5 Tips to Stop Entrepreneurial Stress Before It Starts
Entrepreneurship is a daily stress test. Sales fall through. Some marketing campaigns simply don’t deliver. Employees quit, occasionally in anger. Every entrepreneur will face those things. Why do some wallow in frustration, while others seem to bounce right back? Because some have learned how to keep stress at bay. Difficult though it may be in the moment, staying cool is actually easier than cooling down once you’re stressed. Here’s how to do it.
1. Start with something for you.
Every day, you spend at least a third, if not half, of your waking hours building your business. Committing to your company is a good thing, but don’t let it get in the way of your self-care. Starting each day with an activity that rejuvenates you creates a buffer against the stresses you’re sure to encounter during the workday.
Every entrepreneur does it differently. Some exercise, while others meditate. Still others journal over a hot cup of coffee. Gusto CEO and co-founder Josh Reeves spends his first 30 minutes each day gardening, which gives him time to clear his head and enjoy the simple things in life.
Don’t let anyone take that first hour away from you. Wake up earlier or block it off on your schedule if you must. If stress flares during the day, remember how good you felt first thing that morning.
2. Step in when you see the signs.
If you pay attention to your body, you can recognize the signs that stress is about to flare before it fully erupts: sweaty palms, dry mouth and fidgeting, to name a few. Although supplements aren't the solution to every stressor, they can be incredibly helpful when stress is imminent. An increasingly popular one is CBD, which research shows can reduce stress while boosting energy levels. CBD also minimizes the effects of stress on the body by fighting chronic inflammation.
Consider your context when choosing your type of supplement. CBD gummies fit in your workbag and don't require refrigeration. Topical creams are another option that provide self-care.
3. Always have a Plan B.
Managing stress in the moment is key, but so is minimizing those moments. Disruption happens every day, and nobody can predict the news cycle. Always have a backup plan to ensure you're not caught off guard. For critical areas like product development and funding, have more than one plan. Neal Hoffman, founder of The Mensch on a Bench, went on business-investing show Shark Tank with two backup ideas should his pitch fail to generate interest. First, Hoffman was going to put his house on the market to guarantee payback; if that didn't work, he was planning to get one of the investors, Daymond John, on the phone for some “sweet talking.” Hoffman didn't need either plan, ultimately, but he was grateful to have had them in his back pocket.
4. Plan a post-work creative period.
Just as you should start your days with time for yourself, you should end them with a self-care session. A recent study on creativity’s stress-busting effects found that spending 45 minutes making art cuts cortisol levels by 75 percent. Neither the medium nor your artistic abilities is particularly important. Sketch, play the guitar, refinish old furniture or do whatever else you like to do. When you’re done, don’t judge yourself. The point isn’t the finished product; it’s the process of making and being in the moment that counts.
5. Maintain a healthy mental distance.
Before, during and after work, it’s key to remember that while your business is important, it's not your whole life. Nobody dies on the operating table if a sale doesn’t work out. Your family and friends love you, regardless of how this quarter’s revenue figures turn out. Give yourself some grace. Every entrepreneur’s journey has twists and turns. Don’t let the sharp ones throw you into stress mode. Remember, merely getting to take the ride makes you luckier than most.