There are many enticing aspects associated with embracing an entrepreneurial lifestyle. You can often dictate your own hours, choose which projects to complete, determine the course of your business, and spend more time with the family than may otherwise be possible. However, we also need to examine the other side of the proverbial coin. Entrepreneurs are often subject to high levels of stress and anxiety. Knowing how to effectively manage these situations can make all of the difference in the world between a successful vision and a failed venture. Let us take a look at some of the primary symptoms of these emotions before discussing a handful of ways to keep them in check.
Warning Signs of Work-Related Stress and Anxiety
One reason why it can sometimes be difficult to notice symptoms of stress and anxiety arises from the fact that entrepreneurs are extremely busy.
They may not have the time to take a step back and realize that a problem exists until these emotions begin to physically manifest themselves. A handful of mental signals that a change of pace is required can include:
- Difficulty falling or remaining asleep.
- An inability to focus throughout the day.
- Relationship and/or family problems.
- A feeling that things have begun to “spin out of control”.
- A noticeably short temper.
These scenarios will frequently appear alongside some physical indicators such as:
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain.
- Cold sores.
- A tendency to become ill much more frequently when compared to the past.
- Indigestion or an upset stomach.
- Sudden chest pain or an increased heartbeat.
While it is always prudent to consult with a trained medical professional in order to diagnose the exact cause of these problems, the chances are still high that they are at least partially the results of entrepreneurial-related stress. So, what coping mechanisms are available?
One Step at a Time: Lowering Your Levels of Perceived Stress
The first step in solving any problem is becoming aware of its existence, so you will need to admit to yourself that a change is required. Having said this, it is wise to begin by analyzing which aspects of your current role cause the highest level of perceived stress. Identifying these stressors will help you appreciate what modifications need to be made.
Be cognizant of when you begin feeling excessive levels of anxiety and nervousness. Pay attention to your breathing and heart rate. When such situations occur, try and take a step back; even if for only five minutes. Allocate some time each day to separate yourself from the work environment (whether at home or at the office). A change of pace will help to “snap” your emotional state back into a greater sense of calmness. Here are a host of other powerful suggestions in the form of a brief checklist:
- Try to avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine.
- Obtain at least seven hours of solid sleep each night.
- Avoid working outside of your normal hours.
- Leave work at the office (examples include turning off a specific email and not answering client-related calls after hours).
- Begin a scheduled exercise regimen.
- Spend more time in an outdoor environment.
- Adopt calming practices such as meditating, yoga, stretching, or even reading a book.
Above all, never forget that there is a life outside of your entrepreneurial existence. It makes little sense to be successful if this mindset sacrifices your mental and physical health. Train your employees for first aid and other workplace safety requirements such as sanitation and CPR classes and you will never fear any outside limitations affecting your business environment. You will be amazed at the results associated with the recommendations mentioned above.