Stress: The good and the bad when starting a business
To say that starting up and running a successful business is demanding is probably one of the biggest understatements that you could make. On the way to achieving your goals there will be numerous ups and downs, many frustrations and a heavy workload that won’t seem to shift (However hard you might try). But if you really believe in what you are doing, you will probably thrive of this, or at least some of it. But what you may not realise is that what is driving you forward at these times is stress.
Stress is the response you have when faced with a challenge or a potential threat. It’s what motivates you to perform when you are under pressure. Stress keeps you focused when there’s a deadline to meet and helps raise your game when giving an important presentation. So in small doses it can be really beneficial.
However when stress is a constant part of your life it can have the opposite effect. It will no longer help you but hinder you and your performance at work. There are various symptoms associated with long term exposure to stress that can go from one extreme to the other. Some may become angry, tense, irritable or overly emotional. Others will become withdrawn, depressed and have a lack of energy. It’s also not uncommon to experience a combination of symptoms.
Stress does not just affect the mind. When a person feels overwhelmed by stress, physical symptoms will follow. These can range from aches and pains, to raised blood pressure and increased risk of a heart attack.
Who suffers from which symptoms will all depend on the person. Everyone is unique and what will bring the best out of one person will overwhelm another. We all have a limit though, and when you start to recognise some of the symptoms of long term exposure to stress it’s time to take action.
Simply trying to ignore what’s going on or having a few extra drinks throughout the week might feel like it’s helping, but in the long run it won’t. The first step is to actually acknowledge that there is an issue. Once you have accepted something is wrong then you can start to understand the problem and do something about it. Things can then start to fall into place.
You can’t eliminate stress from your life completely, and nor should you want to. But if stress is affecting your performance at work and your general wellbeing, it is essential to takes steps to reduce it so it can become a positive part of your life by really bringing the best out of you. Managing stress is all about taking charge. Always remember that a bit of stress is good for you but it needs to be balance out with rest. Constantly being on guard with your foot firmly on the peddle will wear you down.
At home, find ways of relaxing that suit you. Whether that be reading, watching DVDs, doing yoga or meditating. Get enough rest and plenty of sleep. Exercise is great as well. This sounds a little too easy but if you have learnt to live your life in a completely different way then change can be difficult. However, practice makes perfect and remember that you don’t have to completely change your life. Think of it as simply finding ways of improving your wellbeing.
At work, manage your time effectively. Think about when you are most productive during the day and utilise that time. Get organised, make a list of things to do and put them in order of importance. Break big tasks down so that they become more manageable and take breaks!
Finally, if you feel that your stress is having a very negative impact on your life and can’t see a way out, you can get support. Having counselling can help you address the underlying issues related to your stress, such as low self-esteem, by offering a safe environment for you to explore your issues and fears in confidence. Private Practice Counsellors can usually work around your work schedule and many specialise in stress management and work related issues.
If you feel that stress is having a negative impact your work, it is worth taking the steps to find ways of reducing it, because when managed well stress can improve your productivity and help bring the best out of you when you need it the most.
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