Being an entrepreneur is stressful at the best of times. The global COVID-19 pandemic has increased the pressure tenfold. Endless zoom meetings, working from home, and uncertain economic times can all weigh heavily on your shoulders.
Working from home means that entrepreneurs spend many hours alone and often forget to manage their stress and anxiety levels. This can be hugely detrimental to success and happiness.
Here are seven strategies to help you stay productive and manage stress during uncertain times.
But first, what is stress?
Stress can come from any event or situation that makes you feel angry, frustrated, uncertain, or nervous. It’s a feeling of physical or emotional tension.
In short bursts, stress can be positive because it can drive you to meet tight deadlines. But if it gets out of hand, it can be detrimental to your wellbeing.
Understand The Triggers
You need to learn how to recognize that you are feeling stressed before you can develop strategies to cope with it.
Acknowledging uncertainty and the reasons why you feel stressed about your current situation is innately tricky. However, once you can identify your feelings, you will have a sense of control.
Allow yourself a little self-compassion and learn to understand your stress triggers, such as paying employees, dealing with suppliers, and family demands.
Allow Healing Time
Your body automatically activates and provides you with the necessary energy when you need to deal with a crisis or challenge. However, these ‘bursts’ are limited. Be kind to yourself and learn to unwind and recuperate from stress.
Entrepreneurs already experience chronic stress levels and must build time into their daily routines. Try to take mini-breaks throughout the day, sleep well, exercise, and spend time in the fresh air and nature.
Intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular way to shed pounds and shrink the waistline, but it can also be an effective way to improve your mood and boost mental performance.
According to Johns Hopkins University, fasting can increase the growth rates and development of new brain cells and nerve tissues. This process is known as neurogenesis.
Higher rates of neurogenesis are linked to the improvement of mood, focus, and memory. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, otherwise known as BDNF, is considered a brain fertilizer, making your brain more resistant to stress and adaptable to change.
You can try the 16/8 method. Fast for 16 hours per day and eat during the remaining 8 hours. The easiest way to adapt your work from home lifestyle is to skip breakfast and eat from 1 pm to 9 pm.
Eat a well-balanced diet to improve your mood, memory, and drive. Try where possible to remove sugar and processed food from your diet; it will help you rid your body of toxins and prevent inflammation.
Fermented food provides your gut with healthy bacteria, so consider adding kombucha, unprocessed yogurt, and kimchi into your daily meals. Mixed organic fruits and veggies can help you achieve a well balanced, healthy diet.
Combining exercise and a healthy diet will help to lower your stress levels and provides long-term health benefits. Additionally, consumption of different cannabis strains like sour cookies strain, can also help in reducing stress and anxiety, if that’s your cup of ‘herb’.
Take Care of Yourself Physically
Going for a massage is something many of us do to unwind. The stress-reducing advantages are immediate. The pressure and compressions allow your body to release endorphins, which are the happy hormones.
It’s a great way to relax and refresh the body after hitting the gym. A post-workout massage provides cellular repair, boosts your immune system, and reduces inflammation. But with lockdown protocols all over the place, pampering needs to be convenient.
There are a number of DIY massage tools to help you recover after a tough workout. The best percussion massagers allow you to pinpoint precise muscles to work on knots and tension in specific areas.
Every entrepreneur needs to have something interesting to do outside their working life. Something that keeps them busy, away from the office, and that they enjoy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently added chronic workplace stress or burnout to its International Classification of Diseases. By making time for fun and allowing time to recover from job demands, you can return to work with renewed motivation and bursting with energy.
Taking part in a hobby that you genuinely enjoy allows you to lose a sense of time and refresh your mind and energy. If you love video games then Gearbox Software, co-founded by Randy Pitchford, might have what you need, as they continue to work hard to create fun and exciting interactive game content for their consumers. No matter what hobby you are participating in, it is important that it eases and relaxes you from your day.
Meditation helps you connect to nature and calms a frenetic entrepreneurial mind. It’s all about perspective and awareness; you are learning to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Schedule some time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and focus on your breathing. Your mind will continue to babble and run away with thoughts and ideas of the day; just keep re-focussing on your breathing.
Regular meditation will help you recognize goals, do things with specific intent, and allow you to congratulate yourself on your achievements.
Finding A Balance
Baby steps. We’ve all heard this in training seminars. Break your goal into little steps, or it can be overwhelming. The same applies to managing stress, particularly as an entrepreneur.
Try out some of the de-stressors mentioned above. You’ll be better equipped to manage acute stress effectively.