There aren't too many things everyone experiences, but stress happens to be one of them. Whether it's occasional or frequent, stress affects us all.
Among those who confess to stress are entrepreneurs. Many people take on the business owner title because they enjoy the perks of being their own boss. This is especially true here in Canada, as cities like Toronto and Vancouver are considered some of the best places in the world to start a business.
All too often, however, it can feel like the job itself is calling the shots, as entrepreneurs wind up putting in 10- or even 12-hour work days. Whether it's dealing with inventory management, turnover, profit losses, advertising spend, overhead … the laundry list of concerns can be overwhelming.
Adding insult to injury, stress from the job takes its toll on your personal well-being. Even a small amount of stress is a major contributor to short- and long-term health difficulties, including chronic pain, depression, weight gain and cardiovascular issues. With the vast majority of people in the country dealing with stress on a day-to-day basis, it's little wonder stress is the second-leading cause of death in Canada, with 2.4 million adults coping with the adverse side effects.
Whether it's occasional or frequent, stress affects us all.
"Our research shows that negative emotions that linger after even minor, daily stressors have important implications for our long-term physical health," wrote Kate Leger, the study's lead researcher from the University of California, Irvine.
If a magic pill for stress relief existed, most of us would be in line for a prescription. But as a business owner, there are a few things you can do to get out from under the daily grind and find the balance you need to not just survive, but thrive - physically, mentally and emotionally.
1. Make daily exercise a priority
It's pointed to again and again and for good reason: A daily dose of heart-pumping exercise is not only good for your physical well-being, but it can work wonders for mental health as well. Studies show that when you jog, run, bike or do pretty much any form of activity, the body produces endorphins, or "feel-good" hormones, which help boost self-esteem, ward off anxiety and enhance an overall sense of happiness. Exercise is also a great sleep inducer, something else that entrepreneurs get far too little of when work is all they can think about.
Even if it's for only 30 minutes, find something you enjoy doing and stick to it. Before long, it will become part of your daily routine.
2. Take time out for you
There's so much to do and so little time to do it. That’s certainly the case for entrepreneurs. If you're constantly burning the candle at both ends, exhaustion is inevitable, making it harder to deal with stress. Rest and relaxation are keys to wellness and performing at your very best. Whether it's reading a captivating book, watching a gripping Netflix docudrama or taking in a ballgame, add R&R to your daily VIP (Very Important to Perform) list.
3. Talk it out
As a business owner with a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders, you may feel like you're bearing the weight of the world, especially if you're just starting out. It's important to never bottle things up. Whatever you're feeling or are worried about, go to someone you can confide in. Whether that’s a parent, mentor, fellow entrepreneur, spouse or long-time friend, talking things through can go a long way in relieving stress. Plus, it’s always helpful to get another perspective when working through something that’s bothering you.
And there’s no shame in speaking to a professional like a psychologist to keep you feeling well. They’re covered under most health insurance plans and offer great advice to set you up for success in your personal and professional life.