With fast-paced working environments and busy lifestyle it’s not uncommon to hear of business owners feeling overwhelmed and getting stressed – the end of financial year looms and adds to our ever increasing load. While some people thrive on the rush created by being immersed in their business and having a finger in all pies, others get overwhelmed. We can be our own worst enemy and try to just push on through too many demands. So if the EOFY is looming like a scary dark cloud with heightened work and life demands, or you are worried about getting it all done or a series of things derailing.. here are some tips to manage the stress effectively:
Listen to your body
Obvious signs of stress are feeling anxious, losing your breath, having a turning stomach–typical symptoms in response to a stressful or demanding situation or period. Other stress signals might be difficulty switching off or sleeping, having trouble concentrating, a lack of appetite, sweet treat cravings or exhaustion. Assess your body for how you feel, and consider the signals that your body may be sending you.
Stress – is it a healthy or unhealthy dose?
Stress is our body’s natural protection response. It’s unrealistic to avoid stress completely, so when you do recognise the feeling, know that it’s your body going into protection mode. Be aware of the type of stress. Some stress can see the adrenalin kick in and the natural motivation and drive to tackle a demanding situation. This may cause you no harm. But prolonged periods of unhealthy demand and excessive stress is known to have serious health consequences. What sorts of ‘dose’ are you absorbing?
You might be able to identify a situation, peak EOFY workload, changing systems or cirumstances, or a person, that gets you going. Or it might be that you feel an ongoing sense of stress without understanding what the cause is. The first step to managing stress is to know the trigger.
Breathe – In and out.
When you are feeling overwhelmed STOP and simply breathe. Take 5 to breathe some fresh air. Stand up and stretch, and fill your lungs with a few minute of deep breathing. Or sit back, shut your eyes for 3 mins and breathe in and out to relax. If you can take short walk, 5 mins around the block with some cool fresh winter air will assist to calm you down and clear your head, and calm you to down.
Set realistic goals for the EOFY period and take responsibility for your situation
When you are calm you make better, considered decisions about your business. However under stress you can often feel like things are out of your control and feel swept up in the situation.
As the deadlines and demands of the EOFY come into play, ask yourself what action you can take to deal with the stressful situation?
*Think about solutions and problem-solving issues and act to reduce stress and its impact. S
*top and identify goals and tasks, allocate your time appropriately.
*See who can assist you and then delegate and get the assistance of team members. Don’t go it alone if there is help at hand but take responsibility for your part and priorities.
Use positive self-talk
When stress takes hold, it’s easy for your mind to go into over-drive and imagine plenty of negative actions or outcomes, often irrational ones. Destructive thoughts on failure or negative consequences have a direct impact on your body and mind, so be aware of your thinking. Rather than allow the stress and negative thoughts to take hold, learn to give yourself a positive self talk.
Remind yourself of other peak periods you have successfully managed. Break down the tasks ahead into manageable chunks and acknowledge when you have successfully completed some. Remind yourself that you have the skills, and experience and resources around you to succeed.
Healthy self care
If you know that you regularly feel stressed at work and the EOFY is one of the typical times for this feeling then plan to take better care of yourself during this year’s peak. Work to avoid excessive coffee and alcohol consumption. Choose healthy snacks and meals that will provide you with energy. If you’re work late and survive on office delivered takeaway, think of the most healthy option. Eg choose steamed Asian vegies and rice over takeaway pizza! Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
Have some activity planned outside of work – walk or bike ride to work, go for a run, do some yoga. Find an activity or outlet that works for you – talk to a supportive friend or partner, do a gym class, jump on the exercise bike. Get to bed at a regular time.
Try some mindfulness to nurture yourself. Apps like smilingminds.com or headspace show you how and assist to guide you to healthy mental wellbeing.
Plan a break once its over – a clear weekend, a massage, a free day off or a holiday to recharge and restore you energy once the peak has passed. Reward yourself!