Life is so fast paced nowadays that you feel one of these 2 emotions. Either you feel you are so busy that you do not have time for a break or it is too sinful to take a break when all of your friends are busy climbing the corporate ladder.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused stress levels to rise significantly, even more so for entrepreneurs who wear many hats at the same time. In business, time means money and in order to stay on track, entrepreneurs often find themselves falling deeper in the rat race, sacrificing their sleep and time with loved ones etc. Stress management seems like a luxury and over time, the stress builds up and causes major issues in their lives.
It is critically important to manage stress well because stress can take a toll on your mental health if left alone for a prolonged period of time. Knowing how to manage your stress helps you to maintain clarity and perspective, keeps company and business relationships intact and helps you make sound business decisions.
So how do you manage stress? Here are 8 effective tips:
1. Identity your stress signals
Different people respond differently under stress and they have different ways to cope with stress, either in their conscious or subconscious states. When under stress, some will have a worse temper than others while some resort to bingeing.
These symptoms manifest automatically when they are triggered by stress so be mindful when you “see” the symptoms appearing. As soon as you notice them, start to manage the stress so that it does not become a serious problem later.
2. Deal with stress head on
For many people, procrastination is a major issue and when you procrastinate, you feel relieved in the short term but this short-lived feeling soon turns into anxiety because you keep having this lingering thought that work is not completed yet.
Therefore choose to deal with the stress immediately rather than procrastinate. An urgent complaint or difficult business decision will not resolve by itself. The best option is to look into it immediately and get it over and done with.
3. Take breaks
It is important to have work life balance so taking breaks is part and parcel of achieving this balance. Breaks can come in several forms. It can be as simple as taking a 30 minute walk in nature, knocking off work at 6pm once a week and not replying to business messages, going for a massage, spending time with family or friends and even having a cup of coffee. The short reprieve can do wonders like recharging your mind or shedding some light on a challenging situation at work.
4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Eating healthy and regular exercise provide awesome benefits, the most obvious is having a toned body. It is not about being weight conscious, it is more about taking the effort and time to take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.
Exercise is a great stress reliever because working out pumps your endorphin levels (the brain’s feel good neurotransmitters) and when combined with healthy eating, you will feel more energised, happy and less stressful.
Sometimes it is hard to let go of the workload you are having because you feel that you can do it better compared to another person. However, if there is an overwhelming workload, you might risk having burnout in the long run. We cannot stress how important it is to delegate but what you need to do first is to accept that you cannot do everything by yourself.
Delegation comes in different ways. If you are a newbie entrepreneur and have no extra funds to hire a full time employee, you can choose to delegate some work by hiring a freelance or part time worker. Alternatively, you can choose automation tools to “delegate” some of your workload.
6. Keep track of your business’s financial health
Bookkeeping can be tedious and time consuming. There are many cloud based accounting tools today and you can link it to your corporate bank account so invoices, payments and expenses can be all tracked electronically. Not to mention, you can access the information 24/7 anywhere. You can even set up recurring invoices so they are sent automatically to remind customers on payment.
There are many accounting services providers available and they can be hired on demand, meaning you only pay them as and when you need. Having a professional eye into your finances will help you know your financial position better and make plans for the future. It also takes the burden off your shoulders so you can fully focus on your business while the accounting is taken care of by the professionals.
7. Pursue a hobby
It is highly recommended that you have a hobby because hobbies are things you like to do in your free time. Hobbies make your life interesting and stress free because when you are at it, you are not thinking or stressing about the business. Every individual has their preferences and it is crucial to know what hobby helps you to relax and have fun.
Research shows that hobbies help reduce stress, provide better physical health and sleep, more social connections, improved work performance as well as increased happiness. Hobbies are an outlet for us to vent our stress and frustrations.
8. Connect with like-minded entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are so busy that they do not have time for themselves, let alone time with family and friends. The great news is that though starting a business is challenging, you will soon realise that you are not alone in your journey because other entrepreneurs go through similar challenges.
You might find a friend in your business network and who knows, you might even gain a business partner you can trust. Physical and virtual workplaces as well as entrepreneur groups can be an effective way to share experiences and challenges.
In conclusion, stress happens to everyone and though work is important, taking out some me time is crucial to continual health, overall well being, great work performance and relationships. Stress management must be intentional.