Poll any entrepreneur and they will tell you how rewarding it is to be a business owner. The lifestyle is enviable–be your own boss, set your own hours and work from home, are just a few of the perks. But the preneur life has its challenges too, running the gamut from deadline-driven late nights to jumping financial hurdles. With the many hats that an entrepreneur has to wear on a daily basis, entrepreneur stress can take an emotional and mental toll. Intense stress can lead to depression, and in some cases become depilating, even fatal as seen with fashion designer Kate Spade and Chef Anthony Bourdain.
“More stress appears to be a modest drawback of being an entrepreneur in America. In the U.S., entrepreneurs are slightly more likely than other workers to report experiencing stress a lot of the day.” Gallup Wellbeing Index
According to a 2012 Gallup poll, entrepreneurs experience slightly more stress and worry compared to the average worker–45% vs. 42%. They are also slightly more likely than other U.S. workers to say they experienced worry most of the day–34% vs. 30%.”
In addition, a 2017 poll reported frequent stress for women at 49% compared to men at 40%. Ironically, according to the Global Wellness Summit in 2018, women entrepreneurs dominate the wellness industry. Obviously we are aware of the detriments of stress on our bodies, but are still reeling from its effects. Luckily there are creative ways to relieve entrepreneur stress:
Exercising on a daily basis, if only for a few minutes, can have a positive impact on your mental health. This could be stretches in the office, a walk in the park or a full workout session. Exercising has myriad benefits including lowering the body’s stress hormones, improve sleep quality and build confidence. According to the American Psychological Association, 53% of adults say they feel good about themselves after exercising.
Meditate for at least 10 minutes a day to help with stress and anxiety. There are many ways to meditate including a basic meditation stance, where you sit up straight with both feet planted on floor. Sit quietly and free your mind of distractive thoughts. Use a calming mantra such as “I love myself” and chant it repeatedly.
Essential oils are known for there calming effects. Lighting candles infused with the scent, adding to bath oil and using a diffuser are common ways to incorporate the practice into your daily life. Some of these stress-relieving essential oils include rose, lavender, bergamot and chamomile.
Connecting with family and friends can be a great way to calm the mind. It’s an opportunity to express your feelings about what’s going on with your business, or even take a break and spend time away from the frenzy. This might be the perfect time for a spa day!
Tune into a good playlist featuring calming music such as classical, ballads or even nature sounds. Crank up the music and put it on loop, because studies show that soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety.
At least once a week take a break from the desk and get back to nature. Outdoor activities such as bike riding, hiking and swimming are a great way to connect with nature and disconnect from all the other stuff cluttering your mind. These activities will also add more exercise to your weekly routine. I’d like to include pets in this category as well, since not everyone will have or want a pet, but it is a viable way to reduce stress. In addition, having a pet, especially a dog, will force you to get outdoors and enjoy what nature has to offer.
Writing is one of the best ways to free your mind. A brain dump onto the crisp white pages of a pretty journal will help you organize your thoughts and devise solutions for any problems or concerns you may have. You can also use this time to create colorful doodles, focusing your concentration on drawing. Even media mogul Oprah Winfrey swears to the practice of journaling. If it works for her, then it might just work for you too!
Human touch and interaction is an effective way to rid your life of stress. The scientific journal Psychological Science published a study in 2015 investigating the relationship of hugging. The study showed that individuals who had been hugged more also felt like they received greater social support, which resulted in less stress. You got to love a good hug!