This post is by Giles Ellis, an experienced CA and business adviser who works with clients to help them unlock their business potential.
Running a business and stress go hand in hand … and letting business stress get to you can be detrimental to your business and even worse – your health. Recent medical studies show high levels of stress can reduce life expectancy by up to ten years.
So it’s important you know when you are stressed and what you can do to reduce it.
Signs of stress include feeling anxious, run down or irritable, losing weight and sleeping poorly. Often all at the same time which can result in tough times.
Business stress can cause poor or rushed decision making and make a business owner feel as if they aren’t in control. However, accepting that stress is a natural part of business and putting in place strategies to mitigate it will help you, the business owner, stress less and make more.
Here are 7 easy ways to reduce business stress and get on with running your business
1. Eat breakfast
An oldie but as true now as it ever was. A healthy breakfast sets you up for the day, giving your body the energy it needs to function after sleeping. Try a couple of poached eggs which provides the nutrition and protein to get you through to lunchtime without needing a fast fix of sugar to keep you going.
And for even more benefits, before eating your eggs have a glass of water with lemon juice mixed in. This kick starts the liver and helps reduce acid reflux and increase hydrochloric acid which we need to break down food into nutrients.
2. Breathe deep
Most of us do shallow breathing, that is using the upper part of the chest around the rib cage to breathe, taking shorter breaths. However, the better way to breathe is through the diaphragm.
To do this, draw your breath deeply into your body using the abdominals. Hold and then slowly release. At first this may seem unnatural but practice and it will become a normal way to breathe. Diaphragmic breathing will ease stress and anxiety and promote relaxation within the body and also helps strengthen the abdominals and improve circulation.
3. Take up yoga or pilates
So many of us spend our days hunched over computer screens creating postural issues that can cause long term pain and discomfort. Yoga or similar activities will stretch out those tense muscles and can also be beneficial in calming the mind.
4. Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. It impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving, all of which will impact on your ability to manage your business.
However, it’s important not to rely on sleeping pills as these can easily become habit forming. Instead try any or all of the following; use natural sleep remedies such as melatonin, magnesium or a formulation like Sleep Drops, don’t use your phone an hour prior to bed – this will keep you in a REM cycle (or wide awake) for longer, don’t eat after 8pm. Plenty more tips can be found online.
5. Speak out
Business owners are often isolated as they are unable to confide in staff, particularly around business issues or challenges. This can narrow the thought process and lead to poor decision making.
Instead find someone who you can discuss things with to get a third party perspective. Problems might seem more manageable with some fresh thinking. Consider a business mentor or joining a support group such as a business owners association.
6. Be happy
Running a business will always have highs and lows. Accept that not everything will work as you would want and aim to have a positive outlook even when decisions are made that are not in your favour.
Realise the great thing about business is the potential for opportunities to present themselves at any moment. A simple psychological trick to feel more positive is to look upwards – this will trigger a positive reaction. Another good way is to write a list of positive things each day to reinforce positive mind set.
Everything—good and bad—is a learning experience so, at the very least, you can learn from bad experiences. However, there’s usually even more to it than that. If you really take the time to look, you will usually find something good, something genuinely positive, about every person or situation.
Not being in control is a key driver of stress and in a business sense this often means not being across your financials and “flying blind” in regard to your business position. This can lead to business critical issues such as cashflow shortage. Make sure you have a system for tracking your results that you understand and regularly review your results to ensure you are on top of business performance.
If you would like to learn how a trusted business adviser can put in place processes to help you stress less and make more, read about our business growth services or call GECA now on 0800 758 766.