Start a business, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.
What they didn’t say is that it’s also one of the most stressful paths you could choose.
You might have world-class employees who go the extra mile, but at the end of the day they go home and forget about the business, while you lie awake till 2 am thinking about cash flow, HR dilemmas and how to get more clients.
There is no denying that starting and running your own business is one of the most rewarding experiences on the planet. But with this reward comes an enormous amount of stress that can often feel overwhelming. Production of your products, implementation of your services, managing staff and trying to figure out how to make ends meet is just the tip of the iceberg of the factors that can have an enormous impact on your stress as an entrepreneur. Learning how to identify stress signals in your body and manage your stress will not only have a positive impact on your health and productivity but on your business too.
Start the day right
One of the most important things you can do to alleviate and avoid stress is to set a productive morning routine and stick to it! Set your intentions for the day ahead and plan a schedule for all the important activities that need to be completed. Make sure to factor in regular breaks to prevent any unnecessary interruptions. Better yet, plan your schedule the night before so that you wake up feeling ready to tackle the day with a clear and positive mindset.
Make a list
If you’re feeling stressed and anxious about the tasks at hand, put them in a list. Rank them from most to least urgent so that you know which ones need to be addressed first. This will give you a bird’s eye perspective of just how bad the problem actually is and will make you realise how achievable it may be.
Exercise, not extra fries!
By now we all know the health benefits of exercise. Not only does it help us look good, but the mental health benefits are undeniable too. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which aid the brain in feeling clearer, happier and allows you to focus better throughout your day. Increased levels of focus have a direct result on productivity which inevitably results in getting more done. And hey presto! Less stress.
When you are feeling stressed avoid foods that are highly saturated in fats. These leave you feeling lethargic and heavy. We know sometimes all you want is comfort food but opt for “good” fats that are high in omega-3 and foods that have stress-busting supplements like Vitamin D, Vitamin B complex and magnesium. These help the brain to function more efficiently and give you more energy.
Make sure your finances are up to date
Do you feel daunted when you hear the “M” word? Money. Finances are not only a major concern and source of anxiety for entrepreneurs but staying up to date with your company’s finances can help identify potential financial opportunities in your business.
Make sure you have an excellent accountant who has all your business finances and tax commitments up to date monthly.
Jack of all trades but master of none? Stop trying to carry the business on your shoulders alone and learn to delegate your tasks to someone else. You can’t do it all and you don’t need to either. Delegating some essential tasks frees up time, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.
Concerned about the cost of hiring a new employee? Consider outsourcing instead of hiring an entire in-house team. Outsourcing allows you to pay for the time you need instead of being bound to a permanent, costly contract.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to a peer, mentor, or other support structures to vent your frustrations and to get feedback. They may be able to offer your sound advice or solutions and may make you realise your problems are not as big as they may seem. This will also help you remain level-headed, knowing you are not the only entrepreneur who is or has gone through something similar.
It is physically and mentally impossible to have your entrepreneurial switch always on. Never flicking the off switch will drain all your creativity, motivation and will leave you feeling completely exhausted, resulting in more stress for an unsustainable length of time.
Talk about a vicious cycle, right? You need to learn to take time out and do something for yourself, outside of work. Find a hobby, grab a coffee date with a friend, go for a surf, read a book, get a massage, and make sure to book that into your schedule. Recharge those batteries, you’re not a Duracell bunny!
Quiet your mind
When you’re feeling stressed, learn to quiet your mind and body. The power of meditation is invaluable. It can help clear your mind, improve memory retention, reduces anxiety, and lets you let go of the things that are bothering you. Read more about the power of meditation for holistic wellbeing and success here.
Express yourself through journaling
We aren’t saying we expect you to become the next Tim Ferris, although we wouldn’t stop you either, writing down your thought processes and the way you feel can help relieve some of the stress that may be playing on your mind.
Think of your journal as a therapist that doesn’t speak back. List the reasons why you are grateful for where you are now, your goals and what you’ve already accomplished. It will give you an undeniable sense of purpose and leave you feeling more confident to tackle the challenges you face.
It can wait
Although in the middle of a stressful time it might seem impossible to walk away. But, turning off and shutting down gives your brain time to reshift and refocus. Step back, take a breather, enjoy the moment, and then go forth and conquer.
Improper management of stress can lead to burnout so, nip it in the bud before the problem may arise. With these stress management tips, you’ll be guaranteed a calmer more productive day allowing you to grow your business from strength to strength.