We all know that life as an independent business owner can be tough sometimes. Add together the below and it can all add up to stress, burn out, depression and a failing business:
- The up’s and down’s of not knowing when or where your next sale will come from
- The overwhelm
- The loneliness
- The pressure you feel under to make it work
Of course running our own businesses also comes with huge up’s, enormous satisfaction and the chance to really do something you LOVE! We all however could probably do more to protect our mental health. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to stay strong, buoyant and energetic even through the down times.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being super stressed and 1 being not stressed) where would you rate your stress levels when in work mode? Anything over 5 and I urge you to read on.
Take a look at these steps and ask yourself which ones could benefit you:
- Good quality sleep – those of you who know me know that I harp on and on about sleep. We seem to be a nation that completely undervalues the importance and power of a regular good nights sleep. My biggest recommendations would be, definitely turn your technology off as soon as you get in your bedroom. Train your brain to remember that the bedroom is for sleeping (okay, maybe something else to ;-)) but not for work. If your brain pings alive at lights out its probably because its the first time all day that your brain has had complete quiet time and it knows it can be heard now. Allow yourself 5 minutes towards the end of the day to sit quietly, close your eyes and write down everything that comes to mind then. Hopefully when time for sleep actually comes your mind will be far clearer and heard.
- Play – have fun, get creative, get your colouring pens out and play. Challenge yourself if this does not come naturally to you and allow your brain function to expand. Your pre-frontal cortex which is responsible for problem solving, decision making, motivation and will power, responds brilliantly to play, creativity, talking, visuals and more.
- Be realistic – I can’t tell you how many times I have seen business owners put themselves under copious amounts of unnecessary pressure. I get it that you want it all now but the hard truth is that laying foundations, setting up the business and then growing it takes an awful long time. I would probably double or even triple the original timelines you set yourself. Unrealistic timelines only leads to feelings of failure, inadequacies and panic. That’s not good for anyone’s mental health so take the pressure off now.
- Take regular breaks – Did you know that every 90 minutes we have a natural lapse of attention? Use that to stop and breathe, to drink water, look at nature and stretch.
- Re-train your brain – Your brain a bit like sleep can be seriously undervalued. The work of neuroscientists is proving that our brains our always evolving and growing. Evidence shows that we can have an impact and help ourselves to feel stronger and more positive. Be clear on how you want to be, use affirmations and vision boards and then be consistent, persistent and repetitive. Don’t stop until it becomes an unconscious action, a natural way of being.
- Physical activity – Somehow find a way to let it into your life. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and even if you just do star jumps every time you wait for the kettle to boil, its got to be better than nothing.
- The 5 P’s – Prior planning prevents poor performance. Amen to that 🙂 If you are keeping everything in your head then there is no room for any logical and rational thinking. How can your strength, resilience, positivity and action taking shine when your brain is full of mess and clutter? Let it out and plan your days by the hour, plan your weeks, months and year.
- Talk to someone – Find yourself someone impartial and non judgmental to talk to, let it all out , to download and then pack only the important stuff back in. I can see it with my clients when they first start their coaching journey. They come in talking ten to the dozen, hunched over and not breathing. Once they have had the opportunity to offload and then explore their options and decide on actions they literally stand taller, breathe deeply and glow calm all over. Happy days!
What point resonated with you the most? Why not give it a go and see how you can reduce your stress levels today.
Daniela Stones is a Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Counsellor based in Farnborough, Hampshire. She offers planning and brain dumping sessions and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in working with her. Find her at http://www.danielastones.co.uk