The challenges of leadership in a volatile and uncertain business landscape, and concerns around job insecurity, cause many senior HR professionals to work long hours, which puts a strain on their home lives.
This excessive pressure at work and home contributes to an unhealthy work-life balance, which can cause dangerous stress-related conditions that require professional help.
Even people barely out of university are having to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and lifestyle management, in a way they never had to previously.
So what basic advice can you follow? First, be aware of the following symptoms and note down any you experience:
- Mood swings
- Skin problems
- Muscle tension/headaches
- Waking unrefreshed
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Tiredness and low energy
- Poor concentration/memory
- Changes in eating patterns
- Digestive problems
If any of these problems persist, acknowledge that you are under excessive pressure, and must either reduce your working hours or devise a new time-management schedule – separating the ‘urgent’ tasks from the genuinely important ones – and adopt coping strategies.
Identify the causes of stress and examine whether your expectations of yourself, and others, are realistic.
Stress may lead you to over-eat. Try to eat a balanced diet with carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Drink plenty of water.
Include a period of relaxation every day. Do something you enjoy that complements your lifestyle such as reading, yoga or meditation. Feeling comfortable inside and out is a vital part of living successfully.
Make regular exercise a part of your everyday lifestyle, choosing an exercise that you like, or you won’t stick to it.
Attend a stress management course to learn how to manage pressure rather than waiting until you experience stress.
Remember, pressure can be a motivator but prolonged, excessive pressure is not conducive to work or wellbeing.