Feeling Overwhelmed as you Ditch Corporate Life? Use these 3 Powerful Tips for Handling Stress with an Entrepreneurs Mindset.
As this post is written and published, we’re almost halfway into 2022. (yikes!) Have you hit those totally crushable goals you set in January? It’s ok. Who said everything has to be on a calendar year? This post is about the Free At 50 way: crush your goals anytime. Set your goals anytime: even now. It’s ok. All action is action and imperfect action is more than ok, it’s a step a forward. And in this new life, I want you handling stress! It’s one reason many of us decided to ditch corporate life after all! Even if we will feel it as entrepreneurs, we need to approach it with an entrepreneurs mindset.
People often feel stress at pretty consistent times of year:
- January is full of the New Year/New You stuff. It’s so full of promise—and pressure! The pressure to set goals and to begin something.
- May into June - a big one for families, right? Graduations, moving a kid back from college, how to plan summer activities, even a vacation.
- August is another one for families squeezing in that last bit of summer before school starts. Which includes shopping, planning, getting kids back on a schedule.
- OOOH, November - holiday time!
- December - whilst in the midst of holidays, us corporate types juggle end of year deadlines, quotas, reviews. Dealing with the new budget, upcoming goals and, often, changes in the workplace. It’s often a time of restructuring in fact.
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All of this can cause stress.
But as a blogger and entrepreneur my stress is different. And new to me. It doesn’t necessarily fall at the typical times of year. I can get a sudden wave of sheer terror any time, especially trying to stay in the entrepreneurs’ mindset focused on imperfect action.
What counts as stress for me now after ditching corporate life, may have caused an eye roll from “corporate Daphne” but let’s not minimize it: whatever stress you feel is stress. Period. Yes, there may be the element of it being relative to your situation if you compare it others, but why compare it.
I’m breaking handling stress down into 3 action items in this post: Own it, manage it, resolve it.
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Handling stress action item number one: Own your stress.
Once you make the decision to own it, you need to understand it so you can take any steps toward management and resolution.
There is a science to it.
I’m not a licensed therapist but my friend Carisa Weber up in Wisconsin is. In addition to seeing clients she also has a blog delving into the brain and its impact on us. I found this article on her That Darn Amygdala blog that really dives into what stress means to us in our daily lives and, specifically, to our work-life.
In addition to understanding the science behind stress, taking the time to determine the cause of yours is vital. What is stressing you out?
It’s easy to blame the low-hanging fruit: finances, gas and grocery costs, being prepared for layoffs or health care emergencies, needs of your loved ones, people you work with.
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I challenge you to dig deeper.
Maybe the issue of finances is specific to something like the fact that your company was recently acquired, and the future of your position is uncertain as new people are now “in charge.”
Perhaps the issue of a health care emergency is based on fear. We are all getting older; seeing less years in front of us than behind us can create fears about our health. (side note: this is one reason I am so focused on enjoying every moment while I can and ditching corporate life was an easy decision!).
Possibly tying stress to the needs of your loved ones is also about aging. You want to maximize time with those you love and the fact that your focus is more on “work” than them disguises itself under stress of only being “there” for them in cases of urgent need.
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Could the blame on co-workers be about a toxic work environment? People in 9-5 environments can act crazy (for lack of a better word, I’m keeping it simple and hopefully not offensive!).
Often, it’s a result of something more. For example, their own anxieties and fears taking over their everyday life at work.
- Is your boss allowing the behavior?
- Are rules, regulations, and expectations by the company as a whole catalysts for it?
- What is the company culture?
I’ve talked to a whole mess of people since leaving corporate and the above describe a lot of what I’ve found in both in those discussions and on some of the interviews and stories of escaping the 9-5 that are published here.
Certainly, none, some, or all of the above can apply to you. But the goal is this: dig deeper and find the root cause of your stress. Brain dump your stresses and then start looking into each one- get into an entrepreneurs mindset on handling stress and take an imperfect action, it will do you so much good!
