Great Business Ideas: Do Something about Your Stress Level

Great Ideas for your Small Business: Do Something about Your Stress Level

The entrepreneurial lifestyle is STRESSFUL.

And, just as you manage your time, you need to learn how to manage stress. It’s important to your personal health, and to the health of your business, to maintain high energy and high spirits.

Dr. Mark Goulston, one of my favorite psychiatrists, sent along this stress quiz to help you gauge your stress level.

Circle all the items that apply to you. Add up the number of items circled and check your score at the end.

  1. I find myself less eager to go back to work after a weekend.
  2. I feel less and less patient and/or sympathetic listening to other people’s problems.
  3. I ask more “closed” questions to discourage dialogue with coworkers than “open” questions to encourage it.
  4. I try to get people out of my office as rapidly as possible.
  5. I don’t think other people take enough personal responsibility for their problems.
  6. I am getting tired of taking responsibility for other people’s problems.
  7. My work ethic is getting worse.
  8. I am falling further behind in many of the responsibilities in my life.
  9. I am losing my sense of humor.
  10. I find it more and more difficult to see people socially.
  11. I feel tired most of the time.
  12. I don’t seem to have much fun at work anymore.
  13. I don’t seem to have much fun outside of work, either.
  14. I feel trapped.
  15. I know what will make me feel better, but I just can’t push myself to do it.
  16. Even if what you have to tell me makes sense, I’ll still probably say, “Yes, but.”
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Total items marked:

S C O R I N G :

  • 0–4 More exhaustion than stressed out
  • 5–8 Beginning to stress out
  • 9–12 Possibly stressed out
  • 13–16 Probably stressed out

one of the good things about stress is that you have the power to deal with it. The bad thing is, if you don’t get rid of it, it can do serious harm.

Take it from me: Not dealing with stress can ruin your health. In the spring of 2001, I caught a flu bug but just kept going. Work was stressful, and I was deep into revising this book. It was also March, the month in which our eldest daughter, Julie, had died after open-heart surgery in 1986. She was 4 1/2 and loved life.

Every March is rough, no matter how many Marches we’ve been through since her death. Anyone reading this who has lost a child knows you never get over it, no matter how wonderful your life turns out to be after your loss.

Although I knew March is a killer month, I refused to get into bed and rest. I kept going until I collapsed. Apparently, the virus moved into my central nervous system and did everything it could to shut me down. I had terrible headaches. Light hurt my eyes. I couldn’t eat. I was so weak I could barely get out of bed. I was tested for pneumonia, meningitis, and bronchitis. All negative. I had blood tests, X-rays, and electrocardiograms. Nothing. My doctor was relieved, but it didn’t help me get well any sooner. I was done in by a combination of flu and stress, and it took more than two months to get my strength back.

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So here’s my sage advice: Devote at least one hour a day to yourself. It doesn’t have to be a full hour. For instance, read the newspaper over a cup of tea in the morning and take a nap in the afternoon. Or meditate in the morning and run a few miles after work. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it makes you happy.

No matter how busy and important you are, take one hour a day for yourself. It will be the best investment you’ll make today and going forward.

And if you still feel seriously stressed out much of the time, speak with your physician and decide how you can make a change for the better.