How to Manage Stress as a Startup Founder

Stress as a Startup Founder

Stress can seem like an unavoidable part of work, especially as a founder. There is often very little room to discuss professional stress, but ignoring it can be detrimental. Luckily, there are proven ways to manage stress and improve your quality of life. 

45 percent of entrepreneurs said they were stressed, which is 3% more than other workers. Being a founder comes with more responsibility than other roles, which in turn leads to more stress. In this guide, we have detailed some ways that startup founders can manage stress.

Recognise when you are stressed

“This step can be easier said than done,” explains Dan Kettle of startup, Pheabs

“Often stress is overt and obvious, but sometimes it manifests itself as other emotions. Stress is easily confused with feelings such as exhaustion, frustration, or anger.”

“One way to do this is to keep a journal. Being honest and unfiltered with other people can be difficult, but on paper you can feel secure that nobody is judging you.”

“Identifying stress is a crucial first step not only in easing your own anxiety, but also in avoiding transferring this anxiety to your colleagues.” 

Recognise what stresses you out

Now that you are able to label your stress, it can be easier to trace back its causes. This requires introspection and time. It can be easy to trace stress back to a small, frustrating event that happened recently, but very often this is a situation of ‘the last straw that broke the camel’s back’. 

Common causes of stress can be:

  • Deadlines
  • High expectations
  • Many responsibilities 
  • Burnout

Some of these things are a part of the job description, so many people push them aside and avoid dealing with the stress that they bring. However, even acknowledging them can bring peace to some people. 

From here, it can be a process of seeing what small changes will ease each point of stress. For example, streamlining your time management could help if deadlines are the cause of your stress.

Prioritise health

“Physical health is something that often gets postponed or neglected by busy people,” says Richard Allan of funding startup, Capital Bean

“However, it is tied to your mental health, and could be contributing to your stress.”

“Taking the time to exercise and eat well can do wonders for your mind. Even a quick 10 minutes of brisk walking can increase your mental alertness and energy.” 

“Restricting alcohol, junk food, and sugar can help calm an anxious mind. Although these treats make a person feel good in the moment, they can have harmful effects on one’s mood if over consumed.”

Try meditation

Meditation has been proven to be one of the most effective ways of reducing stress. Even a short meditation can help calm your mind.

Many people get frustrated by the concept of mindfulness, and find sitting in silence boring. These people would be pleased to know that countless forms of meditation exist. For example, listening to music and focusing on the notes can be a form of meditation, as well as focusing on a candle’s flame. There is something to suit everyone. 

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