Depending on who your boss is, what your team dynamic is like, how chaotic your org is or just a busy season, being a PM gets stressful very quickly. It can present itself in the form of an incomplete roadmap showing up in your dreams, or an endless checklist/to dos that trigger anxiety every time you see it or even just team members that cope by voicing their stress aloud & consequently stressing everyone nearby them as well.
How do you maintain sanity & low blood pressure as a PM, especially as a newly minted one?
- Take time off. Even if it’s only an afternoon off to the spa or a Monday off to spend at the zoo, it’s important to recognize when your mind & body are screaming for a break to the madness. And of course, use all your PTO. Basically just don’t push it to the edge…or you may end up dead.
- Find an at-work support network. Even if it’s just 1 other person you can rant to; it makes a world of a difference when you don’t have to hold all your thoughts & feelings in til 6pm everyday.
- Prioritize & be okay with letting things drop on purpose. You can’t be superwoman, and if you try, it’s a sure-road to self-inflicted stress. At the end of the day, you have finite time & setting the expectation that you will only accomplish what’s at the top of your list will also help your team feel less pressured to take care of every little thing someone asks them to do. If you have a hard time, consider: ‘will anyone remember or care that I didn’t do this a month from now? 6 months from now? 1 year from now?” If you’re not sure, ask your manager or just assume they probably wouldn’t care. It’s fine.
- Find a therapist. There’s only so much your support circle, your best friend & partner can do for you. Even if you don’t use it every week, having a therapist who can help you process the most difficult weeks will help you feel like you have a good ‘emergency button’ in place in case you get to a place where you just can’t deal with it through your normal techniques anymore.
- Meditate or at least just make sure you take deep breaths every now and then.