Stress, Burnout, and the Importance of Self Care

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Awareness Advantage Podcast
Stress, Burnout and the Importance of Self-Care

Kevin McCarthy, and Likky Lavji


The following is a summary of this episode of the Awareness Advantage podcast. Each week bestselling Blind Spots authors, Kevin McCarthy and Likky Lavji and a studio audience of managers and senior leaders throughout North America discuss overcoming blind spots to develop and lead high-functioning, high-trust teams and organizational cultures. If you would like to be invited to join the live virtual studio audience, click here

We all know what stress is… but how do you define stress?


Truth is, it can be different for different people, but there are some common threads. Stress is unmanaged emotions or thoughts, external pressure points that either cannot or are not being controlled.

When there is more stimuli going on than one can process, they feel stress. 


Causes of Stress

In the workplace, perceived differences in priorities, and lack of communication or understanding are the biggest causes of stress. are not able to cope with the demands of their jobs. Employees feel the most stress when they are unable to control the way they do their work, or don’t fully understand their role and responsibilities. Stress can also occur when employees are having trouble with relationships at work, or when they are not involved when a business is undergoing change.

Can Stress be Good?

Yes. Some stress can be good stress. Too little stress can lead to boredom and even depression. The right amount of acute stress can energize the brain and improve performance. Think about your favorite procrastinator who does their best work under pressure.


Common Stress Triggers

  • Time Management – planning 
  • Not having control - unplanned things
  • When people add emotions


Why Can’t We Just Say No?


What Warns You That You are in a Stressful Situation

Sometimes, stress is simmering, but you may not recognize it yet. Being aware of these early warning signs can help us initiate self care before we burn out.

  • Not sleeping
  • Biting nails
  • Snapping at people
  • Irritability
  • Reactive
  • Over-snacking 
  • Avoidance
  • Craving Caffeine


Time to De-Stress

Once you recognize the signs of stress, you can make an effort to take control of the bad stress and use the good stress to your advantage. Doing things like creating separate spaces for work and spaces for rest, choosing your own priorities, and removing triggers that cause stress can make a huge difference. You have the choice of being deliberate and seeking the outcomes that you are looking for. You can also recognize and accept the consequences. Taking control allows you to have the energy and wherewithal to deal with stress. You have more energy to deal with it if it is your choice and it is under your control.


What is one thing you are not doing that you could do. One more layer of self care

  • Music
  • Take longer drive
  • Lunch time
  • Dog for walk
  • Book extra 10 minutes
  • More margin in the schedule
  • Discipline then motivation
  • Meditate
  • Know when you think best (critical thinking)
  • Call best friend
  • Coffee with a colleague
  • Do exercise
  • Entertainment
  • Walk at lunch

Raising your self-awareness and emotional intelligence will make you a better leader. High self-awareness equips you to identify and conquer the blind spots that lead to poor decisions, strained relationships and high levels of stress. Awareness is the leader’s superpower that drives engagement, inspires retention and shifts culture. Awareness gives you the advantage you need to influence and inspire the people you lead.


If you would like to know more about how self-awareness makes a better leader, download our latest podcast.



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