Tips for Relieving Stress
For an entrepreneur, there are some basic skills necessary to maintaining both your business and your quality of life. Stress management ranks high on the list as a core skill. While some stress is unavoidable in life, the consequences of extreme stress can be managed.
So, what is stress? The National Institute of Mental Health simply defines it as “the brain’s response to any demand.” They also state that, “Not all stress is bad. All animals have a stress response, which can be life-saving in some situations. The nerve chemicals and hormones released during such stressful times prepares the animal to face a threat or flee to safety. In the short term, it can even boost the immune system.” This being said, sometimes the very word “stress” sets off negative associations in our minds. And, in fact, chronic stress is a serious problem.
When your body is under chronic stress, you are more likely to have lowered immunity and your body systems that aren’t needed for immediate survival in a fight-or-flight situation, (digestive, excretory, and reproductive) can stop working normally. This continued condition eventually leads to even more serious consequences such as depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, and more. The following list should give you some ideas on how to manage your stress and stay away from these negative consequences.
Know yourself. Are you constantly worrying or unable to focus? Do you have a lack of appetite or nervous behaviors such as nail biting or pacing? Other symptoms could be frequent headaches, insomnia, and excessive tiredness. If any of this sounds familiar, it may be time to check your work load. There are many more symptoms than those listed, but it is important to recognize why you feel this way so that you can fix it before the problem becomes bigger. Talk to your physician if you need help identifying what stress is for you.
Get organized. If you have laid out a plan to get tasks done it becomes much easier to be in control of how you spend your time. Find an organizational style that meets your needs—there is no one system that works for everyone.
Take breaks and get enough sleep. Sleep at least seven to eight hours a night, and take frequent breaks throughout your work day. This is essential to keeping stress at bay. You can handle a crisis, and even other normal tasks, more easily when you don’t have mental fog to distract you.
Take time out to exercise. When your schedule seems as full as it possibly can be, you may be wondering who has time to exercise. But, it is a fact that you are able to do more when you take care of your body. Taking just a half hour out of your day three days a week to run, walk, cycle, swim, etc. will improve your overall wellbeing.
Eat a balanced diet. This is an important addition to proper sleep and exercise. It takes time to plan out healthy, regular meals, but if you fuel your body the right way, the energy you have may surprise you.
Schedule leisure time for things you enjoy so that you have something to look forward to. Whether it’s as simple as reading a book or watching a movie, downtime is essential to feeling rejuvenated and ready for the rest of your schedule.
Meditate and focus on positive affirmations. Breathing deeply helps you ground yourself in the present and refocus. It can also be soothing to the mind. Having positive thoughts, especially about yourself, helps you see that you are worth that effort you put into yourself. Even if you can only repeat one positive thing about yourself, make it a mantra and say it over and over every day until you believe it.
If you like writing and find it relaxing, start journaling or working on a book. Even if you don’t like writing, try keeping a journal where you write just a few sentences about what inspires you or what you are grateful for in your day.
How do you manage your stress?