Do you feel overwhelmed by your business responsibilities? Do you find it impossible to relax at home and enjoy life? Do you often get angry at your loved ones for insignificant reasons? Do you suffer from migraines, back pain or other inexplicable ailments?
I have news for you! You are probably suffering from the disease of the 21st century: Stress!
Stress is a condition that can wreak havoc to your mind and body, if it is left unchecked. And usually, it is left unchecked. There is a general tendency to ignore it, instead of acknowledging. The main reason for such behaviour is the widespread belief that feeling stressed is a sign of weakness.
Entrepreneurs usually are under the impression that, if they show any weaknesses, their employees will lose their respect, their partners will lose their trust, and the business will eventually collapse! So, they prefer sweeping their emotions and stress levels under the carpet.
As a result of this behaviour, the health of the entrepreneur is constantly undermined until, sometimes, it manifests itself in depression, panic attacks, heart attacks, strokes or worse. At that point, the illness drags the entrepreneur away from his/ her duties, with dire consequences for the business. Both personal and professional lives are deeply affected and massive changes in lifestyle become imperative.
There is, of course, another way to overcome stress before it reaches the point of no return. You do not have to go to your employees and make regular announcements of your rising stress levels. You do not have to let your partners know of your declining mental health. Instead, you can just learn how to manage the condition on your own.
You can use several tools that will keep you balanced, healthy and active. Here, I will give you a list of the most basic (and easy) ways to combat stress.
- Mindfulness. This is probably the most powerful way to get rid of stress. If you start living in the here and now, your life will be enhanced, you will get a lot more enjoyment from your activities, and eventually the stress will subside.
- Organise yourself in a way that you will have regular meals across the day. Make sure that during those times you are not preoccupied with any other activities. Just enjoy the food, as if it was your last meal ever!
- You should follow a strict exercise regime of at least half an hour a day for five days per week. Aerobic exercises are the best in your case: running, swimming, bicycle rides, dancing etc.
- The light from the sun has been proven to alleviate depression. Stay outdoors for at least half an hour a day.
- Join a Yoga class.
- Join a Chi Qung class or alternatively Tai Chi
- Invest in an aromatherapy massage every week. A bit of me time never hurt anyone.
- Avoid smoking, drugs, alcoholic beverages and other such substances that have short and doubtful effects.
- The most difficult thing I will ask you to do is REDUCE YOUR WORKING HOURS. I know how you feel about it, since I also a workaholic. It is, though, necessary to take longer breaks, to go on holidays, to work less than 16 hours a day, and to take the occasional weekend off! If you do not, you will not only harm your health but you will also ruin your personal life.
- When you are driving, exercising, relaxing etc, listen to the music you love.
- Become an artist, or at least more artistic. Delving into detail will turn your mind away from mundane preoccupations and constant self talk.
- Laugh or smile. Even if the laughter is a forced one, it will still help you alleviate some of the negative emotions.
- Get help from a coach or counsellor. Allow yourself to talk about your problems to a third party that will keep the information confidential. You will feel better!
- Ban from your dictionary the phrase ‘What if…’. It is not helpful to anyone.
- Avoid suppressing your emotions, whether it is fear or sadness or guilt or anger. You do not have to express them openly. You just need to acknowledge them and let them go.
- Become accountable for your actions and accept responsibility. AFterwards it will become easier to identify your problems and seek for solutions.
- Get in touch with your spiritual side. You do not have to be religious. In fact, I do not know many people in the 21st century who are truly religious. Spiritually could be manifested as Yoga, Crystal healing, acupuncture or other less mainstream ways.
You do not have to follow all of the above suggestions. Just choose the ones that fit your personality and lifestyle. Change your ways now that there is still time. If your health declines, it will become a lot more difficult to turn things around.
If you want to know more about ways to battle stress, I wrote a short ebook (How to Combat Stress). I placed it behind a monthly subscription plan alongside video-lectures on how to follow lean methodology, find customers, survive an economic crisis etc. The material is constantly updated and you can find it HERE.