Dealing with your own stress

Dealing with your own stress

Owner-managers and self-employed people need to learn to identify the signs of their own stress and take steps to tackle them. Such personal stresses are in marked contrast to pressure of work - many individuals thrive on work pressures, but suffer from any onset of personal stress.

by Neil Summer

Signs that you might be experiencing stress yourself could include:

  • poor judgement and indecisiveness
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • a lack of assertiveness
  • irritability, aggressiveness, depression or loss of sense of humour
  • physical symptoms such as breathlessness, headaches, chest pains, nausea, high blood pressure and constant tiredness

Stress can be magnified if you work alone. If you have no one to confide in, it can be easy for things to get out of proportion.

This can be a particular problem for owner-managers who don't have the support of a management team and who may feel under pressure to work through periods of stress to ensure the continuity of their business. Although employees expect owner-managers to know what to do in a given situation, owner-managers may in fact need help themselves.

In addition, business owners often have significant capital invested in the business, putting added pressure on key decisions.

Dealing with stress may often be just a matter of adjusting lifestyle, for example:

  • practicing relaxation techniques
  • improving your diet
  • doing regular exercise
  • avoiding repetitively long hours at work
  • ensuring you take regular (not necessarily lengthy) holiday periods away

An additional option might be to bring in a mentor or close professional advisor to help you cope with the pressures of running your business. Having regular contact with your professional advisors, particularly those professionals who regularly advise you on the key issues affecting your business, such as your accounting, tax and financial affairs, would be an excellent platform for discussing how you might best manage your business in a way that could reduce your particular stress factors.

Sharing, or simply venting, the burdens of running your business with others, particularly those professionals who know and understand your business, could soon help you to manage those pressures that may regularly affect your business - those pressures that you may not have realised are affecting your business performance and decision-making.

We at Gerald Edelman may not be your initial point of contact when looking for guidance on lifestyle techniques and general physical wellbeing, but we certainly believe that we are equipped to support you with discussion and professional advice when maybe the stresses of managing your business are a burden and need to be reduced.

Please feel free to contact your Engagement Partner if you wish to consider these issues further. In addition, you can find out about managing your own stress on the MIND website, which you can access by clicking here.

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