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6 Ways to Manage Stress When You Work Full-Time

I’m an enneagram type 6. What does that mean?⁠ When I’m “healthy”, I’m confident, secure, and easily can focus on the big picture. When I’m “unhealthy” I spiral into a frenzied workaholic. In the past few months, I would honestly describe myself as “unhealthy” to the point that I needed to change my routine and mindset in order to get out of the rut I was constantly in. Here are 5 things that have helped lower my stress and increase my productivity during the week (that could help you too!)

1. Decrease Cardio Workouts

Something that I had no idea about is how much stress you can put on your body from either working out too much or not doing the right type of workouts for your body. After doing some research I found out that intense cardio workouts as your main movement can increase stress levels and even mess with your mindset if you are trying to hit specific goals. 

Instead of going 5-6 days a week, focus on going every other day to make sure there is enough rest in between the workouts you do. Instead of all cardio, find classes that incorporate more of a strength training format.  I’ve even found adding in at least one yoga class per week has helped a ton. 

2. Take More Breaks

If you work from home, it’s pretty easy to get stuck in zoom meetings or focus on the work you need to complete for the week. This is situational depending on how easy it is for you to create your own schedule, but time blocking in breaks is essential to actually take them. This could be for your daily movement (getting some sunshine, eating your lunch away from your desk, etc.).

3. Mindful Drinking

It feels weird writing about this since I work with wine businesses and hold my WSET 2 wine certification, but limiting alcohol, especially wine, during the workweek has probably made the biggest impact on my mood, motivation, and productivity! 

I realized after a while that I was either opening up a bottle of wine for Instagram purposes, or because I was extremely stressed out. I felt like having a drink became too normal in my routine, and decided it was time to switch up my mindset to focus on mindful drinking. So yes, I still drink, but I’m choosing to limit how much to reduce my stress levels. 

4. Eat Healthier & Drink More Water

Okay, this one might be obvious, but eating healthier foods and drinking more water (or other fun drinks to stay hydrated) are essential to keep your blood sugars balanced and maintain your energy levels. 

When you are busy working or in meetings all day it’s so hard to remember to take care of yourself. I’ve always been great at planning my lunches ahead so it’s easy to grab and eat, but I’ve decided to step it up one more notch by getting my breakfast and snacks ready for the week as well! 

Some meal ideas for the week:

  • Smoothies – Any frozen fruit, coconut water for extra electrolytes, spinach, and chia seeds
  • Breakfasts – I’ve been loving egg muffins or Kodiak pancakes
  • Lunches – Any ground meat (I love using turkey or bison), any type of rice, veggies (I’ve been using broccoli slaw without the dressing), and sweet potatoes! 
  • Snacks – Banana with greek yogurt, peanut butter, and chia seeds has been one of my favs lately
  • Dinners – Turkey tacos, any protein with veggie and carb, spaghetti squash with homemade sauce

5. Limit Your Focus to A few projects or Tasks Per day

Ever feel like you have a million and one things to do during the week, but are not sure when to start? I hear you! Something that has made a difference in balancing all my tasks and projects is to use of a project management system. I’m currently using Asana to split out my work for my social media platforms, magazine production, website articles, and even client work! 

Here is my general process:

  1. I’ve created boards and added tasks with due dates where it applies
  2. When looking at my boards, determine the time I have and what work makes sense for that day
  3. Keep it between 3-5 tasks and whatever I don’t get done shift it into the next day, if possible
  4. With clients, always keep open communication so they know when you might need something from them and when you are available to get things done

6. Stop Working 24/7

When you are running a business, working full-time, or both, it’s very easy to spend most of your time working all the time. Believe me when I say that although I thought I was out of the phase, that was part of the reason I had to change my routine and probably why I’m writing this article.

I was starting to work nights and even weekends again, leaving little time to actually unwind with somehow still having my phone in my hand scrolling Instagram. So although I know we are all busy and have things we need to get done, you need to make time for yourself. This is your reminder to limit working on the weekends, if not take them off completely, take half days to do something fun with your pup, kids, significant other, or just yourself! 

Working should not define who you are. As they always say, “live to work, not work to live”. 

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