A certain level of stress is good for you. Your body naturally responds to a stressful situation by pumping out an adrenaline rush, producing a burst of energy often referred to as the “flight or fight” mechanism.
This helps you to react quickly in difficult situations, stimulating you to perform better.
However, excessive stress is not helpful but harmful. Ongoing stress floods your body with hormones for elongated periods of time, which can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, exhaustion and depression. Over 10 million working days a year are lost to stress-related illness in the UK, according to the Health and Safety Executive.
Too much stress can have a negative effect on your ability to run your business. Here are some tips on how to manage stress.
Manage your time more efficiently
Plan ahead and leave yourself enough time to get from A to B. Don’t be ruled by the tyranny of the urgent – make sure that you prioritise your “to-do” list according to importance and not how loud someone is shouting. Assess what you need to do and plan how you are going to achieve it. Switch off your phone and don’t look at your emails for a while so that you can fully concentrate on what needs to be done.
Learn to say “no”
Know your own limits and do not take anything else on when you are nearing capacity. Wherever possible, stay in control of your commitments and keep them at a level that you can cope with.
Learn to accept less than perfection
It is not humanly possible to never make mistakes. Learn to accept that, from yourself and others. Realise that “good” is often enough and is far less stressful to achieve.
Learn to accept the things over which you have no control
There are some situations that you cannot change, such as a bereavement or the way someone else behaves. Learn to accept the way things are.
Adopt healthy habits
Eat healthily, take time to exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Smoking and drinking may provide temporary relief from stress, but they do not deal with the underlying problem and may leave you feeling worse afterwards.
It is really important to have people you can talk to. They may not be able to solve your problems, but their support can make the stress much easier to bear. Having the opportunity to express your feelings to someone is invaluable. Spend time with positive people and let their positivity rub off on you.
Take time to have fun
Do something that you like every day. Nurture yourself. This is not self-indulgence – it is necessary. Laugh often. Laughter helps your body fight stress in lots of ways.
Learning new things and taking on new activities can help to make you more emotionally resilient towards stress. Set yourself goals and then achieve them.
Try to keep things in perspective
Look at the bigger picture and ask yourself whether the issues that are stressing you out will seem so important next week, next month, next year. Count your blessings – remember all the good things that are going on in your life. Help others – there is always someone else who is worse off than you.
Find a new way of doing things
If something has not been working right for a while, maybe it’s time to make a chance. For instance, a move from using a high interest overdraft to an invoice finance product can release the cash from your invoices and allow you to grow.