As an entrepreneur, you are probably facing high levels of stress. Stress can be bad for your health. Here are some easy ways to cope with stress
In today’s world we face some form of stress on a daily basis. It could be anything – driving to work in heavy traffic, the maid coming late, the water lorry not showing up, family problems…the list can go on and on. Stress means different things to different people. And for entrepreneurs, who have to shoulder the weight of running a business, stress can become a daily reality.
When you run a business, you have several stressors – from you’re the success or failure of your business to finances, employees, the competition, a possibly unhealthy lifestyle, lack of sleep, constant worry…and more. And more so if you have just started a business. If you work from home, juggling your business and home can be extremely stressful. There are no lines between work and home and you find yourself overwhelmed.
It is virtually impossible to avoid stressors. We live in an imperfect and capricious world where we will face some form of stress. Stress can be triggered by a physical or emotional change, or a change in your environment that requires you to adjust or respond. Things that make you feel stressed are called ‘stressors’. Stressors can be small irritants, major lifestyle changes or a combination of the two.
As mentioned in an earlier article, over a long period of time stress takes its toll on the body – physically, mentally and emotionally. After a point you will find yourself exhausted – in body and mind. You could develop high blood pressure, diabetes, and insomnia. Stress, especially odd, long working hours with no exercise and work pressures can lead to Coronary Artery Disease in even in youngsters. Psychological stress also has physical consequences and we harm ourselves by stressful thinking. We deluge our body with stress hormones and create a vicious cycle, making us increasingly stressful.
Here are some tips to deal with stress:
- The first step is to recognize your symptoms of stress and what is causing them. Are you working too hard? Do you have financial issues, family issues or issues with yourself?
- Examine your lifestyle and see what can be changed – at work, at home. For instance, if you are working manically, maybe you need to step back and see how you can free up your day. Could you delegate tasks? Hire someone? Work a few hours less? Find time for a walk?
- Use relaxation techniques – yoga, meditation, deep breathing, massage, aromatherapy, etc. These really help to calm you down and make you happier. Meditation is one of the best remedies for stress. Try it; it really works!
- Make time for exercise. Physical activity is one of the most successful stress remedies since it releases feel-good endorphins. And, the icing on the cake is that you get fitter and healthier too.
- Make sure to manage your time well. Do essential tasks and prioritize the others. Organizing the details of your daily life reduces stress. Do your most unpleasant or most difficult task at the beginning of the day when you are fresh, thereby avoiding the stress of last-minute preparation. Procrastination feeds stress!
- Watch what you eat. Alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fats and tobacco all put a strain on your body’s ability to cope with stress. Eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and foods high in protein but low in fat. Avoid junk food. If your business is keeping you too busy to eat, carry some fruits with you and some nuts to munch on when you are hungry. Or, pack food from home. Resist the temptation to order that calorific burger or greasy biryani!
- Rest is important. Get enough relaxation and sleep. Make some time for yourself. Read a book, watch a movie, play a game, listen to music or go on a holiday. Take time to indulge in something that you enjoy. It is the best stressbuster! Don’t forget to make time for fun.
- Keep your anger in check. Anger and impatience are huge contributors to stress. When you are angry work off the anger by going for a long walk, doing some spring-cleaning or some other physical activity that you enjoy.
- Know your limits. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Tackle one thing at a time – don’t try to do too much at once.
- Don’t be too competitive. In a world that’s driven by competition, that is a tall order, especially for an entrepreneur! But it boils down to being realistic and not pushing your limits. By all means, enhance your product or service but don’t go overboard and hanker for something that is beyond your capabilities. There’s nothing wrong in taking it a bit slow.
- Learn to appreciate what you have. A constant hankering for more leads to dissatisfaction and the stress just builds up. The more you have, the more you want. Break that vicious cycle and you will find yourself at peace. For instance, if your business is off to a slow start, accept that. And do whatever you have to do take it forward without getting all stressed out. Every business has its highs and lows. Ride out the lows with optimism and the confidence that it will peak sooner or later.
Yes, you may feel as if you are on a spinning wheel that is not letting you get off. But, as an entrepreneur, you knew the ride was going to be a vertiginous one. But learn to enjoy the ride. Learn to embrace the stress. Tell yourself that it won’t last. After all, every cloud has a silver lining. If you control your stress and anxiety, that silver lining will be clearer!