of your life.When you’re too emotionally invested in your work — to the point of constantly stressing at your desk and to your family or friends after work — it helps to remember what you’re being paid to worry about. If something is out of your control, then it’s someone else’s job to stress about that issue at your company,” writes Alison Green in The Cut. “A good test is to ask yourself: Will this matter to the company or to me personally in six months? In a year? The vast majority of the time, the answer will be no. On the rare occasions that it’s not, that’s when you press the point.”

Read more in Take The Lead on avoiding vacation stress

Respond as calmly as you can when stressful situations arise. Denise Maher writes in Everyday Health, “At best, stress is a constant hum; at worst, it’s an acute and insidious pang,’ writes Sharon Salzberg, meditation teacher and best-selling author of  5 Ways To Stop Stress in Its Tracks.”  Salzberg says “a very basic but effective approach to stress management is changing the way that you chose to respond to stress.” She adds, “If stress arises, the first step is to simply notice it.” After breathing intentionally, “Take a minute to close your eyes and settle your attention inward. If a feeling or thought comes up, try naming it. Show yourself that you’re interested in your experiences rather than fighting them,” Salzberg writes.Build in regular downtime in your day.  Go for a walk outside—it’s almost summer! Doodle at your desk, read an article not on your screen, or just get up and move. “Women often make themselves last priority, says psychiatrist Lilian Gonsalves, MD. “I encourage my patients to schedule time for exercise and personal interests, and get at least seven hours of sleep each night.” Dr. Gonsalves tells Health Essentials.[bctt tweet=“This summer could be the start of some new efforts to dial down your #stress for the whole year. “ username=“takeleadwomen”]This summer could be the start of some new efforts to dial down your stress for the whole year.