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Managing Stress as an Entrepreneur: How Stress Can Impact Your Work, and How to Regain Control

If you’re an entrepreneur working to get your business off the ground and you’re experiencing headaches or you’re constantly tired, you’re likely experiencing stress. Everyone manifests stress in different ways, but if you don’t control it, it could make building your business much harder. Let’s talk about how stress can impact your work as an entrepreneur and how to regain control.

READ: From Employee to Entrepreneur — Top Tips for Making a Successful Switch 

Stress affects your physical health

One of the most obvious ways that anxiety can hurt you as an entrepreneur is through physical pain. If you start to notice obvious signs of stress, like headaches, insomnia and stomach pain, look at your workload and determine if you’re overdoing it. 

There are also some less obvious physical signs you may experience, like teeth-grinding, which can lead to more significant oral health issues. If you’re getting so stressed that you’re causing yourself harm, then set healthy boundaries and strict working hours so you don’t push yourself so far.

Stress affects your work performance

Stress can also affect your mental health because when you’re not getting enough sleep, or you form bad habits like drinking alcohol, then you could lack the concentration that you need to create your brand. You might also try to overcome the stress by working harder and longer hours and getting caught up in hustle culture. 

You need to know when to stop and take a break. Failure to do so could result in burnout. When you’re tired and burned out, your work can suffer because you’re more prone to make mistakes, and you may even get so exhausted that you give up on your business.

READ: Avoiding Founder Burnout — A Guide on Fighting Hustle Culture for Entrepreneurs

If you’re working excessively long hours, you’re probably also losing sleep, and the effects of sleep deprivation can be catastrophic for your life as an entrepreneur. The function of sleep is to rest your brain so you can take on the new day. When you don’t sleep, you wake up with limited cognitive function. That means you may have trouble thinking, learning and remembering important information. 

When you sleep, you also rest your eyes, and if you’re not allowing yourself seven to nine hours of shut-eye, you could experience vision-related ailments like blurry vision and eyelid twitches. These are unhealthy distractions you don’t want to experience when trying to concentrate on your business. 

Stress affects problem-solving 

Your problem-solving skills could also be under attack. In a recent study, two groups were asked to complete tasks testing their verbal problem-solving skills. One group had additional stress while the other didn’t. The result was that the stress affected the participants in different ways. The stress did not phase some participants, but researchers did see that the stress affected the functional connectivity of others in the survey. The point is that sometimes stress can keep you on your toes. But you don’t want to be stressed all of the time.

READ: 7 Ways to Reduce Workplace Stress in the World of Finance

Stress affects your relationships

Anxiety can also affect your personal relationships with customers and business partners. Psychologists have found that stress can make you feel more withdrawn and distracted. That’s not how you want to be, especially if you sell to and deal with customers all day. Stress can also make you much less patient than you typically are. Patience is often required during the primary stages of starting a new company, so don’t let stress rob you of that quality.

Get control of your stress

If you feel like stress is taking over your entrepreneurial journey, then you need to manage your anxiety right now. You can try many strategies, from taking time to laugh to breathing exercises. You also need to try to seek joy when you can. Think about how lucky you are to be an entrepreneur who can start your own business, and the excitement could trump your anxiety.

When DIY stress reduction techniques aren’t working, you may need professional help. In 2021, Denver Psychologist Terri Finney began offering free therapy sessions to small business owners in Colorado, and she saw positive results. During the sessions, the business owners talked with her and each other and realized the stressors they faced and the methods to try to get over them. If you think a session like this might benefit you, research resources in your area.

Stress can affect you and your company in many ways. By recognizing the risks, you can avoid them and continue on your journey to business success.

 

Indiana Lee Bio PictureIndiana Lee is a writer, reader, and jigsaw puzzle enthusiast from the Pacific Northwest. An expert on business operations, leadership, marketing, and lifestyle, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.