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What is Entrepreneurial Anxiety and How Can You Keep It to a Minimum

What is Entrepreneurial Anxiety and How Can You Keep It to a Minimum

Yes, entrepreneurial anxiety is real and not only is it real but it can be more intense than anxiety as a traditional employee. While traditional employees typically say that stress arises from role conflict, role ambiguity, and role overload, independent entrepreneurs often face additional in depth financial, social and psychological uncertainties and risks that can cause stress and anxiety to a whole other level.

If you run a business, this probably all sounds familiar. It’s a stressful career that typically creates emotional turbulence far greater than any roller coaster you’ve been on. For starters, there’s an exceptionally high rate of failure. Three out of four venture-backed startups fail. Key phrase being “venture-backed.” Imagine what the rate of failure is for all those that didn’t have much funding at all or just a small amount of personal savings?

It should come as no surprise that these same individuals, especially new ones, often tend to neglect their health. Newer entrepreneurs may eat too much or too little. Many of them don’t get enough sleep and if they don’t prioritize sleep then they most likely won’t prioritize getting exercise either. It’s a constant ware with yourself where you are pushing and abusing your body which ultimately leads to mood vulnerability which then leads to an increase in stress and anxiety.

Although there are endless techniques that entrepreneurs can practice to reduce the stress and anxiety, here are the five that we found to be the most effective.

1. Exercise Regularly
If you are going to survive as an entrepreneur, it can’t be stressed enough to live a healthy life when it comes to food and exercise. It’s one of the most important steps if not THE most important step to keeping a clear head. Without this, you won’t be able to think straight and make the necessary executive decisions day-in and day-out that are necessary to run a successful business. If you feel good, you perform even better. You don’t have to be a super intense CrossFit enthusiast who works out every morning, although this probably wouldn’t hurt, but even setting time aside a few times a week for cardio and weight training will work wonders on your brain.

2. Limit Phone Use
Mobile phone addiction is a real thing for all entrepreneurs but feeling the need to be checking and responding to emails and calls 24/7 is terrible for your mental health. For this reason there absolutely needs to be clear dedicated breaks throughout the day. A good example of this is when you’re at the gym or going for a run. You can use your phone to play music when you start your exercise but that’s it! Set it and forget it. If you grab your phone in the middle of your workout to skip to the next song, it’s inevitable that you will see an email, call or text that will put your blood pressure through the roof. Choose a playlist that you know you will like from start to finish and make sure it’s long enough to last your entire workout.

3. Don’t Procrastinate
Procrastination absolutely goes hand in hand with anxiety. The more stuff you put off the more overwhelmed you will feel. This can happen very easily because the anxiety makes you overthink things to a point where you are unproductive. When you’re inbox keeps chiming and chiming one after another with project after project and you think your head and/or chest is going to explode, stop. Take a deep breath or ten. Compartmentalize by breaking down what you have to do into tiny bite size pieces. Try not to always think big picture but more so small pictures. Allowing yourself to concentrate on these smaller tasks, keeps you productive and productivity keeps you motivated.

4. Practice Self Compassion
Entrepreneurs are their greatest critics. They always feel that they need to work themselves into the ground and that they can catch on sleep when they’re dead. Yes, this is why most entrepreneurs are successful, but at what cost? Beating yourself down again and again often aids in a lack of productivity. You wouldn’t treat a loved one like that if they failed so try to treat yourself like you would that loved one. If we can practice self compassion and be kind to ourselves more often, you’ll be less stressed, less anxious and more resilient. This combination creates a pillow like effect, making us more resilient and able to bounce back quicker to achieve more.

5. Weekly Sabbath
Even though most know it’s not healthy, many entrepreneurs work around the clock 7 days a week. Even traditional employees tend to do this so this one should be at the top of everyone’s list because it’s something that we all should practice religiously – no pun intended. Whether you work retail, are a parent or work multiple jobs, there are so many different scenarios where taking Sunday off isn’t possible. If this is you, dedicate another day of the week your Sabbath. Whether it’s not having a schedule and just going with the flow, spending time with loved ones or just taking time to yourself to decompress, this one day a week will do wonders. We don’t take God’s other Ten Commandments lightly so why ignore this one? For more on the Sabbath, checkout Relevant’s Why You Need a Sabbath.