I have heard it said that there is good stress and bad stress.
Personally I am not sure I agree.
That said it is important to experience some stress and maybe sadness because without knowing what it feels like how can you know and understand the feeling of joy and happiness?
As we go through life there are times when we stumble. When this happens it is so important to remember that the odd bad day or week is normal. However if the odd bad day becomes EVERY day that we need to ‘STOP’ and recognise that we may need assistance.
How to identify stress
Identifying stress is not always simple.
And if it is not recognised and dealt with at an early stage it can lead to depression and anxiety. Running a micro business and juggling other responsibilities such as family and a home keeps you very busy. And very often you can forget about yourself. As you rush around caring for others, tending to client work, marketing and developing your business, your own needs can go out of the window without you even noticing it.
And this behaviour is NOT healthy.
I’ve had first hand experience of depression and in this article I’d like to share with you some of the indicators I failed to detect prior to my dark days in 2009 along with some coping strategies that worked for me. And even if you don’t feel stressed out right now, it’s worth taking a closer look so you can be better prepared should you be put under pressure in the future.
Please note: I am not a medic so I can only explain these signs and symptoms and how they felt from a personal point of view. But as someone who has experienced depression, I encourage you to please look out for your wellbeing and be alert for signs that develop within you. In addition, always seek a medical opinion if you think you are stressed or depressed, do not be afraid or ashamed as there is always someone there to help.
1. Physical indicators
Physical ailments such as constant colds and infections can often be an indicator that rest and relaxation is required. What’s more, it could be an indicator that your immune system is weak and heading towards shut down. Unexplained muscle and joint pain may indicate your body is getting tired and weary. Also not eating or comfort eating could be an indicator that stress is becoming a problem.
If these indicators become part of your everyday life, it’s well worth taking some time out and seek medical advice.
2. Mood swings
If your happy, positive self gets replaced by a sad, angry person start to question why?
If paranoia becomes part of your everyday living then also question why?
Personality changes as a result of stress can happen subtly over a period of time. in fact so much so that they become your normal persona so nobody, including you questions them.
Positive strategies for handling Stress
Once you’ve identified stress is a problem, it makes sense to find ways to cope. Even better, why not be pro-active and practice stress avoidance strategies such as these…
1. Take care of yourself
In reality there is so much useful information and advice out there that it can get a bit overwhelming!
- Take enough exercise
- Eat more of the good foods while avoiding the bad
- Take time out
- Take time to relax etc. etc…
The trouble is, with the pressures of modern life and running a micro business it’s not always that easy.
It seems in our everyday world there is always something to do or someone who wants a little more of our time. In addition there’s so much white noise, so much technology and so little time to achieve our goals. And so, as we try to juggle all of the above, is it any wonder our minds and bodies get tired?
It is imperative to learn that ‘taking time out’ means ‘taking time out’. It’s also worth discovering ways to give your body and mind some quiet space to rest and relax. Go for walks, read a good old fashioned paperback or turn off the technology. Find out what works for you and your health will thank you for it in the long term.
Don’t forget to talk!
Instead make quality time for a 1-1 conversation, not on social media, not on the telephone or by Email but a proper chat with those closest to you.
If you are feeling that life is getting stressful and you’re tired, tell somebody. It may be a family member or a friend but if you don’t feel this is possible then visit a doctor or check out a social ‘meet up’ group, talk to somebody but make sure you do ‘stress out in silence’.
3. Help yourself
Everyday practice the 3 ‘R’s – that’s Rest, Relaxation and Reading…
Take some time to sit quietly and write a gratitude list of all the great things you have in life to be grateful for. In my experience there’s nothing quite so humbling. Try some mediation or relaxation techniques and sit with your own space for a while and read. For example you could check out some of the amazing positive thinking books that are available and absorb the lessons they contain. You’ll find it’s amazing what you can achieve in your life and your business when you are in the correct mind-set.
Learn to love the life you have today, if you don’t love it then it is within your power to change it.
4. Share personal experiences with your network
Stress is a modern disease. It’s something lots of people experience and it’s a reality many micro business owners have to contend with on a daily basis. I’ve found that sharing my experiences with others can make you feel less isolated. In addition, you’ll soon discover lots of other people are probably experiencing emotions and situations very similar to your own and so you can help each other.
I wrote a book to share my experiences (it was very therapeutic). Made it Thru the Rain explains how I transformed my life from the dark days of depression following 30 years of corporate life, to the happy positive life I live today.
How do you cope? How have you empowered yourself to push through the stresses of running a business and life in general? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
Today’s Micro Action
Whilst stress can be useful it can also become debilitating and even dangerous. And as a busy micro business owner who’s probably juggling other commitments in addition to work, it’s really important to be able to recognise the signs and implement strategies to help you cope. So take some time out today to figure out how you can use the ideas in today’s post to help you live a happy, positive life.