Winter is coming: How to Reduce Stress as A Remote Leader Without Losing Your Cool

Posted on Thu, Oct 21, 2021

How to Reduce Stress as A Remote Leader

Work from home

Working from home is a dream for many, but it can also be incredibly stressful.

I bet, you’ve experienced it yourself.

The challenges of Remote Work

In fact, most people don’t realize this until they try to work remotely and then suddenly feel burned out.

As a solution, some remote workers plan their days down to the minute in order to make sure that they get everything done.

This leads them to feel like a hamster on a wheel, constantly running but never going anywhere.

It’s no wonder why so many remote employees end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

This is why it’s important to be proactive about stress reduction — which is why you are here, high five!

In this article, I’ll be sharing my top tips for remote leaders who want to reduce stress while working remotely.

As a leader, you have the power to inspire your team by showing them what calm and peaceful leadership looks like.

Lead yourself with competence so that your team can see how great it feels to learn from an experienced practitioner.

Luckily, there are some simple things you can do in order to reduce stress when working remotely without having to plan too much ahead of time.

How to reduce stress in 6 easy steps

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” - James Clear in Atomic Habit

1. Give yourself a time-frame for when you need to be done with work

Working remote is all about finding the balance between work and life.

But, if you’re like me, then it feels like there’s never an end to what needs doing.
There are always more emails to answer or tasks left undone before I can call my day done!

It can be hard to know when exactly ’the point’ should come.

One of the most effective solutions is to set an imaginative “press conference” deadline. Until when exactly does something have to be ready?

Set a date and time and stick to it, as if you are holding a press conference. Then you will truly understand, what “done is better than perfect” means.

2. Set goals for the day and break them down into manageable chunks

It’s a new day, and you have a lot going on.

You don’t want to get overwhelmed, so an easy to implement solution is to break your tasks into achievable chunks!

In the book “Atomic Habits“ the author James Clear dives into deep details on how to create a system of becoming better every day.

One main aspect is to create small, easy to handle tasks, that can be done within the day.

The idea is that when we make these goals achievable, they become more motivating.

3. Find an online tool or app that lets you keep track of your progress

Keeping track of your goals and progress can be difficult.

It’s easy to get distracted or lose momentum when you don’t have a strategy in place.

Luckily, there are many tools and apps available that will help keep you on track!
One app that may work for you is Habitica, which gamifies productivity by turning habits into quests.

You set up your own list of tasks (e.g., “praise teammates,” “go for a walk once a day”) and then receive rewards when you complete them (e.g., gold coins, health potions).

The game element makes it fun to stay motivated, the time-tracking feature helps with accountability, and the chat forums connect people who share similar goals, so they can support each other through their journeys.

In case you want to keep it simple, you can just use this official notion Template, that let’s you track your progress in a simple, yet powerful way.

4. Take breaks every hour — five minutes is better than nothing!

The research is in, taking breaks every hour will help you become more productive and reduce stress.

It’s not about how long the break is, it’s about making sure to take a break at all!

The average human can only handle so much before becoming mentally exhausted.

That means that working for eight hours straight without any kind of break could be counterproductive and may lead to poor performance or even mental health issues.

5.  Do something else during those breaks, like reading a book or going for a walk

As a Remote Leader, you are always on.

You work long hours, hop from one meeting to the next, and never stop moving. It’s no surprise that you need a break, as I just mentioned.

You have to actively seek out things to have nothing to do with your job. Take a walk without looking at your cellphone (leave it at home!), or read a fiction book, that does not discuss how companies can increase their ROIs.

Take your focus away from work-related topics, so you can really unwind the mind.

6.  Get up from your desk and stretch at least once an hour

Staying in one place for long periods of time is not good for your body and can lead to back pain and many other inconveniences.

To combat this, try to get up from your desk at least once an hour and stretch or walk around.

Trust me, you’ll feel better and be more productive as a result!

2 Reminders for stress reduction while working remotely

Create boundaries between work and personal life by setting up an office space in a different room of the house if possible

  1. Give yourself permission to take breaks during the day, even if they’re just 10 minutes long. It’s totally ok not to be at the Desk the whole day!
  2. Take care of your body by drinking water, eating healthy food, and getting enough sleep. Yes, I know it sounds basic, but these are the things that are often overseen

As a leader, it’s your job to show your team that remote work can be rewarding and satisfying.

If you feel like all the pressure is getting too much for you, take some time off or talk out how you’re feeling with someone close to you.

You don’t want to let this stress negatively affect not only yourself, but also those who depend on you in order for them to do their jobs well!

There are plenty of ways that leaders have found balance while working remotely, so there’s no reason why any one person should go without support.


Photo from Vlada Karpovich from Pexels
Animation by vik4graphic from Lottiefiles
Brain Image Microsoft Research/Illustration by Brown Bird Design from Microsoft WTI Pulse Report