RELATED: Click here to read Skye Sauchelli’s Free At 50 guest post about the benefits of taking action.
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Handling stress action item number two: Manage your stress.
Whatever that stress is, manage it. No one is going to judge you on what causes you to feel stress and how you approach managing it.
For some stress items, this may be the last stop. I’m not going to tell you that all stressors can be eliminated, they can’t. For example, we will continue to age. We have no control over who owns our company if we’re employees and of course, very few of us can impact the price of gas/petrol.
What we CAN do is work on ways to manage our stress.
This can vary depending on our own personal beliefs, personalities, and environments. It could be a really extensive list so I’m again, keeping it simple and giving you 4 ideas to start the process.
1 Write it all down.
Brain dumps and journaling are two ways to this. Just throwing it all on paper, crossing things off, drawing arrows, circling things… it can be a total release of what is weighing you down. For me, brain dumping brings clarity. I can see the forest for the trees and start working on ideas and solutions or even ditch things that are unnecessary.
As for journaling, there are some outstanding prompts out there that can really get you on the path to addressing the stress in your life. Like this one from business coach (and my friend!) Maggie Perotin:
"What am I doing now that doesn't serve me? Where are those actions coming from? Why?"
Image by jknawab4 from Pixabay
I’ve read it before and maybe you have too: laughter is the best medicine.
Reminding yourself of the joys in life, through laughter, can be healing. Remember that what’s happening with your stress is (hopefully!) temporary.
- There will be another job.
- Time passes.
- People move on or change their priorities.
But what will always be available to you in some form: laughter.
Phone a friend like my friend Jackie who I rarely talk to but no matter how many years have gone by, when we do we talk, we fall right into being 16 again and our laughing fit that caused a whole restaurant section unable to stop laughing.
Or pull up something funny on You Tube or watch some old Seinfeld episodes or an excerpt from your favorite comedian. From Carol Burnett to Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais, whoever it is that cracks you up, take 10 to laugh!
Image by The_GADman from Pixabay
3 Step away.
Take a walk or a drive. Check out nature, hit the water or the woods. I love taking in the James or the York River on the Colonial Parkway and freeing my mind. Or wandering in the fresh air.... and how about seeing babies! Time with Harriet (one of our new foals in Colonial Williamsburg) is automatically calming.
So yes, you can just literally step away. Walking does a world of good for me and it’s not surprising. Check out this article about how it releases “happy hormones.” I’m not a doctor, but I can share that since I’ve moved to Williamsburg from Michigan and the weather agrees with me to walk outdoors year-round, it is one of the fastest ways for me to reduce my stress.
Watch a video that calms you… I’ve created my own, using my phone, while at the ocean or even visiting Harriet and the other horses of Colonial Williamsburg. Taking 10-15 seconds, or even 60, can shift your state of mind.
I did a 30-Day Mental Cleanse with so many ideas for handling stress on a daily basis, including ideas for stepping away and it gave me deliberate actions I can focus on and use to manage stress.
RELATED: Do the 30-Day Mental Cleanse I did by clicking here.
RELATED AS WELL: A product that can help: the Echo glow to subtly switch gears, countdown to the next "thing" in your day, even bedtime.
4 Talk to someone. That someone could be:
- Someone in the same situation.
- A coach.
RELATED: My post about surrounding yourself with the right people who can help you with imperfect action and being in the entrepreneurs mindset.
Image by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay
Handling stress action item number three: Resolve your stress.
Using the methods above, you could move into elimination of stress. It may not always be possible without seemingly drastic acts, but in the end it may be worth it. If not, stick to managing stress for those bits.
Ultimately, the best advice I can give, based on being stressed, not on being licensed to help you, is this: Take action, even imperfect action.
In the end, taking action always lifts you up. If that action resolves your stress, even better.
For me the action of leaving the toxic lifestyle I found in corporate life resolved much of my stress. Yes, ditching corporate was a resolution for major stress in my life!
And I am owning that comment!
Related: My interview with mindset, business and empowerment coach Hannah Shtein: