I started the morning by lifting 80 kilos of dealdlift and 40 kilos of bench press. Two new records. Really going for it was what my body needed after all the stress within me after almost two days without a break. And more intense days ahead.
I’ve become a bit of an expert in coping with stress during extreme work-situations. There’s a difference between coping with chosen stress and getting rid of stress. What I’m writing below isn’t my advice for a normal life but this is how I cope when I’m stressed to the max and will be for a few days:
- Long-lasting intense stress is dangerous but for short periods it’s okay, as long as you have a recovery plan. When you have a company group worth 140 million, there’ll be times when things clash because there’s a lot happening at the same time so you’ll need to manage that and keep your own health intact and make sure your colleagues are feeling well too. I’m a phase right now we’re I know I’m going at max-speed which I can do for about a week. Usually my work-pace is almost like running a marathon (until Christmas) but now we’re in the middle of a ”give-it-everything” rush for various reasons. You need to be able to keep it going and it’ll probably sound extreme. But it’s an extreme life..
2. The most important thing is to keep your basic needs intact. Sleep, exercise food. Sleep is often the bit that’s the most difficult to control. I’ve had roughly 4 hours sleep per night for the past few days because I’ve woken up which isn’t good. The mind is spiralling. Usually, I would’ve had a glass of wine in the evening but I’ve quit alcohol (partly because of this). If I don’t get the sleep I need to night I’ll need to take a tablet to help with falling asleep until my sleeping pattern is back to normal. That might take a few days. I usually start slow with lerigan, a tablet that works for worry/itchiness within the body which I took during my pregnancies. It’s usually the only thing I need. I’ll need to get 7 hours of sleep per night to manage. Otherwise everything will crash. Sleep is the basic.
3. Regarding exercise I’m sticking to it and I’m refusing to let it go. I’ve had to PT sessions this weekend and one interval session. This weekend I’ll have a gym session but I’m going to spend a lot of time outdoors with the kids. It’s always more difficult with exercise when I’m travelling, like next week, but I usually make sure to get half an hour at the hotel gym before breakfast, it makes a big difference.
4. When it comes to food, I actually eat more when I’m the most stressed. I’m much more strict with having a proper breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. It’s so important to eat food that gives you energy. I usually eat more carbs because it gives the body fuel. I’m also kind to myself. If it’s chocolate or vegan ice cream that makes me manage a telephone meeting at 10PM, that’s what it’ll have to be.
5. I clear my calendar of the things that aren’t core business or priorities. Even everything social. Social activities actually have a positive effect on job-stress but because my job is so social, I need to be by myself and with the kids. I’ve cleared the weekend’s schedule so that it’s completely empty. When you’re stressed it’s important to have totally empty days. It’s difficult but you’ll have to see it as an investment. The empty day is to have energy for the other days.
6. I always make sure to decrease the amount of decisions I have to make. My team is very good at that, when we’re in an intense period everyone becomes more independent and tries to make their own decisions without me. I always postpone all creative meetings, because there’s no point having them in this period.
Goal-photograph: cover of Forbes!
7. In the evenings, meditation is important but really difficult. I just want to shut off because meditate (the app headspace) is a struggle. I decrease the number of minutes (yesterday I only did three) and I try to stick to them. If it’s difficult to breathe for three minutes, I stick to one minutes. Routine is important.
8. Before I fall asleep, I always remember my gratefulness list. I wrote yesterday that I’m doing a lot right now that I had as goals a year or so ago. It’s important to enjoy.
9. I set my alarm to go off a little earlier to have a quiet morning. Even though it takes away some sleep. Because I have the kids it’s important to start the day off well. Long breakfast together without stress before nursery drop-off. If there’s a bad atmosphere it will leave a trace with me all day. I can’t afford that.
10. It’s important to teach the brain when you’re working and when you’re not working. To not get stuck in a grey-zone. For me, the grey zone is reading a book on my cellphone and sometimes check my email on my phone. It’s better to put away the phone and read a physical book. At work I wear heels, makeup and have energetic music in the car. At home, I have my hair in a bun, tights and classical music. During next week’s four countries in six days it’ll be more difficult to separate on/off days. I manage that by scheduling my own time. For example on Wednesday evening in London after filming the TV show.
Anyway, I’ve got a work-rush until next Sunday ahead of me. I’ve got a break between Friday and Sunday. If the posts feel a bit impersonal you understand why! A big hug to all of you who are always dealing with a busy work-week.
We can do this 🙂