As a home-based business owner, you know that managing stress is an important part of your job. After all, if you're not taking care of yourself, it's tough to take care of your business. But what do you do when the demands of work and home life start to get overwhelming? Here are some tips for managing stress so you can keep your business running smoothly.
Define what stress is for you and how it affects your work
Stress is one of those undefined terms that means something different for everyone. For me, it’s a feeling of worry or anxiousness, like a dark cloud that hovers over me even though I don’t know what I am worried about. It can be completely paralyzing because my mind fixates on this anxiety and won’t let me move on to more productive things. Stress has an obvious and well-known negative impact on one’s work; it zaps productivity, leaves it difficult to find clarity and focus, requires more effort to complete tasks, and can add up to missed deadlines eventually. And this doesn’t even take into account the long-term effects of unchecked stress - mental burnout, physical fatigue, productivity bottlenecks due to decreased morale - all leading up to job dissatisfaction and worse. That’s why identifying the root causes of stress quickly and dealing with them holistically is essential if I want any semblance of a functional work life.
Understand your triggers - what sets off your stress response?
Knowing what sets off your stress response can be a powerful tool to help you manage anxiety and find more peace. Triggers vary depending on the individual, but they essentially boil down to four main categories: situations, thoughts, physical sensations, and interpersonal relationships. For example, if you're triggered by a certain situation you might become overwhelmed by crowds or feel anxious when speaking in public. If it's a thought that kicks off your stress response then maybe it's persistent negative thinking or worrying about an uncertain future. Physical triggers can take the form of tension or tightness in different areas of your body, while interpersonal issues such as conflict with a loved one or feeling unsupported might also be associated with heightened levels of stress. Knowing exactly which triggers set off your stress response allows you to respond more effectively and create strategies to help cope with them.
Identify healthy coping mechanisms that work for you (e.g., exercise, journaling, meditation)
Finding healthy ways to cope with stress and turmoil can be crucial during trying times. It’s important to remember that what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you, so learning to identify your specific coping mechanisms is key. I have found that a combination of exercise, journaling, and meditation can be incredibly helpful when trying to better manage my stress levels. Exercise helps me stay balanced physically, while journaling and meditation allow me greater space to express myself mentally and emotionally without judgment. These three tools have enabled me to stay grounded when times are difficult and provided an outlet for emotions in a safe environment.
Create a plan to manage stressful situations when they arise
Creating an effective plan for managing stressful situations can be difficult, but it is an important step in mitigating feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. The first thing to focus on is self-care: make sure that you are getting adequate rest, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. Additionally, having a few simple strategies to fall back on when the stress levels start to rise can go a long way. Consider things like deep breathing or mindful meditation practice, which can help you center yourself at the moment and maintain perspective on the situation at hand. Other helpful strategies may include talking through your feelings with someone else and breaking larger tasks down into manageable steps. Having a plan will allow you to move through uncomfortable and potentially overwhelming moments with grace and confidence.
Practice self-care and make time for activities that bring you joy
Taking the time for self-care is essential for both your physical and mental health. Self-care can mean many different things: anything from taking a day trip to a museum to simply taking some quiet time to meditate. Whatever it is, these activities should bring you joy and help lighten your load. Making the choice to center yourself with practices that bring you joy can make all the difference in helping you refocus and stay on top of any stressors or demands of daily life. Not only will this improve both your physical and mental health, but it will also serve to strengthen relationships with yourself and those important people in your life by creating a more balanced outlook on life.
Seek professional help if needed - there is no shame in admitting that you need assistance
Everyone deserves to feel their best mentally, but sometimes we can all go through difficult periods of stress, depression, and anxiety. Seeking help to sort through these feelings is a brave and admirable decision, and there is certainly no shame in asking for assistance when you need it. Professional advice can provide the support and guidance needed to work through tough times and challenging emotions - not facing these issues head-on just leads to them getting worse. Imagine trying to fix a broken car without the aid of an expert mechanic - it's incredibly hard if not impossible! The same principle applies when seeking help for mental health - if you get the professional help you need, you'll be able to make better progress in handling your own emotional needs.
Stress is a normal and inevitable part of life, but that doesn't mean it has to take over your life. By understanding what stress is, how it manifests for you, and developing healthy coping mechanisms, you can take control of your stress instead of letting it control you. Implementing these steps will help reduce the negative impact of stress on your work performance - and may even improve your productivity. Remember that if you're struggling to manage your stress on your own, professional help is always an option. Don't hesitate to reach out for support if you need it.