The No. 1 reason people quit their jobs? Excessive stress, says a recent study of 93 big companies by consultants Watson Wyatt.
Unfortunately, managers don’t seem to realize the role stress plays. Most HR managers guessed incorrectly that inadequate pay and lack of promotions were the primary reasons people quit.
The lesson? Take action before you feel so overwhelmed. Try these easy stress-busting techniques from Tevis Gale, career coach and head of the consulting firm Balance Integration (www.balanceintegration.com):
1. Do a 15-second slowdown. Before you start a meeting or a meal or reply to one more e-mail: stop. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Breathe in through your nostrils and expand your entire torso completely. Exhale with just as much attention. Repeat this two more times.
2. Write a long-term to-do list. What small things can you do now to help you achieve something on that list? Example: If one long-term to-do is to build a stronger network among admins in your office, invite a small group of admins out to lunch this week. Share your idea and start talking. That sense of accomplishment is a powerful stress-reducer.
3. Take a 5-minute media moratorium. Walk away from your desk to clear your mind and focus on what’s important, rather than what’s popping up on your screen. “No monitors,” says Gale. “Nothing that beeps or blinks.”
4. Schedule time for yourself in ink, not pencil. What do you need for yourself? Whether it’s a regular haircut, a coffee break with a best friend, exercise or an annual exam (or all of the above!), mark them in your calendar in ink at regular intervals. Make a solid promise to take care of yourself, no matter how hectic your life.
5. Relieve afternoon stress with eye yoga. Scrunch your lids closed as you rotate your eyes three times counterclockwise and three times clockwise. Then relax your face, open your eyes and trace your gaze along your lower lids from corner to corner three times. Repeat this on the upper lid.