Karren Brady’s career advice on how to deal with stress at work


APPRENTICE star and West Ham United Vice-Chairman Karren Brady answers your career questions and meets an inspiring CEO.

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


Karren Brady, Baroness Brady, CBE is a British business executive and television personality

Q) I work in the scientific industry and my job can sometimes be stressful when we are driven to achieve results.

While my colleagues seem to thrive on adrenaline, I’m the opposite. I’m sensitive and tend to get stuck in a cycle of overanalyzing something a co-worker has said.

I’m afraid of confrontation, but I also get anxious if I feel like I’m being left out or not being listened to. How can I better manage stress related to my work?

Katie via email

A) It is important to manage stress because it can overwhelm our professional and personal lives.

I appreciate that when work is busy, it’s hard to prioritize 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 healthy and getting quality sleep.

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

No one likes confrontation, but there are healthy ways to deal with it that don’t lead to conflict.

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

Practice ways to stop overthinking, like mindfulness, which helps you release negative thoughts and focus on the present moment.

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

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

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

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The Bossing It is Fabulous series about everyday women who started amazing businesses.

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

Learn 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 shoe brand Sante + Wade, which focuses on larger and larger sizes. She lives in north London with her twins Tayo and Lara, 12, and son Lani, eight.

I wake up at…

Around 6:15 a.m. – with a moan! A cup of hot lemon water enlivens me, 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 e-mail for new orders, then I start drawing drawings. Four days a week, I work alone at home, but I chat with my associate Agnès Cushnie, our marketing brain, hundreds of times a day. We never make a big decision without consulting each other.

Every Thursday afternoon we spend three hours together reviewing cases and working side by side, often at the Mayfair members’ club, Allbright. I love the buzz of listening to other women achieve great things. But it’s not all glamorous – three times a week I use our accounting software to track invoices.

When it’s busy, I often forget to have lunch, but I try to grab a bite between noon and 1 p.m. I would like to disengage a little more, but my days are quite short because school pick-ups start at 3 p.m. I go back to work once the kids are in bed. I like the quiet for tasks that require space to think, 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 nice. 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 is time consuming and incredibly annoying!

I relax by…

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

I have fixed periods in the day when I work hard and then when I give my full attention to the children. When they’re in bed, I feel recharged to finish work or sit down with a word puzzle.

Karren cannot respond to emails personally. The content is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.


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