This is a subject I know very very well. During my 10 years in charge of the driveway business I had various stressful moments, a job not finishing on a Friday when it was due to finish would ruin my whole weekend, or guys calling in sick on a Monday morning after a big football match would irritate me and ruin my day/week and just the guys in general would make my blood boil – How could they just not do as asked (and paid for)
I figured out systems and processes to combat all of the above and more as time went on but prior to that I can vividly remember the feeling inside my body when the shit hit the fan with this stuff. it would grind me down bit by bit and eventually something had to give and it did – in the form of my health.
My health suffered badly in the first 5 years of my business and there were so many reasons for this but none more so than stress. stress will kill you slowly I kept hearing and I can absolutely relate to that now.
The pressure that stress puts on your body cannot be underestimated with symptoms such as being short of breath easily, shallow breathing, teeth grinding, aches and pains, shooting pains for no reason, extreme fatigue, interrupted sleep and whilst I ain’t a doctor clearly I can vouch for these symptoms because I suffered every single one and more.
In another blog post we will discuss how I fixed this but for now I want to focus on how I ‘eventually’ learnt to cope with it.
I realised eventually that without a functioning me this was all going to be for nothing, either I am going to have a nervous breakdown or I’m going to have a heart attack or slip into some form of depression so I realised this and that was a big turning point.
After this I started putting things in place, things that wouldn’t stop the issues (I made this happen later with systems and processes) but things that would enable me to cope with the stress better and it worked wonderfully.
Morning walks I started walking every morning alone, this is a habit that has stuck with me for over 7 years now and rarely a day goes by where I am not out walking in nature at 6am with a bottle of water and a audio book (and two dogs)
This you could say sets me up for the day but more importantly it relaxes me, I appreciate the colours of the leaves on the trees (stick with me on this) the sound of the birds and even the cold air on my face and in my big nose and of course the ‘me time’ to plan my day, I know it sounds woo woo but it works and I now value this time as the most important time of the day for me. By 6.45am I have exercised with a 3-5km walk, I have hydrated my body with water and nourished my brain with some form of self help, positivity or business related audio book so essentially I’m more educated on whatever subject I am listening to by the time I get back.
Wim Hof Method I started this around 2 years ago and it’s been very useful for me, on returning from my walk I will jump straight in shower, start off warm and do the normal shower stuff before turning it COLD!!! I can do around 5 minutes easy now but in beginning I was 10 seconds max! this circulates my blood and helps with cardiovascular, it helps with breathing and no doubt a whole bunch of other stuff, After the cold shower I will lay on my bed and do the Wim Hot breath work where I take 20 x quick breaths in and out and hold for as long as I can. I can hold for over 2 minutes now but again at beginning I was around 35 seconds. Both these activities are proven to help a lot with cardiovascular which help with breathing and stress a LOT.
Nutrition This is new to me, I have been monitoring my food intake for around 6 months now and it definitely helps with my health and my gut. A nourishing breakfast will set me up for the day and less rubbish throughout the day certainly gives me more energy for a longer period of time. I am not an advocate of super healthy eating and depriving myself, if I want a Ben & Jerrys I’m having it but in moderation. Let’s be honest how do you really feel after a kebab? I can assure you it’s not energised and ready to take on the world!
And the last thing and without doubt the most important of ALL of these when I had the business is……..
Alcohol & Drugs During my tenure in the driveway business I was very partial to a pint (or 20!) and it all seemed to go hand in hand with stress or so I thought, I was stressed and a pint made me less stressed however often that pint would lead to me getting drunk or even tipsy which would then lead to either a haze in the morning or worse a monster hangover. Now a monster hangover coupled with the everyday stresses I spoke about at the beginning were a recipe for disaster and would multiply my stress levels no end! I quickly realised giving up alcohol wasn’t an option for me but that if I drunk only on a Friday that gave me time to recover come Monday morning for the “I won’t be in today” text messages. Without a shadow of a doubt stopping or even cutting back on alcohol played a huge part in my business success, I was much clearer and focussed and much more able to deal with stresses when my mind and body was clear. This was a game changer for me and several of my clients are proof that this makes a huge difference after each going on their own no-alcohol journey. If you’re struggling with this get in touch I have just the book to read which will almost hypnotise you to not want to drink ever again! I am off alcohol completely now but even prior to that I cut down by round 80%.
Evening Routine Show me an email or a text that couldn’t wait until morning and I’ll show you how it could wait. TURN YOUR PHONE OFF – I started leaving my phone in the car or turning it off at 6pm, My family deserved better than me dealing with bullshit text messages from my inconsiderate staff members who wanted to ask me about wages or holidays or where they were going in the morning because they hadn’t listened to earlier instructions. I’m leaving that part here because we all know this.
I also use meditation in the evening, facial wash/moisture and even recently my wife has introduced Paolo Santo into the bedroom – Fear not Paolo isn’t some Brazilian stud, it’s a healing piece of wood that you burn and it scents the room for relaxation – I love it!! haha! I use them all to ‘wind down’ and focus on the good and the bad of the day, plan for tomorrow and to essentially relax to allow me to sleep – I am generally sleeping by 10.30pm most nights.
Other forms of activities I have the time to do are working out, cycling, travel and Golf, I love golf and play at least 3 times a week often 4 and if Santa does his job properly this year I will have a simulator at home so can add another 2 or 3 to that amount. I’m not sure Mrs H is taking the hint with this yet (too busy f****** about with Paolo!!) I also enjoy reading I LOVE reading and try to read or listen a book a week. I enjoy spending time with my mates mainly at the football watching Hearts and of course spending time with my Wife and Children. These activities are difficult when running a business but you don’t need me to tell you how important they are.
I very much live in flow these days and if only I knew of half this stuff when I was deep in business my stress levels would be less than half, I would feel better within, I would have more energy and generally I would be happier and a better person to be around.
I sincerely hope this blog post can help even one person because stress will kill you, not immediately and probably not via the heart attack we all think it will but by grinding down your immune system, attacking your cardiovascular system, messing with your liver (alcohol) and your bowels and seriously impacting your mind/mental health. Without a strong YOU the business will crumble anyway so it’ll all be for nothing, Your marriage will suffer as will your relationship with your kids and friends if it hasn’t already.
If you think my blogs and social media posts are shit that’s cool but PLEASE believe me on this one. Stress will kill you but only if you let it, by implementing all or even 2-3 of the above practices you WILL notice a difference in your ability to deal with stress.
If you want to learn how to prevent the stress then get in touch here for a discussion about how I can help you systemise your business so these things don’t happen nearly as often and you can enjoy the fruits of being a business owner. it is worth it in the end.
Book your FREE discovery call today and let’s get you moving into business ownership stress-free!