Most people that I know are really struggling with stress. Well, really, the inability to MANAGE stress.
It’s so common that we already wrote another blog all about how stress wreaks havoc on our bodies.
I left a job and people that I loved because the stress simply was too much for me. I couldn’t handle the influx of 200+ emails per day, upset customers, new sales leads, everyone needing something from me. It all seemed important, urgent and impossible to manage.
The reality is that about 80% of what you spend your time on every day is not important, or it can be delegated.
But “time management” is a topic for another blog!
Anyway, I left my job and bought a business….ah the entrepreneurial dream right!?
After my third month in business for myself, I found that owning a business does NOT necessarily equal freedom. You are now responsible for wearing ALL HATS: sales, marketing, money, processes, procedures, strategy, operations, human resources, legal, and oh by the way, if you have employees…..other human beings livelihood!
Congratulations! No pressure!
No wonder that more than 80% of small businesses fail after only 18 months (according to fitsmallbusiness.com). Thankfully I learned very quickly how much I needed to learn, and invested in tons of help through mastermind groups, mentors and EO (Entrepreneurs Organization).
While I had so much help through trusted business advisors and coaches, I still felt so unsettled and riddled with anxiety. When things were going well, I felt like it all could fall apart at any moment and blow up in my face……and when things weren’t going well…..I went to a very dark place.
Do you ever do this? Boy I sure did.
“I’ll lose everything.” “I’ll have to go back and get a job again”. “Everyone will know I’ve failed”.
FEAR is a son of a bitch. Ever heard the saying “False Evidence Appearing Real”?
One Golden Nugget that I’ve learned after my first year & a half in business is that things are never as bad as they seem. We always come out on the other side, and in my experience, whatever “it” was, was usually a blessing in disguise.
About six months ago, I began to look for strategies to help with anxiety and stress, and I’d like to share 5 strategies that work well for me. When I do these things, my days are more peaceful, I’m centered and calm. I have clarity and can look at the WHOLE picture, instead of flip out in the moment when there is a hiccup in my plans.
Most of these 5 Strategies are incorporated into my “morning routine:”
I can’t stress this enough. I know I own a gym so I’m biased, but seriously. I work out more these days for my mental health than the aesthetic benefits. The “happy endorphins” I get from working out are better than any medicine. I know you may not be a morning person, but I find that exercising in the morning allows me to start my day feeling so much better.
If I don’t have time to do a full blown workout in the morning, my favorite “go-to” is ten minutes of interval sprints: Run in an ALL OUT sprint as fast as possible for 20 seconds, followed by a 20 second walk. Repeat for 10-15 minutes. When you are finished you will have gotten your heart rate up with a good sweat, and guarantee you’ll be in a better mood.
2. FIRE BREATHS
I know it sounds funny, but this is a breathing technique based on Kundalini yoga that David Soto-Griego on my team at TriFIT taught me at a breathing workshop. Check out his website at www.spectralitehealing.com
I thought this was a bunch of BS until I read that just about everyone that is dominating their particular industry meditates. I’m an easy sell. If it is working for that many people I thought, “OK, they must be on to something.” There are a million different strategies of meditation, so do some research here and find what works for you. I go back and forth with two basic techniques.
I use the Headspace App. (about $5 per month) The app walks you through exactly what to do and you can change the amount of time you want to spend doing it.
I read in a Tony Robbins book that he spends 10 minutes meditating every day. You can watch this 3 minute video to see his routine. He focuses on fire breathing, being present in that moment by remembering something you are grateful for, and then focusing on 2-3 things you must accomplish that day. Bottom line, just find what works for you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXYhfy4b5Bg
4. ESSENTIAL OILS
Young Living Oils are the bomb. My favorites are lavender on my feet at night, or in a diffuser. My husband also loves when I give him a neck massage with peppermint oil. He just melts instantly.
If there is one activity that relieves stress for me more than anything else it is journaling. This is not your ten year old “Dear Diary” exercise. Here is exactly what I do.
- I write down my affirmation statements. Don’t just pick “canned” affirmations. Pick words and phrases that are meaningful to you and are the exact way that you want to BE and FEEL. Write them, then read them out loud with emotion.
- I write down what I am grateful for, and I really FEEL it. What if today was the last day you saw your family? How much more grateful for them would you be TODAY. I try to think of simple things, situations, people, etc.
- I write down my 4 big goals for the year with associated dates. Business goal, fun goal, contribution goal, family goal. Jot them down then read them aloud with emotion.
- I write down any crap i’m feeling. Some days just suck. When I can get it down on paper and out of my head it feels like I’m purging all of the negativity out of my brain and body.
- I write down the 1 or 2 things I must do today for the day to be a success. Do NOT write down your whole to-do list. Only the one or two most important things.
I find it effective to journal in the morning, and then quickly before bed, review what you wrote and see how you performed that day. After awhile you will see some patterns.
Do you try to cram too much into each day?
Did you execute and complete your goals for the day?
Were you distracted?
I can’t tell you how many clients and successful entrepreneurs that I talk to who really struggle with poor sleep because their “hamster wheel” is spinning. When this happens to me, it’s usually because I feel unorganized, or have things I need to do. When I can get my thoughts and action items down on paper…..prioritize and then EXECUTE…..I sleep like a baby.
My hope is that one or two of these suggestions work for you. If it was helpful, please share this article with someone who needs help!
At the end of the day, remember that each day is so very precious. Be in the moment, hug the ones you love, and don’t let stress get the best of you.