If you have said goodbye to your steady wage, your excellent career prospects, and the office banter in a bid to turn your money-making idea into a fully-fledged business, the chances are that you are feeling the pressure. The era of Covid-19 emerged quickly, meaning that our personal and professional worlds have been turned upside down. In an instant, our customer bases saw their finances become uncertain, meaning that they were less likely to spend money. This has had a devastating impact on our livelihoods and our potential futures, which is fueling entrepreneurial stress.
Being under pressure, especially in this unique pandemic situation, has meant we have had to adapt at breakneck speed. Whereas before the Covid-19 crisis, your business was thriving, orders were up, productivity was excelling, and you were thinking of expansion, now you worry about surviving the next six months.
You are eager to mitigate risk and put plans in place to secure funding and cash flow for the immediate future. This can lead to a highly charged and stressful time for you as an entrepreneur.
It can often feel like too much, leading to worries about what may or may not happen. If you feel that things are becoming too much, check out this guide to help you manage your stress more effectively.
The basics on entrepreneurial stress
Stress comes with the job of an entrepreneur, so you need to learn how to keep it under control. You will never be able to banish it forever, and you don’t actually want to. Having a certain level of pressure can help you perform better and be more productive. However, to manage the excess stress that manifests itself in more harmful ways, consider the basics.
Firstly, you need to eat well and stay active. When you maintain focus on your business all day, every day, it can become difficult to switch off. You may have a neverending list of tasks to complete, but this doesn’t mean you cannot have some respite.
Working yourself into the ground, not sleeping or eating, and being in the office all day candamage to your physical well-being over time. It is not unheard of for startup entrepreneurs to become so stressed that they end up on a piece of video eeg monitoring kit because they have suffered a panic attack, or worse still, a heart attack. You must keep your health at the forefront of your mind.
Eat three meals a day, and ensure they are nutritious and balanced. Keep active by dedicating half an hour each day to being outside. Being out in greenery and nature is scientifically proven to negate the effects of the stress hormone, cortisone. Instead, dopamine, a calming hormone is triggered.
Natural light also allows you to absorb much-needed Vitamin D and can help regulate the hypothalamus in your brain. All of which can encourage a better night’s sleep.
Heading to bed every night with worries whirring around your head is not conducive to a restful night. Insomnia is a major debilitating symptom of stress and can make your waking hours all the more unbearable.
Being unable to sleep can mean that you lack focus at work. You might also struggle to find the positive in any situation and become extra anxious and incapable of prioritizing tasks.
You also might suffer from a low mood and, over time, sink into depression and isolate yourself from others. This can compound your stress and make life more challenging than it is already.
To sleep well and manage your stress effectively, you need to create a new and relaxing sleep routine. While you might be tempted to carry on working away at work emails late into the night, instead stop working on your laptop at least two hours before you hit the sack.
Why? This period at the end of the day gives your mind time to think about other things and relax with a bit of brainless TV. Or, perhaps a long hot soak in the tub with some scented candles and relaxing music will calm your mind instead.
Banishing screens and finding tranquil activities to aid relaxation will help you get to bed without neverending worries and thoughts accompanying you.
Entrepreneurial stress: How mindfulness helps
If you have never heard of mindfulness, it’s time to book yourself on a course. Doctors are now jumping on the mindfulness bandwagon and prescribing a few sessions instead of anxiety relieving medication.
The art of mindfulness is tricky to master, but at its core is the concept of remaining in the present rather than worrying about what may or may not happen in the future. You are taught techniques to help you recognize a worry, but also to rationalize it and see that you can compartmentalize it and carry on with your life in a positive way.
Coupled with yoga, mindfulness can put you back on track in a less-stressed frame of mind. While yoga was once deemed the realm of hippies and dreadlocked individuals chanting and sitting cross-legged with incense sticks burning around them, now yoga is seen as more inclusive to all.
Heading to a yoga class a couple of times a week will help you learn a range of postures to strengthen your core and focus your mind onto more positive aspects of your life. You will also learn breathing exercises that help you to relax and remain calm when the entrepreneurial stress gets too much.
Meditation is a key part of both mindfulness and yoga. Meditating allows you to free yourself from the shackles of your thoughts and feel more free than before.
It can boost your confidence and help you to find a greater purpose in life. If you are driven by your venture, meditation can help you to see the best course of action to take professionally.
Simple exercises like visualizing a burning flame and trying not to put it out can build up your concentration levels and make you retain the focus you might be lacking when burdened with external and internal pressures.
Final words on entrepreneurial stress
Stress is a part of any entrepreneur’s life. There’s nothing worse than adding to your to-do list faster than ticking off the tasks. With this new normal that we are developing within our lives, it is tough to adapt quickly. Change is difficult at the best of times, but it is even worse when it is thrust upon us. Add to this the natural worry we have about coronavirus and our families, and we can feel anxious, stressed, and panic-stricken.
If you are struggling to cope and maintaining daily life no longer seems possible, seek medical advice right away. Talk to someone.
This guide can be helpful for managing entrepreneurial success more effectively. What are some other ways to combat work-related stress?