By Kim Shambrook, Kendall’s Interim President
It doesn’t matter if you are a restaurateur, an executive at a hotel, a student, or even one of our very own faculty members—stress is an everyday factor in our lives. While that may sound overwhelming, I promise it’s not. There are always plenty of things you can do to find balance—and create more fun, creative moments within your day that energize you.
Start by recognizing it. Stress exists no matter where you are. It’s at every level of the workplace. It’s a part of life, not just work. So many times the stress we feel may be coming from home while we’re at work, or from work while we’re at home. You need to recognize the source before you can begin to address it.
Never forget to exercise. It clears your mind. For me, it’s as simple as taking a walk to Kendall’s garden, or, let’s be honest, just down the hall. That simple action allows me to hit “reset” before I get back to work. For someone else, this may mean a run, an intense cardio class—or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, meditation or journaling. Start a regular practice and stick to it. Even if it’s only 20 minutes a day, prioritize this time. It will increase your ability to focus.
Set parameters. This doesn’t only apply to projects at work; designate time for yourself and your family. It’s important to regularly decompress, by gathering your thoughts, writing a list, or setting intentions. Time with your family and friends—even if your schedule is jam packed—is also crucial. A few hours with your loved ones is energizing. Setting time aside for work, family, and yourself also helps you hit pause when a task is particularly stressful, allowing you to return refreshed.
Don’t spend all your time thinking and talking about work. I promise your family doesn’t want to hear about your last visit to the market or an irresponsive vendor. Talking about a point of stress doesn’t usually resolve the problem. Take time to talk about other topics. Listen. Pause and slow down. You may be pleasantly surprised when a resolution pops into your head the moment you stop worrying about whatever is bothering you.
Rethink who you are at work. Work doesn’t have to be stressful. And it doesn’t have to be 100% focused on work. Make a point to get to know your coworkers. I really enjoy doing this with my team. Whenever I finish a meeting, I always end by asking them about something not related to work, like how they are doing, what new book they are reading or movie they’ve seen or how their kids are. Not only do I learn about their lives and what drives them, it relaxes me to listen.
Find something to look forward to. Plan a fun event with family or friends. Take a vacation! (Seriously!) If you have to, put in extra time before you take off so you can spend a bit of time with the people you love to completely unwind, whether it’s in your backyard or another country.
Tell me: What do you do to reduce stress?