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How to combat the stress of running your own business

Running a business can be enormously rewarding, but very often it’s a high-pressure existence. There can be demands from all sides to satisfy clients, make ends meet and still make time for family and friends. A little stress is normal and can even be healthy, but if you’re taking too much on, you’ll feel the effects both mentally and physically. Here we’ll show you how to combat work stress, take time out and stay fit to lead your company to business success.

The effects of stress on the body

Work stress doesn’t just affect us mentally. When we work ourselves too hard or spend too much time in a state of anxiety, the stress we feel can manifest itself physically, too. When we are under pressure, it’s normal for the body to release stress hormones called adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol. These prime us for action, triggering a fight-or-flight response that enables us to deal more effectively with what’s stressing us. However, too much exposure to stress hormones in the long term, particularly cortisol, can lead to physical problems.

Physical symptoms of stress and anxiety

Physical manifestations of stress can be a sign that we’re working too hard. Common symptoms of stress include:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Tightness in the muscles
  • Headaches
  • Back, neck or shoulder pain

Fortunately, these complaints can be treated using a combination of stress management practices and physical techniques.

Simple tips for stress management

Learning how to manage stress is vital, if you are running your own business. These tips can help you to strike the right balance and ensure that the stress you experience doesn’t reach damaging levels.

  • Get regular exercise. It’ll help you to sleep better, improve your mood and give you more energy to face the tasks at hand.
  • Delegate time-consuming tasks. It can be really hard to let go and pass on some of your workload to someone else, but this will free up your time so you can spend it on what’s really important.
  • Schedule regular downtime. You can’t run on empty, so make time to refuel. Block out a regular chunk of time to devote to whatever you like doing, whether that’s going for a walk or seeing friends.
  • Eat healthily. The food you eat acts as fuel for your body, so eat wholegrains, protein and lots of fruit and vegetables, to maximise your energy throughout the day.
  • Explore the possibilities of business advice and training courses designed to help you manage your time and resources more efficiently.

How physiotherapy can help

Physiotherapy isn’t just for sports injuries or rehabilitation. It can also be an effective way to relieve the symptoms of stress.

  • Breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, taught by your physiotherapist, can help to lower the levels of cortisol in your body.
  • Posture and movement treatments, including Pilates, can alleviate aches and pains.
  • Ergonomic assessments can ensure that your workplace is a healthy one, with chairs and other equipment designed to support good posture.
  • Exercise is an excellent form of stress management. Your physiotherapist can advise you on an exercise programme to suit your health and lifestyle.

Find out more about the posture and movement treatments and other physiotherapy services offered at Harpenden Physiotherapy, a multi-disciplinary clinic situated in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.