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Entrepreneurs and stress

June 20, 2019

The number of entrepreneurs, sole traders and SMEs is on the rise, in fact according to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills there were 5.6 million small businesses in the UK at the start of 2018. The freedom of running your own business, the chance to explore your big idea and stride out on your own is exciting and liberating, but also comes with a great deal of pressure.

As an entrepreneur, you don’t just worry about your job, you worry about all the jobs. You are invested, and most likely active, in all parts of your business - whether you are a ‘solopreneur’ doing everything yourself, a start-up founder dipping your toe in the water of employing others, or a successful, seasoned entrepreneur with multiple businesses on the go. Intense activity, financial pressures and an ‘always on’ mindset mean you are running at a million miles an hour, and switching off from work feels nigh on impossible.

This can result in feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and of course, stress. The most popular piece of advice we hear when it comes to stress is “take a break”. But how difficult does that feel when you have a to do list several pages long and deadlines to meet that only you can hit? When we feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious it can feel unthinkable to step away and take a break.

Sarah Bateup, Chief Clinical Officer at ieso shares her three tips on how to manage stress as an entrepreneur.

Stress can be your friend, don’t be afraid of it.

Stress is an energy that you can harness to keep you motivated , drive you forward and ultimately help your business succeed. However, it’s important to be aware of when you’ve pushed it too far. Warning signs like eczema, headaches, tummy problems or sleep issues can all be letting you know it’s time to slow down.

When did you last laugh out loud?

When was the last time you did some exercise that was physically exerting? When was the last time you did something relaxing? If you haven’t done any of those things in the last week - do something about it!

Find someone you can trust to talk to - about anything at all.

Someone you can express all your emotions in front of, you can cry, be angry, have a rant and express your concerns. Having someone to talk to is perfectly normal. We all need someone to talk to whether it’s a friend, a colleague or a professional.

Understanding how to deal with stress, and looking after your mental health will make you more effective and productive in the long run. CBT, or cognitive behavioural therapy, is an effective way to reduce stress that can easily fit into your day and will continue to provide positive improvements. Helping you to deal with overwhelming problems more positively and realistically by breaking them down into smaller, more digestible chunks. Online CBT is a hugely effective way of accessing the support you need in a way that feels easy to start, and suits your busy schedule.

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Written by a member of our clinical team, based on her personal experience of ‘social infertility’. A relatively new term that describes women who are childless, but not by choice, and not due to any medical reason.

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If we spot the signs that we’re experiencing stress, we can address it before it becomes a problem. That’s the theme of this year’s National Stress Awareness Day (2 November 2022).