Handling anxiety and overwhelm in leadership
Handling anxiety and overwhelm in leadership is one of the most common issues I help my leadership clients with.
Anxiety and overwhelm is something that leaders and business owners are particularly prone to. Stakeholder management, challenging targets, making difficult decisions and juggling numerous projects can leave you feeling overwhelmed and close to burnout.
Add to this the loneliness of being a senior leader and our modern tendency to be constantly available. It’s no surprise that many senior leaders are struggling, despite outward appearances.
Now is the time to be open and honest about the toll senior leadership can take on our mental health. Even more importantly, it’s the perfect time to implement strategies to banish overwhelm and defeat anxiety for good.
Reducing anxiety in leadership – the importance of taking time to reflect
This is one of my favourite topics, which you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of my blog. That’s because when you consistently make time to reflect, it works. Reflection is a simple, very powerful, practice that can help you become a better leader and a calmer person.
A common reason for leadership overwhelm is the feeling that you don’t have the time to get everything done. So, making time to reflect regularly can feel impossible. However, building in regular reflection time doesn’t have to be difficult.
You can reflect in as little as 3 to 5 minutes per day. Plus, taking time out to reflect can actually help you become less anxious and more productive.
The question shouldn’t really be do I have the time to reflect?
It should be why don’t I have the time to reflect?
Reducing anxiety in leadership – the importance of recharging
You wouldn’t charge your mobile phone once, and then expect it to last three months before charging it again, would you? Or your laptop? And you definitely wouldn’t only give it enough time to charge halfway, but then expect a full 24 hours usage.
Yet we often expect ourselves to perform consistently day in day out, with very little time to recharge our own batteries. Getting enough sleep is very important, but we often underestimate the importance of taking proper downtime. Making time to do what we love is so important.
What that looks like can be different for everybody.
For some, time spent by the sea might recharge them. For others, it’s making time for a long lunch. Or it could be as simple as a couple of hours spent reading for pleasure, going for a walk in nature or a long bath.
Whatever it is that restores you, if it makes you feel relaxed and refreshed then it’s something you need to make time for.
Reducing anxiety in leadership – the importance of self-acceptance
You’re not perfect. Nobody is, and that’s okay.
Yes, improving yourself is all part of being a leader, and actively developing yourself can contribute to your self-esteem and reduce anxiety. However, it’s important to recognise the positives of where you are right now.
We’re all works in progress, so don’t focus on what your weaknesses are. Instead, focus on what you do well and what you’re already doing to address weaknesses.
Allow yourself to be less than perfect, and give yourself due recognition for your achievements.
Time for you – make one small change this week
I’m challenging you to make one change this week to reduce your own overwhelm and anxiety.
It can be as small as granting yourself uninterrupted lunch breaks, or investing in yourself by buying one of my workbooks which will help you reflect on yourself.
The change I most recommend?
If you don’t already make time for daily reflection; this is my recommendation.
It really is one of the habits that makes a difference in my client’s leadership practice.
If you can only commit to five minutes per day, that’s OK. Set a timer and for those few minutes, look back on what has gone well during your day, and what you would do differently.
If you can commit to 1 hour this week, get a copy of one of my workbooks and start to reflect on yourself. Believe me …they’ll make you think!
Building a regular practice of reflecting, recharging and refocusing helps you check-in with yourself and look after your wellbeing. Remember you can’t be a great leader, if you’re exhausted.
That’s why it’s so important to take regular time out. And when I say time out, I mean time away from the chaos and pressures of work, to reflect, recharge and refocus on you.
If you want to meet other people who are on their self-discovery, come and join our Facebook group where you’ll get inspiration, support and useful tips for all things confidence and leadership.
Want to take some time out to reflect, recharge and refocus on you?
You’ll love what I have for you:
Download your FREE guide here all about taking 5 minutes out just for you.
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Join our Leadership Starts With You community here
Read one of my 100 blogs here
Buy one of my workbooks or online courses here – perfect if you want to focus on a specific area of self-discovery, enjoy self study, don’t need to ask any questions on the topic, and want to get a flavour of my style and approach before investing in a coaching programme.
Register for the Leadership Retreat VIP list and be notified when bookings open for the next retreat.
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