For many of us at DHG, and in the broader accounting and professional services industry, the start of the New Year signals the beginning of our busier time of year. As we navigate deadlines and the influx of client needs, sustaining our energy levels and managing stress become increasingly important when we are pulled in many different directions. The good news is we know that this time of year is coming, so we have the advantage of being able to plan ahead. Below I share some of the methods that work for me when attempting to sustain energy during times of heightened stress.
For me, the most important thing in managing stress is intentional planning. Often we get caught up in our business, and if we had just planned things out and thought about a game plan in advance, we could have better managed the stress. Part of planning ahead is making sure you’re getting enough sleep and you’re able to fit in exercise that works for you – whether that’s going for a run, using the stairs in and out of the office, or taking a walk around the block after a meal. There may be nights when you have to work a little late, so it’s beneficial to plan ahead to figure out what time you can exercise and what time you need to go to bed so that you don't overextend yourself on those later days.
Another area requiring intentional planning is recovery, which is an important step we often forget when busy. Recovery may take place over the weekend, at lunch or after work, but you have to find time to fit it in. If you need to work over the weekend, you might sleep a little later on Sunday, or give yourself time to recharge by watching a movie for 2 hours (I recommend a comedy!). Whatever that recovery looks like for you, it’s necessary to let your body and mind rest and reset.
Staying Focused and Being Mindful
Part of planning and mapping out your day is building in some quiet time. For me, the Headspace app, offered through DHG's wellness program, has been valuable, and I recommend that all of us set aside time for meditation using this benefit the firm offers us. Studies show that meditation can actually change your mind and body physiologically, allowing you to clear your mind and be more focused in all that you do. Mindfulness is really about helping all of our people prepare mentally and physically to push themselves on their journey to building a valuable career.
During this time of year, we talk a lot about deadlines and workload. When you sense the stress building, or negativity settling in, find a quiet spot, turn on the Headspace app, and meditate for about 10 minutes to clear your mind. It will help restore you from a stressful moment.
Living the Values of Energy for Life
The principles we learn through DHG's Energy for Life program have been incredibly valuable to me over the last several years. They have helped me take a step back to focus on my priorities and build a time and energy management plan around those priorities. Energy for Life teaches fundamental wellness skills to enable any professional to be successful on a long-term basis.
One essential principle for me is being fully engaged in the moment, and part of that is consciously removing technology distractions when you need to focus. This means actively picking up your phone, turning it off, and putting it in a drawer. Or, if you have a smart watch, it means disconnecting it so it doesn’t buzz every few minutes. These distractions actually break down your attention level and keep you from getting your work done and being productive.
Even though it can be hard to find focus and extra ounces of energy this time of year, I encourage you to be intentional in planning your day, focus on mindfulness and don’t forget the key principles of Energy for Life. These methods have truly changed the way I tackle my day and my schedule, especially during this busier time of year.
To my fellow DHG team members, thank you for your dedication to DHG and our clients during this busy time of year and all year long.