Running your own business shouldn’t mean running yourself into the ground. Unfortunately, stress, and stress-related illness, is extremely common among entrepreneurs. So, here are 10 tips to help you spot and control your stress levels.
Headaches – stress often comes with headaches. If you start developing frequent headaches, it could be time to take a break and de-stress.
Nervousness – some nerves can be good to help you ace a big pitch, but feeling nervous before any small task could be a sign of stress.
Drinking – coffee or alcohol. Too much of either won’t help your stress levels in the long run, no matter how it may feel at the time.
Mood – are you finding that people are finding you difficult to be with? You’re getting irritable more and more easily? You guessed it – another symptom of stress!
Your body – your body will let you know when stress is getting the better of you. As well as the headaches you might find sleeping increasing difficult, that you need to go to the loo more and more often, and you might develop of wind issue (yes, flatulence can be a sign of stress).
Be realistic – look at your goals and try to be realistic with what you can do. Of course, you’re going to feel stressed if you have 2 weeks of work to do, but you’ve only budgeted a day to do it in! Be realistic with your customers too. If you tell them two weeks and it takes two weeks, everyone is happy. If you tell them two days and it takes two weeks, you’re stressed, the customer is stressed and no-one’s happy.
Exercise – work off your stress through exercise. It really does work! It can be a great time to think, too, and may help you work better once you’re done.
Share – talk to someone who will support you. This could be a friend, a partner, or a parent – anyone who will listen! Sometimes just talking through your problems helps to lighten them.
Charities – there are charities set up specifically to help people deal with stress and mental illness where you can find support and advice.
Professionals – Stress can affect both your mental and physical health, so don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
Stress levels tend to rise gradually so it can often be hard to spot when you transition from healthy, motivational nerves, to unhealthily stressed. Pay attention to your body and take time to relax. Stress can make you far less effective, so don’t think of de-stressing as wasted time, but as charging your batteries for the next challenge.