This is a guest post from Julieta Macias, LCSW-C, Ph.D. See below for her bio and contact information.
Do you find yourself energized? Busy? Juggling a wide myriad of projects?
Are you multi-tasking and staying up late hours to get everything done? Are there just not enough hours in the day?
Yes, you are busy, powerful, and engaged in your passion and vision. You are managing your company and serving your clients. Have you taken time to appraise your most valuable asset? Have you taken time to consider your health and wellness market value? You may say, “I am young, energetic, and powerful; I do not have time for that.” Do your friends and loved ones tell you to slow down? Are you getting or feeling sick? Do you feel off balanced and overwhelmed?
In the article Stress, satisfaction, and the work-family interface: A comparison of self-employed business owners, independents, and organizational employees, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 2006, the researchers found that self-employment allows business owners to achieve greater autonomy as compared to people employed by someone else (employees). Yet, the greater pressure and demands of owning one’s own business may detract from the advantages. Therefore, business ownership truly may (can) be a “double-edged sword.”
Entrepreneurs have autonomy and job satisfaction. Yet, they can suffer from work exhaustion or job-related stress. To maintain your business venture, it is important to focus on reducing/managing the stress.
In the article Effective and viable mind-body stress reduction in the workplace: A randomized controlled trial, in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 2012, findings were consistent with the results of other mind-body worksite stress management programs indicating reduction in stress symptoms. Improvement was found in mood, resilience, and psychological well being of participants. In addition, the researchers found decreased stress reactivity and sympathetic nervous system activation.
Science tells us that we hurt ourselves when we overload and abuse our bodies and minds. When we bombard our psyches with too many “balls to juggle” and artificial stimulants to perform our jobs and tasks faster, we are causing damage to ourselves. For instance, if we skip meals and/or lose sleep just to get through that extra email, phone call or meeting, we are abusing our body and mind.
You pay the price. You cannot afford to run yourself into the ground. Do not overload your creative mind and your precious body. You are your number one commodity. Therefore, an investment in a mental health audit will produce a high return. The more calm and steady you allow your mind to be, the clearer and more productive your business will be. Consider this process, your capital improvement. When calm, you will be productive and earn more. It makes good business sense.
You say, “Tomorrow, I’ll do it differently.”
I say, “Tomorrow is today.” I say, “Less stress = more revenue!”
I recommend seven tips to keep your stress levels at a healthy level. Realize, believe, and see yourself as your most important business asset. Stay encouraged, take care of yourself!
- Take Inventory – Begin by keeping track of your stress level on a daily basis. On a scale of 0 (calm and peaceful) to 10 (so stressed that you can’t function), where are you today? Take that inventory and keep track for 7 days.
- Partner with a Health/Medical Provider – Discuss how much water to drink and starting or maintain your exercise program. Work collaboratively on prevention care.
- Relax Daily – Carve out time to use your five senses: Nurture your eyes by looking at beautiful pictures or live scenery. I love Cate’s pictures of her travels. These beautiful places bring calm and enjoyment. Nurture your sense of smell by smelling roses, spices, and oils; they have benefits. The field of aromatherapy supports the value of scents. Nurture your sense of touch by feeling the texture of a tree, a leaf, or the skin of a loved one. Nurture your sense of taste by giving yourself edibles of fruits, veggies, or a carb that you love and enjoy. Nurture your sense of hearing by listening to sounds (natural or on iTunes), calming music, or energizing music that will give you pleasure.
- Sleep – Sleep is a powerful tool you cannot ignore. Factors of age, heath, and genetics influence the number of hours of sleep we need. The Mayo Clinic website report studies found that getting less than seven or more than nine hours of sleep per night increases the risk of health problems, psychiatric disorders, and a higher mortality rate. How many hours do you need? Work towards a range of 7-8 hours per night.
- Meditate for 10 minutes – If you are already practicing meditation, you are on your way. Bringing the breath to an easy, steady in and out flow will boost many endorphins. Your body will thank you and reward you. Dr. Herbert Benson, director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital has researched the relaxation response. The techniques for relaxation include deep abdominal breathing, visualization, yoga, and tai chi.
- Love – Relationships offer valuable connections, whether you love your pet, friend, or family member. Visualize them whether close or near. Spend time with them if you can. This will generate pleasure hormones.
- Exercise – Get your body moving in a sport you love or through walking. Get in touch with your pulse and heart beat.; keep it at a good rate. Start or maintain a minimum of 30 minutes per day, three days per week of your favorite activity.
These seven strategies will help reduce your stress, thereby making your thoughts clearer and your management more effective. You will find a more optimal balance in your life between work and play and have more peace within yourself. Additionally, you will find that you have more time and energy to effectively problem-solve. Keep me informed, I look forward to hearing about your success.
Julieta Macias LCSW-C, Ph.D. is a stress coach and psychotherapist dedicated to helping successful professionals champion over their daily stress. She keeps clients accountable and empowers them to reach personal and professional goals.