Being an entrepreneur can be stressful, especially when you’re just starting out. Being under stress can be a good thing. A certain amount of stress keeps us motivated, helps us concentrate, pushes us to get things done, and allows us to perform under pressure.
However, too much stress is harmful. How much stress is considered excessive varies for each person. Some people thrive on having lifestyles that are generally considered to be highly stressful, whereas others can feel overwhelmed with only minimal stress.
How do you know when you’re under too much stress?
Even though each person has a different threshold for excess stress, the signs and symptoms of excess stress are similar for many people.
The following list identifies signs and symptoms of excess stress.
Signs and Symptoms of Excess Stress
- Difficulty relaxing
- Using alcohol, food, tobacco, or recreational drugs to relax
- Getting easily snappy, upset, or frustrated under stress
- Feeling overworked, pressured, or that you have too many deadlines that you can’t meet
- Your body feels tense and stiff
- Feeling overwhelmed and that you can’t get everything done
- Feeling much worse if you skip a meal or don’t eat for a prolonged period of time
- Feeling shaky or weak
- Sensitive to noise, chemicals, or bright light so that you need to wear dark glasses frequently
Taking steps to get rid of excess stress
If you find that you are experiencing many of these signs and symptoms of excess stress, it’s time to take steps to reduce your stress levels. It’s important to address excess stress because it affects all aspects of your life: physical and mental/emotional health, work, family, and relationships.
Here are some suggestions on how to manage stress so that it does not become excessive:
Know your own limits.
You are only human and there is nothing wrong with that. You can only take on so much. Learn to say no to the rest and don’t feel guilty about it. Setting limits gives other people a chance to step up to the plate and help out, and prevents you from becoming unproductive because you have overextended yourself.
Change your attitude.
You can’t always avoid a stressful situation, but you can always not make it worse by changing the way you think about it or respond to it. By focusing on the positive instead of on the negative in a stressful situation, you make it easier for yourself to cope with it.
Make time to relax.
Activities such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga reduce stress hormones in the body and promote a relaxed state.
Exercise helps to release tension, both physical and mental, and raises your stress tolerance threshold.
Get sufficient sleep.
Adequate sleep helps the body and mind repair and rejuvenate after a long day. Insufficient sleep gives the body less time to rejuvenate, which increases stress levels.
Eat a healthy diet.
Feeding your body and mind with adequate nutrients will make it stronger and better able to respond to stress.
If none of these techniques are working for you and you find that even minimal stress is overwhelming, you may be too depleted in certain nutrients to cope with stress. It may be time to have your health evaluated by a health care professional.
Image credit: By U.S. Army, via flickr.com.