Stress can leave you feeling unable to concentrate, irritable, and confused and is related to a whole host of physical symptoms, too. One of the most common reasons people say they feel stressed is job pressures, with an unbelievable 40% of workers claiming they found their jobs extremely stressful.
Those suffering from stress are more likely to call in sick and be signed off from work. In fact, U.S. businesses lose an estimated $300 billion every year due to stress-related absences.
Entrepreneurs may find many different aspects of their business that cause them stress. Even the initial stages, such as creating your website, can be tricky. Luckily, using a website builder like Boxmode can help reduce stress caused by creating a business page. It’s fast, intuitive, and doesn’t require any tech skills to get started.
So why is managing stress so important?
Feeling stressed can take a significant toll on all areas of your life. For entrepreneurs, there are many reasons why tackling stress as soon as possible is crucial. Feeling stressed means your decision-making ability plummets, and you’ll find work piling up; you’re likely to become less clear about what your goals are and what you need to achieve. You’re likely to become irritable and unprofessional around colleagues, and you’ll become exhausted and overwhelmed. Stress can also make you feel more detached and disinterested in your life and can even lead to depression. Some physical consequences of stress include dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations, chest pains, heartburn, muscle tension, and fatigue.
What are the best ways to reduce stress?
Running your own business will never be easy and will likely involve long hours, lots of hard work, and many obstacles to overcome along the way. However, recognizing and tackling signs of stress as soon as they occur means you can learn to manage stress and take the appropriate action before it has a severe effect on your health and your business.
So, what are some of the critical steps you can take to make stress a thing of the past? Here are some useful tips:
1. Exercise regularly
Staying active is crucial when it comes to remaining focused, clear-headed, and calm. This doesn’t mean you need to pound the weights at the gym for hours every evening or set yourself a challenge of completing a triple Ironman by this time next year. Rather, it’s essential to keep moving and find a fun form of exercise that you enjoy that gets your blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing.
Exercise releases feel-good endorphins, which will help you remain in a positive mindset. Physical activity also helps keep your weight down and helps you to feel fitter and healthier, which can make you more resilient. Exercise also offers an opportunity for some alone time when you can think and reflect on problems or concerns and find solutions away from the pressures of a busy working environment.
2. Eat well
A healthy diet can also help when feelings of stress start to take over. Many foods have calming and stress-relieving properties that can help you cope with chronic stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and more. Consuming these nutritious foods can help you get a good night’s sleep, feel more relaxed and calm, and contain nutrients that will help manage the body’s response to stress. You can find a detailed list of some of the scientifically proven stress-relieving food here.
3. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness is all about opening our awareness, so we are more in tune with what is going on inside us. Nowadays, there are so many different demands on our time it can be challenging to stop and allow ourselves to feel, notice our feelings and reactions to things, and better understand how our thoughts affect our behavior.
Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us and better understand ourselves. Using mindfulness as a tool to explore our thoughts and reactions can help reduce stress. Through the practice, we can begin to regain more awareness of how impactful and damaging thoughts can be, break repetitive and unhelpful cycles of thought, and be more connected to the present moment.
Mindfulness meditation can be another great way to take this practice further. This involves sitting quietly and focusing on the breath or another home base and noticing when thoughts creep in, allowing them to be there but then bringing your attention back whenever the mind starts to wander.
4. Take breaks
Without taking regular breaks, it’s easy to feel as though the pressures of work as an entrepreneur are never-ending. There’s plenty of evidence suggesting that taking breaks throughout the working day helps people become more productive. According to a Tork survey, employees who take proper breaks have increased job satisfaction. They are more likely to stay with the company, and recommend their employer to others. Happy workers are more productive, less stressed, and less likely to call in sick, too.
5. Discover sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene can be beneficial for those finding it difficult to get enough sleep at night. People who are stressed can find it tough to drift off to sleep, and the lack of sleep results in fatigue, which can only exacerbate the stress. Having a restful sleep at night can make all the difference in starting your day feeling positive and energized, and good sleep hygiene can help with this.
People who practice sleep hygiene will:
- Avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking alcohol at least two hours before bedtime.
- Turn off devices such as phones and TV at least an hour before sleep.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every day.
- Try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
- Give themselves time to wind down before bed, such as reading a book, listening to music, having a warm bath, or doing relaxation exercises.
6. Make space for you time
Having time to yourself is important, and even when trying to spearhead a successful business, you should still prioritize carving out a small amount of time for yourself each day. Managing a work-life balance is crucial. Challenges are unavoidable for small business owners and can be both emotional, physical, mental, and financial.
However, while many factors are likely to cause stress, balancing the hours you work with personal time is essential. To do this, entrepreneurs must set their work hours as though they were doing a regular job and stop working at the end of the day. Switch off email notifications and your business phone on weekends or on holidays and have scheduled family time or alone time that’s non-negotiable.
7. Practice good communication
Stress can build up if you feel unable to communicate appropriately. Good communication leads to clarity and decisive action, both of which are hugely important in any business setting. If you cannot communicate well, you’ll feel frustrated, and miscommunication could lead to stressful situations in both your professional and personal life.
The better you share, the more you will build relationships with others, and the better you can succinctly and directly ask for what you need. This will help your business run more smoothly, foster harmonious relationships between you and your employees and those you conduct business with, and will make you feel calm and in control.
8. Know your triggers
We all get stressed for different reasons. We feel stressed if we don’t get enough sleep or don’t have time to get outside to get fresh air every day. We get stressed if we become disorganized or if we procrastinate, or if we spend too much time looking at our screens.
Taking the time to learn your triggers and then working out how to avoid them can help you manage stress better. For example, you might need to get up earlier and go for a walk each day to clear your head. You may have to force yourself to turn your phone off at the end of the working day or introduce a new filing system to help you keep on top of paperwork. Whatever your triggers are, if you can identify them and find practical solutions to minimize the likelihood of these triggers being set off, the less stressed you’ll feel.
9. Get help if you need it
Last, it’s essential to recognize when stress is out of control and seek help if it becomes unmanageable. You might find that talking to family and friends helps. However, seeking professional assistance is also advisable if stress is taking over your life and affecting your health and business.
Owning your business is a roller coaster ride, and while it can be exciting and deeply rewarding, there will be times when it’s exhausting and stressful. Being in tune with yourself and noticing when you feel stressed will help you take appropriate action.
Stress management is good for both you and your business, so use the tips above to devise stress-busting strategies that will allow your business to flourish.