Friday, 14 November 2008

Surviving stress

Every day we all deal with a certain amount of stress . When you run your own business just getting out of bed can be stressful. After 14yrs of running our own business my DH is feeling very overloaded and overwhelmed. I feel it myself too. Honestly, I have for a while and I see it crushing him.

Everyone experiences workplace stress. As a paediactric nurse being in charge was very stressful with sick kiddos and parents relying on you.I had support though.

Self employment stress is a little different.Often - there's no one to rely on but you. When you work alone, you stress alone even with employees or a partner.

We also haven't had a proper holiday since a week before we adopted out teenage son - over 14yrs ago. Literally we got the call from the adoption agency the day after we got home. We started our current business around not long after .

Sure we have had small breaks here and there of maybe a week but nothing as simple as a holiday ... and we always have work on our minds. Even at home he is on call 24/7.

Running your own small or medium business is one of the most stressful things you can do. Constantly running at a high level of stress, our bodies start to break down, unable to function at their best.

We have rarely opened our business on Sunday because we try to keep it as a day of rest (or for housework or family ) and to go to Church. But sometimes work had to to be done on Sundays just to stay on top of the ever increasing workload...when it has to done by a deadline.
Mostly, you are on your own if clients are relying on you.

When stressed we can get forgetful, short tempted and develop physical symptoms ..headaches, back aches, aches, tummy troubles and pain everywhere.Then there is the immune system that starts to flail ...colds and flus knock us down quickly. You still have to work when you are sick.Then there is depression in the mix.It’s hard to concentrate on anything else sometimes.

Relationships suffer as all systems break down and you can't see a light at the end of the tunnel...just the darkness.

Stress is a combination really of many things. It's a tumble of feelings that pile up like a train wreck and it sends our body into a tailspin.

It compounds as we try to keep pleasing everyone. We are trapped in a constant state of "fight or flight", and the chemicals released into the body may do a great deal of damage...silent and invisible to those watching from the sidelines. Eventually it's unbearable.
Anyway ... finally change is in the wind and like the wings of an eagle we will rise up to meet the new challenges ahead of us. We will still be self employed in same business but there will be a big change in routines. We will step back and maybe try a few new ventures & adventures that we never had time for.

We won't have regular business hours and financially it will mean changes too. We are ready and I know it's long overdue.

I found this sign somewhere and it struck me down ...

How do you deal with stress in your life ?
How does work stress affect you ?
Advice of the day
  1. In all things there's a bright side.It's quite satisfying earning your own income through self employment and being your own boss. Self employment can be a happy career for those who can handle the inevitable stress or find a way to reduce it when the going gets tough.
  2. When you start to feel that self employment stress is weighing you down, if possible ...the first thing to do is just walk away ...if not consider plausible changes. Sometimes decisions can be hard to make but you may just have to do it !
  3. Waste some time on frivolous, fun filled activities ...all the things you never have time for or just put your feet up for change and remember the Island and the mantra ... I feel calmer ! Plus these other stress busters.

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Laura said...

Stress really does affect everything...I am seeing the results in my body, as well as having seen it in our relationship over the last couple of years. Now that I am working from home, MY stress level has gone down tremendously. I am just now seeing the difference, over a year after I quit working. Of course, now our stresses are different...finances are tight and we are learning more about depending on God.

Momisodes said...

Thank you for posting this. It is such a coincidence. I know that nursing stress you mention, and right now my husband is thinking of starting his own business, and I fear the stress and 24/7 workload it may bring.

Good for you for taking a step back to reassess. I hope whatever you both decide works out :)

M said...

Everytime I've considered starting a small business I think of exactly this scenario. How do I deal with stress? Badly, I'm afraid. I couldn't really deal with having my own one-person consulting company and that is a fairly low stress option!

Trish said...

Laura : for many years we ran our business from home - well we lived in the house at the front and the business was separate.Our business is still there but we moved house.

It was far worse then in terms of customers interrupting our private after hours time . I know what you mean about relying on God too. I am glad it has worked out for you.

Sandy - I was only 'in charge' of the shift - mainly afternoons and weekends - can't imagine being fully in charge all the time.
I think it is wise you go into small business knowing the risks so you can take precautions and tackle them head on.I wish you luck whatever he decides too.

M - I agree 'knowing yourself' you do need to consider pro and cons of every situation.It is important before you invest in your own self employment opportunities ... not after.
Sometimes it all gets out of hand before you know it.

PlanningQueen said...

I have always thought that although it offers great autonomy and possible financial rewards, there certainly is a large personal toll that comes along with owning and running your own business. I hope the decisions work out the way you want.

Le @ third on the right and cold peas said...

great post and so true.... I have been self employed on a number of occasions - now included. I have also been the primary income earner for ten years .... my hubbie is the stay at home dad.

I have just done eight months employed by someone else and it was the worst time ...the stress was just wrecking my/our life - so I quit with the intention to have Nov and Dec off to 'recover' ... but in the last three weeks I have had two old clients call and want minor jobs done - so I am back to the self employed world ...

still we are taking the time to slow down, be frugal and really connect at a deeper level with my boys - I am loving that best to you in finding the elusive work -life balance .... now I hear called 'flow'. le

M+B said...

I hope your decisions will reduce your stress levels. Hope you can manage a big holiday in the near future

Bonnie the Web Designer said...

Thank you for the words of encouragement! I'm a self-employed graphic designer and my husband has some serious health issues so he does not work. The burden of income is on me, and I have to say the stress is immeasurable! I am going to consider some of your thoughts -- especially to stop being all things to all people. It's just way overboard sometimes!

I'm so glad you are finding the balance you deserve!

Jenn said...

You know, I have never thought about how those who are self employed really don't have workplace support. That must be very hard. I'm glad to hear that changes are being made to make things better for you guys!

jeanie said...

lol I know that stress of which you speak. Both V and I are casual income earners - him in a trade and me with my own business that is still finding its feet.

Glad you were able to grasp hold of it and are moving to making it more manageable.

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