by Swati Kapoor, Practo
Managing a business is no joke, and entrepreneurs frequently face challenging situations that impact them mentally. This, coupled with the modern way of living, can get you stressed at some point. It is considered normal to experience a small amount of stress in everyday life. In fact, that stress may be good for you. However, you don’t want to feel extremely stressed at all times as that could become the root of several problems.
Did you know that the recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index indicates that business owners experience greater levels of anxiety than their employees, with 34 percent of entrepreneurs reporting they were worried (4 percent more than employed workers)? Forty five percent of entrepreneurs said they were stressed, compared with 42 percent of employees.
Tremendous stress impacts your body and mind adversely. Your body has its own way to react to it. The brain undergoes both, physical and chemical changes, and the release of the chemical dopamine starts increasing in your brain. The ‘fight or flight’ hormones released by the adrenal glands lead to other physical and mental reactions to stress, the most common of which include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and weakened immunity.
It doesn’t stop there. Because of prolonged stress, you can end up with several mental and emotional disorders like anxiety, depression and even experience panic attacks. The worst thing about stress is that it will hinder your brain from functioning to its optimal capacity even when you’re not feeling particularly wound up.
As an entrepreneur, you need to think through every aspect of your business thoroughly before making a decision. Unmanaged stress can ruin your focus and prevent that from happening, leading to unexplained frustration.
Here’s how busy entrepreneurs can manage stress and improve their wellbeing and productivity:
1. Give Yourself Ample Time.
Don’t punish yourself unnecessarily by setting unreasonable time limits to get a task done. This will not only leave you feeling rushed and flustered, but also affect the quality of the final outcome of the task. It is always better to have a time-cushion and give yourself longer than anticipated, even to meet contingencies.
Ideally, you should have sufficient time to go over every aspect of a project and ensure that everything is under control. Allotting adequate time to tasks can be done only after identifying what needs to be done and by whom, so make sure you give yourself ample time to do so.
2. Think Ahead and Build People.
With a plethora of duties and responsibilities on your shoulders, you’re bound to feel stressed even at the thought to taking on more projects. However, you cannot say no to them either. It is, therefore, important that you create star performers in your company by equipping promising employees with the skills/expertise necessary for success.
Invest in employee development and succession planning to delegate responsibilities and create leaders who can head various departments in your company in the future. They can further develop resources under them, thereby building a good pool of competent staff working for you. Doing so may take time and money, but it will be worth it when you have a thriving business.
3. Be Flexible and Welcoming of Change.
More often than not, stress makes its presence felt when things seem to be getting out of control or not moving according to plan. A lot of people have a hard time letting go of their original plans and goals, even if that is the need of the hour. In order to be successful, however, it is important to know how to cope when things go awry.
Change can be good for a business. Be flexible in your approach and if things do not materialize the way you hoped they would, figure out ways to best tackle the problem with the resources you have. Work in tandem with your trusted and helpful advisers such as your lawyer, accountant or consultant.
Make changes in your plans with the key employees in mind. Conjure up a new workable agenda in place and stress will soon become a thing of the past. You never know, the changes may enable you to take on extra projects and expand your business.
4. Treat Mistakes as Stepping Stones.
Learning is a lifelong process, and being an entrepreneur is all about avoiding stagnation. In order to continue having a sound head over your shoulders, you will need to be humble and learn from the mistakes you make. Simply accept them, understand the causes, and move ahead with the takeaways. Such an attitude will help you produce better results and the experience will be positive instead of a negative one.
Remember, the way in which you deal with your mistakes will go a long way in preparing you to mitigate unanticipated business problems in the future. Make sure you do it the right way!
5. Live Well.
Regardless of how busy your lifestyle as an entrepreneur is, it is important that you continue indulging in activities that you enjoy doing as that can be a huge stress-buster. Apart from pursuing your hobbies, you will also do well to exercise or work out. Not only do such activities make you feel great about yourself, they also keep you in good shape both, physically and mentally. You will feel recharged and reenergized.
Further, eat well and in moderation. Follow a good, clean and healthy diet to build strength and immunity, and avoid getting sick. Consume various items from all food groups to keep things interesting and live a healthy and happy life.
6. Take a Break.
A break may not always necessarily mean a vacation. It is understandable that it isn’t possible for busy entrepreneurs to take frequent holidays, but something needs to be done in lieu of that to stay sane and keep burnout at bay.
Business operations can sometimes leave entrepreneurs overwhelmed, which is why it is important to schedule breaks in your work day to disengage from work and clear your head.
If possible, take that vacation in the mountains that you’ve been putting off since long. Switch off your cell phone and take off for a de-stressing, rejuvenating family holiday. Come back with a bag full of new ideas and thoughts to improve your business.
If you think therapy can help you relax and get back in the game, give it a go. It can be extremely helpful, especially in situations where you feel your outlook towards life and work is becoming hazy. However, it isn’t a permanent solution.
Everyone experiences stress. Some entrepreneurs are more successful than others because they deal with stressful situations better, or keep it at arm’s length altogether. It is a known fact that people who ensure their physical and mental wellbeing experience less stress. It may not always affect you adversely, but extreme levels of stress can have detrimental effects on your health and productivity in the long term. The above tips should help you mitigate stress before it overwhelms you, and help improve the quality of your life.
Swati Kapoor is a qualified dietitian at Practo. She has a Masters degree in Dietetics and Food Service Management. She is a strong believer in spreading the goodness of ‘nutrition through healthy eating’, and have been helping people live healthy and active for the past 4 years, by recommending diet plans that fit individual preferences and health parameters.