Lying awake at 2 am, tossing and turning. You have an early meeting tomorrow that you’re presenting at and you need to sleep. Instead, you’re toiling over a huge client that hasn’t replied. It’s been three weeks. You’d based your whole next month’s income on this client. You’ve already hired staff to cope with the impending workload. They will all still need to be paid. Maybe you can get the new team members to work on clearing the four-month backlog of client data that needs to be entered. Would they mind doing such a remedial job? Should you email the client again? Will you look desperate? Now you can hear the bathroom tap dripping and remember that you were supposed to organise the plumber to come and sort it ages ago. How much is that adding to your hot water bill? Maybe you should just get up and try to fix the tap now – you are not sleeping anyway!
Unfortunately, stress is something everyone has experienced. It also happens to be a feeling that is especially prevalent when you are a small business owner. While running your own business can be very rewarding, it is also a lot of hard work. With so much responsibility falling on you, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and you guessed it – stressed.
We know that being constantly stressed-out is terrible for us, both mentally and physically, but is it also possible to benefit from it?
The answer is a resounding, yes! In the right circumstances, you can make stress work for you. Before we delve into how to do this, it is essential to understand what stress is.
What is stress?
Essentially stress is a physical response that your body has when it interprets something as a threat or an attack. When you feel stressed or threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a cocktail of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which get the body ready for evasive/aggressive action; your heart pounds faster, your muscles tighten, your blood pressure rises, your breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. You’re ready to rumble! (Or run!)
This ‘fight or flight’ response served a great purpose throughout human evolution. In fact, it was essential for survival, and in emergency situations, it still is today.
Modern Day Stress
Modern day stress is the same chemical reaction that our ancestors faced when staring down a predator, although these days it is most often linked to relationship, family, or work pressures. Not discriminating between industries, stress seems to be a common factor in every workplace.
Did you know that as many as 80% of people feel stressed in their jobs on a regular basis?
Of course, that comes as no surprise if you own your own small business. With all the business management jobs to do, as well as customers to serve, and bills to pay, small business owners have a lot on their plates.
So how can you harness the power of stress, and use it to your advantage?
Reduce Stress By Practicing Mindfulness
With the complexities and sheer number of tasks in our days, the practice of mindfulness has become very popular. No longer something used only by monks and yogis, nowadays people have adopted this incredibly simple yet powerful mental tool to help combat anxious, disruptive, negative thought patterns.
In essence, mindfulness means paying close attention to your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. It is a reminder to stop, take a breath, be present in the moment, and consider things with a clear head.
The Positive Side Of Stress
It is proven that the way you think about stress can determine the kind of impact it has on you. If you think of stress as a negative, then it will likely take over your life and lead to feelings of despair and overwhelm.
But, when you think about stress as being motivating and enhancing, you can use it to your advantage. The negative aspects diminish because you aren’t activating that fight-or-flight mode. You are accepting the reality of your stress level and choosing to channel it into productive energy.
If you continue to focus on the idea of stress being debilitating and distressing, that fight-or-flight instinct will kick in every time. You will get the anxiety, the panic, and all of the other unpleasant symptoms that come along with it (yes, including the sweat).
Don’t get us wrong; we are not suggesting that you seek additional stress to boost your productivity. The long-term impacts of stress are severe and should not be dismissed or ignored. But if you are struggling with short-term stresses related to your work – we suggest you pause, take a deep breath, and channel that stress into something positive!
If you are next-level stressed on the regular and those deep breathes just aren’t cutting it, maybe it is time to seek some help.
Here at Virtual Assistants, we specialise in relieving your stress by tackling those tasks that stress you out and doing them for you. That means you can breathe easy knowing that the tasks will be done and you can focus on more important things!
Get in touch today to find out how we can help take your stress away.