Stress is an inevitable part of sales -- and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Short periods of stress can actually increase cognitive brain function and help your performance.
If you perform well under pressure, some stress can help you pull out of a slump or rescue a precarious deal.
However, if you’re dealing with stress on a daily basis, make sure you give your body time to relax. Here are 14 ways to unwind after a stressful day in sales.
Did you know stress causes dehydration (and vice versa)? When your heart rate is accelerated and you’re breathing heavily, your body loses water.
By drinking more water, you decrease your levels of cortisol -- also known as “the stress hormone.” So next time you’re stressed, take your coffee IV out and drink a glass or two of water.
The Mayo Clinic reports that just a few minutes of meditation can reduce the information overload we experience each day. The benefits of meditation include fewer negative emotions and better stress management. Meditating also reduces anxiety, sleep issues, and high blood pressure.
Visualizing calm or peaceful scenes is a research-backed way to reduce anxiety. Visualization distracts you from stress, which triggers a relaxation response in the muscles. Guided meditation lowers blood pressure and stress hormones and leaves practitioners feeling energized and refreshed.
Laughing produces endorphins that reduce stress. If a prospect gave you a rough time on a call today, head to happy hour and blow off some steam. Just make sure you go with friends or coworkers who make you laugh.
5) Listen to Music
Listening to music lowers blood pressure, anxiety, and stress. Music triggers biomedical stress reducers and assists in treating anxiety.
Pack a playlist full of favorite tunes and listen to it on your commute. Your playlist will serve as a buffer between work and home, allowing your mind to decompress.
6) Drink Tea
Drinking black tea actually lowers post-stress levels of cortisol and aids relaxation. While it’s a good idea to avoid caffeine when you’re stressed (more on that below), if you can’t cut it out completely, choose black tea over coffee or energy drinks. You’ll still get the buzz, but you’ll also get added health and relaxation benefits.
7) Breathe Deeply
Taking a deep breath is another way to lower cortisol levels. Take a few long, steady breaths on your commute home. This begins the relaxation process and causes a temporary but immediate drop in blood pressure, which should also lower anxiety levels.
8) Try Aromatherapy
Aromas like lavender have been proven to promote calmness. Next time you’re feeling stressed, light your favorite scented candle or load up that diffuser with some lavender oil. Bonus points if you put your breathing exercises or meditation practice to work.
9) Take the 4 A’s Approach to Stress
The Mayo Clinic promotes “The 4 A’s approach” to combatting stress.
- Avoid: A lot of stress is avoidable. If you have a big demo in the morning, head home and start practicing. You’ll feel more prepared and less stressed.
- Alter: Decide whether you can change your stressful circumstances. Could you have better managed your time so you weren’t making all your calls at the last minute? Be proactive about changing what you can, and let your manager know when a situation is out of your hands.
- Accept: If you’re two hours away from the end of the quarter and several deals short of quota, it’s probably time to stop stressing and start accepting that you’re going to miss your number. Once you’ve accepted it, stop dwelling on negative thoughts and start putting together a strategy to ensure this never happens again.
- Adapt: If you think it’s impossible to get enough prospects on the phone this month, adapt your strategy or talk to your manager about adjusting that number.
10) Cut the Sugar & Caffeine
Caffeine and sugar actually stimulate your nervous system, raise your heartbeat, and increase blood pressure -- all of which contribute to feelings of stress. Cut sugar and caffeine out of your diet when you’re stressed at work. Instead, start stocking up on green tea.
11) Get a Hobby
The busier your life is, the more you need a hobby. Hobbies promote the creation of eustress, a healthy kind of stress that makes us excited about life. Hobbies also give us time to think about things outside work -- especially important for people in high-stress careers like sales.
12) Try Progressive Relaxation
This approach requires you to tense and relax different parts of your body. Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles of your face. Do the same with your neck, shoulders, and arms as you work your way down to your toes. The result is an ease of tension in the muscles and an overall sense of well-being. Try it out before bed for heightened relaxation and better sleep.
13) Talk to Someone
Whether it’s a friend or a therapist, sometimes you just need to talk. Stressed about your quota going up? Share how you’re feeling with a friend. Struggling to ramp up for the promotion you’re eyeing? Pull aside a mentor or trusted coworker to ask for advice.
14) Seek Out Ways to Improve
If you’re having trouble with a specific part of the sales process, like demoing or calling new prospects, stop stressing and start getting better. Talk to a mentor, work with your manager, take a class, and/or read a book on to improve your skills. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed when you’re stagnant. Keep moving and you’ll decrease stress.
Stress can be both motivating and debilitating. Stay on top of it, and always ask for help when you need it most. Once you learn to manage stress, you’ll be able to excel in your sales career.