A Directors Take on Stress

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Being an owner of a business can be stressful enough, throw in the mix three young children and one on the way, the mental pressure can be sometimes overbearing.

So, my blog falls timely with the imminent end of stress awareness month.

Firstly, and not to be assumed I was given a head start in life, count myself as very fortunate to be in the position I am in. After many years of very long hours, hard work and dedication I am able to feel more comfortable financially at least. For many parents and people, in general, the stresses of every day and the burden of expectancy can weigh heavy on their minds. Stress can be very subtle, to begin with, and may not be obvious to friends and loved ones but shouldn’t be something to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. Often, being able to confide in someone and share your deepest concerns can often feel like a weight has been lifted, knowing that even if the problem isn’t yet resolved, to have said it out loud can sometimes help to put it into perspective.

Here are some examples of how stress affects me and what I try to do to overcome it.

  1. I can sometimes feel stressed and can’t always determine why. Often this is because I know I have something to do or have forgotten something possibly important. Keeping a simple diary on my phone and set a reminder alerts for 1 day and 1 hour before every event if it’s something small that I should remember helps me to feel more settled. I should, therefore, check my diary every morning but, believe it or not, I forget, that’s why I set reminders. I personally have to enter the details immediately or else I will 100% forget.
  2. I can sometimes have 10 different ideas running around my head of tasks that need to be done or thought about. This overload in the brain can lead to anxiety and stress because I feel they all need to be achieved instantly. For this I devised a system, to keep a file of all tasks that need to be done and to prioritise them. I then set a daily list of things to achieve and cross them off as I do so. It is very important not to set unrealistic daily goals. At the end of the working day, seeing all 4 or 5 daily tasks crossed through makes feel accomplished and happy with my achievement.
  3. At my age of 36, most would say I am still young. Whilst that may be the case now, I often feel my life is racing past at phenomenal speed, one minute it’s New Year’s Day the next the kids are on Easter half term. “Where does the time go” is the phrase you will often hear. It’s true, where does it go? This is something I battle with regularly, so I am currently thinking about how I might combat this. My mind is constantly thinking, sometimes daydreaming about ideas, I put myself under pressure to achieve long-term goals more quickly and over analyse. Whilst this is productive for my business I do wonder about the effect the stress has on my mind and my well-being. My current thought is I need to try and balance my downtime better, take up more hobbies and find an outlet to escape. Being able to reward myself with better family and social time, I feel will make me feel more relaxed and will hopefully feel like life is running a little slower at least.
  4. Whilst in most relationships, spouses or partners will appreciate each other’s contribution to the home and family, sometimes it can be taken for granted. By not making enough time to spend with my partner I can sometimes feel a little detached. Love and connection is an essential part of us all. Relationships need effort and commitment, but it can be challenging in today’s world especially with added stresses of children and work. I find that a regular date night, even if it’s a half an hour stroll together or a trip out alone to the shops, doesn’t have to be expensive, can be helpful. A hot tub is a great way to increase interaction time with your partner and help to relieve stress at the same time. Once the kids are in bed or all the household chores are finished, sinking into a hot tub, stretching out and gazing up at the stars in the night sky will help to clear your mind. After enjoying a relaxing massage, I quite like to sit in a quiet soak with no pumps running and enjoy a chilled conversation with my partner. Not only does it make me feel I have spent some quality time with my partner it also helps me to get a better night’s sleep.
  5. I am guilty of sometimes spending too much time assessing our place in the market and what our competitors are up to. Over the years I have learned that it is important to keep an eye on your competition, but it is equally important to use the majority of your time concentrating on your own business and affairs. Why worry about something you have no control over? Put that time towards your own objectives and the results will speak for themselves.
  6. I get stressed out about my children not eating enough and or the right level of nutrition. It doesn’t help greatly that my children live in two houses and are not always in my care. So, do I take the firm line or the soft line? For me it’s a bit of both, we now have Daddy’s house Daddy’s rules so what’s on the plate is all we have, however, I do offer incentives for eating or at least trying things they wouldn’t usually eat and making a deal with them about how much they can leave. Sweets or desert as bribery thereafter seems to work just as well. They say kids won’t starve themselves, but I do wonder with my lot.
  7. At home, with all the latest technology and toys it can become very noisy and stressful. Arguing and fighting can sometimes breakout; computers, iPads and TV’s turned up loud can sometimes test my tolerance to the extreme. I don’t have a magical answer, kids are noisy that’s just how it is, but I have tried to enforce a few rules to help a little. iPads and computers are a maximum of 1 hour per day. Volumes must be kept down low unless in different rooms. When we’re watching a film, it’s all together as a family so we have to take it in turns who picks. We also have no phones or iPads at the dinner table and we sit together as a family to encourage conversation without distraction.
  8. Not being on top of your finances can cause a lot of stress personally and to your partner. It’s usually the biggest factor in most stress-related issues. When I was younger I lived beyond my means and quite quickly built debt. For a long period of time I ignored it but over time it caught up with me and did become a worry. I luckily managed to sort myself out before it became a bigger problem. Sometimes it isn’t down to not being able to afford something but how you structure your finances, knowing what you can and can’t spend in a month. OK I accept it’s a little bit nerdy, but I actually have an excel spreadsheet called “household finances”. I go through my bank statement every so often and make sure I have a good understanding of where I am. I then factor in events such as birthdays, days out etc. so that I am left with an idea of a figure I can spend freely. Whilst it’s not always perfect it does help me to keep a better control of my finances. Not everyone is good and managing their money but by trying out a few things that work for the individual and having some structure I believe can help.

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