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As an entrepreneur, it’s no wonder you’re stressed. Stress statistics show that entrepreneurs have higher stress levels of than “other workers,” and the long hours, financial woes, and worries about success can be challenging to handle.
Don’t let stress get the better of you. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to severe mental and physical health problems down the road. Here are six simple ways you can reduce your stress and improve your outlook.
1. Tackle Your Clinical Anxiety
Have you ever considered that the stress and anxiety you feel is actually a product of clinical anxiety, not of stress alone? Anxiety disorders are among the sixth leading cause of disability, and they often start out as a simple case of stress. Don’t let it get that far by tackling your anxiety from the start.
Seeking help is the best thing you can do. You might speak with a clinical therapist and/or seek medication. Anti-anxiety medications have their downfalls based on difficult side effects and a built-up dependence on the substance, so you might try a natural remedy. Unflavored CBD oil, for example, has recently gained popularity among entrepreneurs looking for a simple way to treat their anxiety without being bogged down by suppressing medications.
2. Ask for Help or Support
There’s a strange stigma surrounding mental health that make people think they shouldn’t admit they’re struggling with stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions. But it’s just as important to seek help for your mental state than it is for you to see a doctor for a physical health problem.
When you struggle through stress without any help or guidance, it can be all-consuming and difficult for you to find satisfaction in anything you do. Furthermore, it can result in physiological issues. An overproduction of cortisol puts your body in “fight or flight” mode, leading to increased blood pressure and a racing pulse. With time, this can lead to heart disease, stroke, or another severe health problem.
Seeking help to manage your stress is a great antidote when the emotion threatens to overcome you both mentally and physically. You might talk with a trusted friend, confide in family, or even talk to a professional. Unloading your burdens to another can be one of the most therapeutic tools you have for reducing stress and boosting your mood.
3. Go on Vacation
Study after study shows that one of the best tricks for de-stressing is vacationing. A study published by the American Psychological Association stated that removing yourself from events, people, and places that you associate with stress, such as work, is one of the best ways to lower stress.
There have also been studies to show the physiological benefits of going on vacation and reducing physical problems with stress. One study reported that those who rarely took vacations were eight times more likely to develop heart disease or die from heart-related problems than those who took vacations at least twice per year.
These studies all show that taking a vacation has an effect that lasts longer than just the time you’re away. In fact, going away for just the weekend can have longer-lasting effects than taking a vacation for two weeks. You can definitely afford a weekend getaway, and your stress levels will thank you.
4. Exercise and Eat Better
Both exercising and eating better have been clinically proven to lower your stress. This isn’t easy since being stressed makes you more interested in sitting on the couch with a bag of potato chips. But if you can push past those desires and change your habits, the effects can be long-lasting and hugely stress relieving.
Exercise is a natural stress reliever, particularly cardiovascular exercises. Even going for a walk every day can lower your blood pressure and lower cortisol levels significantly.
What you eat also affects your stress levels, and it’s not just because a poor diet contributes to higher blood pressure and other stress-related symptoms. The best foods for stress relief are those that promote the production of anti-stress hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Foods containing B vitamins, Omega-3s, vitamin C, and magnesium are all important for stress relief.
5. Create Manageable Lists
A common productivity tactic is to write a list of everything that needs to be done and cross off tasks as you go. It can be very motivating and stress relieving to see that to-do list get smaller and smaller.
In some scenarios, a long to-do list can be overwhelming, fueling your stress and anxiety. Instead of looking at this list as an insurmountable mountain of to-dos, look at it as a way to prioritize. Write down everything you need to do in a given day, and then choose just two or three things that MUST be done. Make it manageable and don’t set your sights too high.
Then, make a list of secondary things that need to be done. If your to-do list is really long, consider a third list. This break down will suddenly help you feel in control of the situation and not a slave to everything that must be done.
6. Take Control of Something
When you feel like you’re a victim to your circumstances, it only increases your stress. A great antidote to help you unwind is to stop acting like a victim and start being in charge. Take control of something and let your success in that one area help manage overall stress.
For example, if you’re in mountains of debt from your business ventures, it might feel utterly overwhelming, discouraging, and stressful. You might constantly worry about the impact those financial problems will have on your credit score, your business, and even your relationships.
Instead of letting these struggles beat you down, try to take control. You might be surprised how much control you have over your finances, even if you’re bogged down by debt. Even if your income is limited, you can still control things like frivolous spending and getting further into debt.
Each step you take towards losing the shackles of debt and taking control is a step towards freedom from stress. As you see the numbers on your credit cards and loans start to decrease, you’ll slowly start to feel the weight lifted from your chest. When you get your first $0 balance, it will feel incredible!
Look for an area of your life where you can exercise a little more control. It doesn’t have to be finances. Maybe it’s working out or eating better. Maybe it’s who you choose to spend your time with. Maybe it’s working on a hobby instead of being sucked into television. No matter what you choose, let the control you exercise be freeing and motivating to help you unwind until that chronic stress has melted away.