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How to Really De-Stress From a Crazy Work Schedule

May 15, 2016

The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question:How do you create balance in your professional life? is written by Jenny Guldseth, Senior Director of Employee Benefits at Allianz Life.

No matter how passionate you are about the work you do, it is not free from challenges, stress or tasks that you don’t enjoy. Avoiding burnout is essential to career success and satisfaction. As an executive, there are two ways to help your team create balance in their lives: First, you can create and drive company programs that retain employees and foster an enjoyable workplace. Second, as a leader, you can feel personally fulfilled in your job by having ways to deal with stress that comes with the territory.

By creating a supportive environment that promotes balance in employees’ lives and builds retention, you can set your company a part. Work is a major part of our lives. We often spend more hours with co-workers than our own family. But it can't be the only focus.

Building valuable company incentives, encouraging employees to use them, and taking advantage of them yourself will make you a better, well-respected leader that employees will want to work for. At Allianz Life, our benefits program helps employees manage their physical health (with gym membership discounts, an on-site fitness facility, and health benefit discounts); financial fitness (with access to financial advice, retirement account contributions, and company stock purchase programs); and social well-being (with Employee Resource Groups, volunteer opportunities, and employee support groups).

Now, let’s think about your own job pressures and responsibilities. To effectively lead and ensure your team’s success, your own attention to balance is essential. Here are a few tips:

Find a work schedule that fits your lifestyle. One way to avoid burnout is to create a work schedule that best fits what’s important to you. A traditional 9 to 5 workday is no longer the norm. I know those hours wouldn’t work for me! Truly enhance your career satisfaction by scheduling your work around your personal calendar as you plan other priorities.

Make your vacation work for you. When on vacation, do what works for you to produce the least amount of stress. For me, unread emails make me tense while away from the office, so I de-stress by checking once a day and delegating to keep projects moving. By doing this, I remain focused on why I am taking time off, whether it’s to be with family and friends, or simply have some “me” time.

Reinvigorate with activities outside of work. Volunteer, be a part of a community group, get involved in something beyond your career. If you focus on something new, your mind will be able to expand as well. When I participate in activities outside of work, I actually gain energy and creativity I can use at work.

If nothing works, look for something new. Your life is in your control. If all else fails and you can’t avoid feeling burnt out, look for different ways to utilize your strengths. Sometimes raising your hand for new projects or looking for a career move, whether lateral or something in a new area, can be just the refresher you need.

Finding the right balance will inevitably make you a stronger leader, allow you to live a more fulfilling life, and will give you tools to avoid burnout both personally and for your team.

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