Stress Management from a Working Father

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A baby sleeping with a blanket and stuffed animal.It’s Stress Awareness Month, and between frightening world events and any Q2 projects kicking off, the stress we all are feeling is at an all-time high. I also added my own, extremely welcome stressor in the form of my first son, born on February 21st. It sounds like my son will be joining a lot of other fresh faces, in what will probably be the next generational group after Gen Z. I’m a little over a month into this new journey, so I’ve started to develop some tools that are keeping my stress at bay. I wanted to pass my top three on to all my fellow working parents out there

1. Make a Business Roadmap

What is it that you really need to get done in the next three months? Yes, too many unanswered emails and Teams messages give me palpitations, too. However, I had to step back and ask myself, “What part of my job was mission-critical and what could be put on the back burner for a little bit?” For those that have gone through the WSU Online MBA or EMBA program, we know how important it is to list things out. Once I had a good grasp on what must be done, I was able to prioritize and determine a course of action.

2. If You Manage Employees, Delegate; If Not, Ask For Help

Now that I have my do-or-die list of projects, I can turn my attention to who could actually get them done. That’s correct, take your most important projects, and give them away if you can. This comes from someone who has been called a control freak on more than one occasion, so releasing my grasp on some of my capital projects wasn’t easy. Even if you aren’t planning on taking any leave time (which you really should; enjoy that baby), your time will be more limited than you can ever imagine. Set clear project milestones for whoever is taking on the task and be available if an issue arises. When you are running on 3 hours of sleep and trying to do another midnight feeding, you will be happy these are off your plate.

3. Forgive Yourself For Slowing Down

If you continue working, or once you return, you’ll find you don’t have the energy you used to. It’s just part of being a parent, and it won’t last forever. Forgive yourself and know that your career won’t stagnate if you can’t make every meeting or jump on to every business flight. Being present for your new child is your priority now, and you need to be happy and healthy to do so. It’s a win-win, as you get to have more time with your child and use them as the ultimate reason to finally slow down.

Finally, just grab that baby, hold them close, and close your eyes. Remember this moment and cherish it. Right now, they can’t lift their head, but in a blink, you will be moving them to Pullman. The reports can wait.

By #CougaMBAssador Aaron Wheeler

Aaron Wheeler headshot.