Stress isn’t uncommon in mainstream professions, but it seems that startup founders and their teams are more susceptible to it thanks to the fast-paced, high-stakes environments that they tend to work in.
Too much stress can lead to burnout, a real condition that Psychology Today defines as “state of chronic stress” lasting for anywhere between a few hours to a couple of days. Beyond being unpleasant, a burnout at work can cause actual physical and mental symptoms including exhaustion, difficulty sleeping and focusing, and more.
That’s why it’s important to be as strategic about managing your own health and stress as you are about running your business. After all, without you, there would not be a company. This is not a prescription for improving your “work/life balance,” but rather a guide to incorporating stress-reducing activities into your life to avoid chronic, even potentially debilitating problems later on.
The best way to manage your stress is by establishing daily, weekly and even yearly rhythms and routines for avoiding burnout. Here are a few examples:
Every day, set aside time to do some activity that allows your brain to rest. This may mean taking a mid-afternoon power nap, devoting 10-20 minutes for yoga, stretching or other exercise, or spending a half hour reading for pleasure or watching TV. Discipline yourself to take just a few minutes every day to unwind.
Once a week, allow yourself a morning to sleep in and recharge. Or, pick a morning or evening that you take off from work, like a Sunday morning or a Saturday evening and go for a bike ride or attend a spiritual service. The point is to have a weekly chunk of extended time that isn’t focused on work or other responsibilities.
Every month, give yourself an extended break by taking an entire day off for yourself. If you don’t have a whole day to spare, there are plenty of other ways to pamper yourself that only take an hour or two, like a massage or spa pedicure.
Take a vacation. You’ve earned it. Even a long weekend can do a world of good for your mental and physical health.
Photo Credit: Relaxing Music via Flickr.