Coping with Entrepreneurial Stress
Although stress is a big problem in our modern American working culture, women are especially vulnerable to the havoc it can cause in your life and body. Women become stressed by the uniquely female problem of trying to “have it all,” constantly juggling the equally demanding roles of women in their careers and families. It’s even worse for those with perfectionist tendencies because they often find themselves filled with self-recrimination for failing to perform up to their own impossible standards.
Among all entrepreneur lifestyle topics, how to deal with stress is one of the most pivotal. Stress affects all of differently, but no matter how stress affects each of us, the one thing we all have in common is how our stress is created.
And even if most folks don’t want to admit it, here’s the plain truth:
You are creating your own stress.
I can just hear readers saying, “but you don’t have any idea of what I go through…” and you would be right—I don’t. But hear me out.
We all have events in our life, events that can make us worry, and fret and yes, stress. Remember that these are events, just events, and we assign an emotional charge to them by our interpretation of them. So the first step to solving the stress problem is recognizing that much of the daily stress we encounter is self-inflicted. Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining your stress, it will always remain outside your control!
Tracking your stress
One way to monitor your attitudes and habits is by keeping a daily stress diary. (And yes, I hear your silent protest of “the last thing I need is another daily task.”) But a written record of events that cause stress and your reactions to those events will be eye-opening AND cathartic. The best thing is that you don’t have to spend a lot time to keep a stress journal–just make an entry every time you feel stressed.
When you’re recording your impressions, be sure to include these details:
- The event that caused the stress
- How the event made you feel both physically and emotionally
- How you responded
- What you did, if anything, to make yourself feel better
Even with the most minimal effort in tracking the details, you’ll begin to notice patterns—patterns that you can disrupt by changing your habits or reactions to the events in your life.
Slaying the stress dragon
In addition to the journal–which will help you learn to observe yourself more objectively– try the following healthy behaviors as way to handle things when stress rears its ugly head.
Get regular exercise
You’ve heard this before and you’ll hear it again for a very good reason–exercise works. Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make us feel better. Activities that feature rhythmic and repetitive motions, such as aerobics, walking running and cycling, are best. If you feel like you don’t have time to workout, just go for a quick walk to clear your mind. Your business will be better for it.
Nothing calms your nervous system better than confiding to a friend or loved one. Just make sure that it’s someone who makes you feel understood while providing a detached and objective perspective of the situation. Join groups that include other entrepreneurs. Most likely they have experienced the same challenges and make a solution. And sometimes it just feels good to vent to people that “get you”.
Just say no
Be sure to avoid things, people or situations that cause you stress. If you hate traffic, take a longer but less traveled route. If the news makes you feel overwhelmed or nervous, turn off the TV and do something else. If you have a client or colleague that consistently asks for favors outside of your scope of work, politely remind them of your agreement. Know your limits and learn to say no.
Hone your time management skills
Plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself. If you have a plan and a schedule that gives you some room to breathe, you’ll feel less pressured, more in control of things and much calmer. We create stress around unexpected situations. Being able to relax into your schedule goes a long way towards a more peaceful life.
Make time for fun and relaxation
Far too often, modern women feel as if doing something for fun is a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth! Balance is not only essential to emotional well-being, it’s the basis of it. Balance provides a stable foundation that you can build upon. Give yourself permission to do something just because you like it, whether or not you accomplish anything.
You come first
Once you’ve recognized that you’re creating your stress, it’s time to put together your own personal stress-relief program. You can start by simply listing some healthy ways to recharge and relax. Remember that you don’t have to do them all or do them immediately. Simply pick one or two things from your stress remedy list and do them each day, even if you’re not feeling particularly stressed.
Prevention can bring you a lot of comfort so be proactive and keep your life as stress-free as possible. If you are looking to find balance in your life, sign up for the waiting list for The Whole Happy Method. We will be launching in September. TWHM is a 3 month program that guides you to your end goal, whatever it is, while nurturing all of the primary areas of your life. Learn more here.