Karren Brady's career advice on how to manage stress at work

APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady answers your careers questions and meets an inspirational CEO.

Here she gives a reader advice on how to better manage work-related stress.

Q) I work in the science industry and my job can sometimes be stressful when we’re being pushed to get results.

While my colleagues seem to thrive on the adrenalin, I’m the opposite. I’m sensitive and tend to get stuck in a cycle of overanalysing something a colleague has said.

I shy away from confrontation, but I also get anxious if I feel I’m being sidelined or not listened to. How can I better manage the stress my job brings?

Katie, via email

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A) It’s important to manage stress, as it can overwhelm both our professional and personal lives.

I appreciate that when work is busy it’s hard to prioritise taking time for yourself, but it’s essential to avoid burnout.

Force yourself to take breaks for fresh air and exercise, and make sure you’re eating healthily and getting quality sleep.

Doing these things will help you manage your response to tense situations.

Nobody likes confrontation, but there are healthy ways to deal with it that don’t lead to conflict.

First, you need to determine if you’re being overly sensitive or if someone is being intentionally rude.

Practise ways to stop overthinking, such as mindfulness, which helps to pull you out of your negative thoughts and into the present moment.

Plus there are polite but forceful ways to interject: “Excuse me, please can you clarify what you mean by that?” or: “I hear what you’re saying, but I would also like to add…”

If you think someone is being continually rude, tell them you’ve noticed a bit of a discord and ask if there are any better ways you can work together.

Although I know this will take you out of your comfort zone, it’s important to try to be strong and resilient.

Be a boss

Bossing It is Fabulous’ series about ordinary women who have launched incredible businesses.

It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you!

Read more at Thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.

A day in the life of…

Shola Asante is the co-founder and CEO of women’s footwear brand Sante + Wade, which focuses on wider and larger sizes. She lives in north London with her twins Tayo and Lara, 12, and son Lani, eight.

I wake up at…

Around 6.15am – with a groan! A cup of hot water with lemon livens me up, then I get the kids ready for school. After drop-off, I relax for 15 minutes before work starts at 9am.

A normal day involves…

First I check emails for new orders and then I start sketching designs. Four days a week, I work alone at home, but I speak with my business partner Agnès Cushnie, our marketing brain, umpteen times a day. We never make a big decision without consulting each other.

Every Thursday afternoon, we spend three hours together reviewing the business and working side-by-side, often at Mayfair members’ club Allbright. I love the buzz of listening to other women achieving great things. It’s not all glamorous though – three times a week I use our accounting software to keep invoices ticking along.

When it’s busy I often forget to eat lunch, but I try to grab a bite between midday and 1pm. I’d like to disengage a little bit more, but my days are quite short because school pick-ups begin at 3pm. I return to my work after the kids are in bed – I like quiet for tasks that require thinking space, like writing reports.

The best thing about my job is…

The creative process – starting with a blank canvas and playing around with fabrics and swatches.

And unsolicited feedback  is lovely. A woman in Australia recently emailed to say that receiving her beautiful size 11 shoes was one of the happiest days of her life. 

And the worst…

If someone’s order goes missing, getting in touch with the courier takes time and is incredibly dull!

I wind down by…

A year after launching the business in 2018, it had taken over my life. Now, for my work/life balance, I compartmentalise.

I have fixed periods in the day when I’m all-in with work and then when I give the kids my undivided attention. When they’re in bed, I feel recharged to finish off work or sit down with a word puzzle. 

  •  For more information on Sante + Wade, visit Santewade.com. 

Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.

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