The Millennial Pilgrim: How to stay sane as a manager... An easy guide

Here's a lowdown on handling the many demands of being a manager and leveraging the role to emerge stronger as a professional

Somi DasUpdated: Thursday, May 26, 2022, 12:21 PM IST
article-image
Photo: Freepik

It's almost a year, and I am yet to come to terms with the change my life has gone from being a footloose nomadic freelancer to a full-time manager glued to her screen for 12 hours a day. All of a sudden, my old nervous anxiety was back. The chattering of teeth, sweaty palms, and shortness of breath. All my mindfulness activism, Yoga fanaticism, and swearing by a clean lifestyle went for a toss. I was back to eating unhealthy food and gained too many kilos in a short period. I blamed the job, and all jobs for forcing people into living a low-quality lifestyle. I thought of quitting, like always.

But again there is no data to prove that you will not eat unhealthy, or workout regularly if you had a less demanding job. So, I decided to stop blaming the job, and take some personal responsibility for how I showed up each day. The truth is once you have spent five good years in an industry, and your salary has crossed a certain threshold, there are only managerial jobs left to choose from unless you are in a very highly technical job profile.

A manager's body and mind are sites of anxiety. It is also to a great extent a lonely role. You have to supervise, train people, and assign tasks, and if you are in the communications field, you have to also bring your creative energy to the table — bringing forth original ideas and executing them. You have to do good by your management, and good by your team members. All this can overwhelm an individual's nervous system and cause lasting damage to their mental and physical health. Here are a few ways to keep you sane and physically healthy as you navigate the many demands of being a manager:

1. Acceptance is the key. Don't delay accepting that being a manager means less number of holidays, long working hours, and a commitment to get the task done. Acceptance has a calming effect on your nervous system. It will protect you from frequent mood swings, binge-eating sprees, and self-sabotaging behaviour.

2. Do not over-value so-called creative work. Managerial work is no less creative. Being able to write a screenplay or a book may be the dream of every creative person. But managing people, meeting targets, and coming up with solutions to difficult problems requires way more creativity than JK Rowling's imagination can muster up.

3. Save plenty of money. Do not overindulge materialistically while coping with the stress of being a manager. Only invest in things that make your life easy or truly elevate the quality of your life. Or else, you will always be hand to mouth, even with a fat pay cheque.

4. Believing what you are doing has some intrinsic value. If not for anything else, it teaches you people management.

5. Cultivate young talent. We believe networking with high profile people will land us better jobs. Equally important is to network with your juniors. Eventually, when you land your dream job or start an enterprise of your own, these are the people who will move in with you in your life's next adventure.

6. Do not forget to build your brand while you are serving a company.

7. Eat right. Have a spiritual life. Switch off and relax. And hit the yoga mat. Do 10 sets of surya namaskar diligently. Do whatever. Simply move. Don't be paralysed by the anxiety of being a manager and pile on those extra kilos. It's bad for your metabolism and digestion, and your overall productivity.

8. Learn a new skill that the job profile allows you to pick up, with honesty. Without constantly complaining that you are not paid enough to learn new skills.

9. Being available 24x7 to your bosses, to be in their good books, is definitely a bad strategy. This only shows you to be underconfident and trying to compensate with long hours rather than real work.

10. Be assertive enough to make demands from your employers of the things that make your life easy as a manager. Have a list of non-negotiables before you sign up.

11. Never fall for the trap of pleasing your bosses. That is one endless tunnel. And there is no light on the other end. Create an internal validation mechanism to keep you going.

12. Know the perfect pristine life promoted by wellness influencers doesn't exist. They have created an illusory lifestyle that is impossible to maintain in the long run. It's the surest way to be broke in no time. You have to find your calm, and joy in the middle of a day buzzing with calls, targets, presentations and meetings.

13. Make time for therapy if resources allow you to. Reorient yourself if you have stopped finding meaning in anything you do. An existential crisis is a reality of every manager's life. Spot the symptoms and seek help before anxiety becomes your default mode of bodily experience. Because a manager's life is more or less structured in the same way for most days, you need to reboot from time to time.

(The writer is a mental health and behavioural sciences columnist, conducts art therapy workshops and provides personality development sessions for young adults. She can be found @the_millennial_pilgrim on Instagram and Twitter.)

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Maharashtra Assembly session begins to elect Speaker

Maharashtra Assembly session begins to elect Speaker

Home Minister Amit Shah to table political resolution at BJP national executive meeting

Home Minister Amit Shah to table political resolution at BJP national executive meeting

Two armed LeT terrorists overpowered by brave villagers; handed over to police in J-K's Reasi

Two armed LeT terrorists overpowered by brave villagers; handed over to police in J-K's Reasi

Watch video: Rahul Gandhi helps to shift accident victim to hospital in Kerala

Watch video: Rahul Gandhi helps to shift accident victim to hospital in Kerala

Registration deadline for CUET PG 2022 extended; Find Direct Link here

Registration deadline for CUET PG 2022 extended; Find Direct Link here