Running your own business can sometimes feel like you are in that constant state of high-alert, you’re continually in “fight or flight”, and people around you see you as stress out of constantly “wired.” You can’t seem to settle or sit down and you’re constantly on the go. People rely in you to do stuff, everything is on your shoulders, and the buck stops with you, and your high level of alert isn’t serving you. You run your business and your life on the internet, you couldn’t live without it, but you love it and hate it with equal measures. You are constantly connected, and therefore, constantly comparing and thinking there is always something more you should be doing.
I get it. I’ve been there – so there in fact, I lost my hair.
That was when I had my light bulb moment. It shouldn’t be like this… Being an entrepreneur should be empowering, not soul-destroyingly stressful.
Running a business is a lot of responsibility, and although there may be stressful times (and that is to be expected), if you are currently running your business from that place of high-level stress then today’s post is for you.
I’ve put together my top 5 tips for managing stress as an entrepreneur.
Now It has taken me a lot of time, variation and experimentation to find out what works for me. Therefore want you to experiment with the below suggestions and adapt them to your personality and style. No one knows you better than you know yourself…
1. You Are Your Own Boss
As entrepreneurs, we place ourselves in this wonderful position of being our own boss, which is an incredibly empowering position to be in. It means we can work when we want to work, take time off when we want to take time off, and work around our hobbies and loved ones so we can spend more time with them…Right?
More often than not, the majority of entrepreneurs find themselves working 24/7 trying to find and make time for loved ones, let alone ourselves. A position, I too, have been in. We get so caught up in it all and ultimately allow our businesses to become our boss.
Our businesses end up dictating when we start and finish work, causing us to work until silly o’clock in the morning and testing our most cherished relationships.
To minimise the number of times this happens, I wrote myself an informal contract.
In this contract I dictated the number of hours I was going to work. I stated I would stop looking at emails after 18:30. I contracted myself to spend time with my partner and my friends and I gave myself holiday.
I then printed and signed this contract and hung it upon my office wall.
I decided what I wanted my life to look like and I built my business around it. It really is that simple.
2. Look After Your Mental Health
Your body tells you when it has had enough exercise because we are unable to continue running or working out. We listen to our body’s signal (usually pain) that it can no longer continue without risking injury. It’s at this point we take the logical step to stop and recover, often resting that part of the body from exercise for a day at the least.
As you are probably well aware, the mind is made up of many different parts, and if you overwork them you become stressed. Stress is symptom to be taken seriously as it can quickly lead to more serious illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Stress can even cause you to develop physical ailments such as alopecia (something I suffered with personally when I was younger), skin conditions such as acne breakouts or eczema. An overworked, stressed mind also has a direct effect on your immune system.
There are so many different steps you can take to look after your mind. Here are some of my favourites:
- Reflection – This can be done at home in a quiet room, the bath, on a favourite sunny bench or in a place of worship. The idea is to look back at what you have been through to help you process the emotions you have experienced and put them in the right boxes so they don’t affect you. I recommend doing this once a week at the same time each week.
- Meditate – Not to be confused with reflection, meditation is the emptying of the mind. Meditation requires you to simply be present during the time you’re meditating with no thoughts of the past or future. Meditation will help you clear your mind and can be done as many times as you like, for as long as you like (remember we are all different). I meditate in the morning, before sitting on investment panels to ensure I am super switched on during the pitches, and before meeting with clients or having calls.
- Exercise – So many of us entrepreneurs have a gym membership card hiding in the darkest depths of our bags that we feel incredibly guilty about for not using, yet exercise is one of the fastest and easiest ways to relieve symptoms of stress. Exercise releases so many amazing hormones in our bodies, releasing tension, lowering cortisol (stress hormone) and increasing endorphins (happy hormones).
- Socialise – This is where you have to prioritise yourself and your own time before your business. It can seem challenging at first and easy to think, “oh but I just don’t have time”, when the truth is, you do have time. You just have to make socialising a priority, make a plan and stick to it. Seeing and speaking to people we care, love and trust means we can just be ourselves and allow our feelings, opinions and emotions to flow. The number of times I have invited a friend over to coffee and finished feeling refreshed and confident is countless!
3. Take A Digital Detox
Let me make something clear – I am not anti-smartphone. I love mine! Although, I recently had a digital detox myself and it did me the world of good. Being connected all the time has so many benefits when it comes to networking and running our social and business lives.
However, as a consequence it means that subconsciously our brain remains “on call”, anticipating a notification or feeling the need to check social media to ensure we don’t miss anything, adds to our stress levels. As a result, we can never truly focus on what is happening in the present. Personally, I found it incredibly liberating and I have continued to implement elements of my digital detox daily, including:
- No technology in the bedroom
- Turning off my tech after 8pm
- No smartphones at the dinner table
4. Commit to Holiday Time
Don’t forget to give yourself time off to relax, particularly during challenging periods. For example, turn your phone off when you’re on a holiday. Postponing your holiday may have short-term benefits for your business but in the long run, your health could suffer and cause greater problems down the road.
5. Share the Workload
sometimes you just need to accept that you can’t do it all. Rather than micro-managing, pay special attention to delegating responsibility to employees and leaving them alone to do the job. Sharing the load can relieve stress and like I always say – Do what you do best and outsource the rest!
Remember if you ever need someone to support you in your business endeavours, book your Free Strategy Session with me now. Alternatively, head over to my Facebook Group where I share my free, expert advice with a bunch of like-minded business women!