Being a parent is hard. Being an entrepreneur is also hard. Combing the two can often feel like borderline madness when both work and family are causing significant levels of stress. Ill children, sleepless nights, bottle feeding, school runs, business meetings and chasing invoices – a potentially overwhelming combination.
On the other hand; nothing is quite as rewarding as parenting or running a business. Even so, it helps to have some go-to ways of dealing with frustration, stress and the constant underlying anxiety that can often accompany parenting.
Listening to music can have a powerful impact on mood and energy levels. Music can also act as a distraction – helping people to switch off and take a break from a busy working week. It doesn’t have to be music either, relaxing sounds such as water rippling has been scientifically proven to reduce levels of stress.
For those struggling to focus due to high levels of anxiety, binaural beats can improve both focus and mood. Binaural beats should be listened to with headphones. Tones of different frequency are played to the left and right ears - yet the brain perceives these as a single tone. Do not listen to binaural beats if you are prone to seizures or have heart problems.
Incidentally, the most relaxing music on Youtube is said to be Marconi Union’s – Weightless. Research conducted by Dr David Lewis-Hodgson concluded that it reduced anxiety levels by up to 65.
The rate and depth of a person’s breathing can have a dramatic impact on stress levels. Many people who sit down all day at a desk, breathe incorrectly. Breathing starts in the nose and then should move to the stomach as the diaphragm contracts – the belly should then expand as the lungs fill with air. Many people use the diaphragm incorrectly – it is important to ‘belly breathe’ to promote relaxation and an efficient breathing pattern.
Dr Andrew Weil recommends breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 7 seconds and breathing out for 8 seconds. This will help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, instead of the sympathetic nervous system which produces hormones which cause stress.
Please remember to consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet.
A well-known tip to reduce stress and blood pressure is to reduce your caffeine intake. However, many parents and entrepreneurs would start to crumble without their daily cup of Joe! Adaptogens can help reduce caffeine intake and at the same time reduce levels of stress and anxiety. One of the best known and most popular adaptogens is Rhodiola. The herb grows in mountainous regions of Europe, Asia and has been used for centuries to treat both anxiety and fatigue.
If you want to avoid supplements, one of the most effective foods to reduce blood pressure and stress, is beetroot. Beetroot is also shown to improve athletic performance thanks to high levels of nitrate. Beetroot juice can be purchased in shots – but be warned – it’s very bitter!
Using a Pomodoro Timer can help people to focus on the work at hand. By breaking up your work into 25-minute ‘sprints’ with 5-minute breaks, you can be more mindful and productive at the same time. The 5-minute break can be used to catch up on emails, check your diary and make sure everything is running as it should be – before you dive back into another 25-minute sprint.
This can help people to stop procrastinating and constantly rerunning and checking things in their head. It can also help to manage distractions – most things can wait 25 minutes before they need attending to. You can also use the timer to do some stretching or exercise within your 5-minute break – helping to reduce back pain which in turn can reduce stress levels.
Outsourcing can be a very efficient and cost-effective way to reduce stress. You can focus on what you do best as someone else deals with administrative tasks. A business answering service can also have many benefits in regards to wellbeing for busy entrepreneurs. A 24/7 service, for example, can help people to switch off once they have got home, without having to worry about missing any important phone calls, sales leads or emergencies.
Using a virtual bookkeeper can also save you lots of time without the expense of hiring a local accountant. There are also many mobile phone apps which can be used to make the working day more efficient – including payment apps such as Paypal and invoicing apps.