According to a survey conducted by Robertson Cooper which looked at more than 100,000 people in the UK working population, 30% say they sometimes feel unable to cope, 32% have mood swings and 18% report having experienced panic or anxiety attacks. So, whether you’re self-employed or part of a large workforce, feeling like it’s all got too much is nothing out of the ordinary.
But how do you diagnose yourself? It’s important to recognise when your stress may be simply the result of an important deadline or if it has got out of control. Ask yourself these questions… Are you unable to enjoy your work as you once did? Have you stopped socialising with other co-workers? Do you feel tired and unable to complete routine tasks? Are you arriving for work later and later and sometimes not showing up at all? Are you losing patience with fellow co-workers, customers and suppliers? It could even be as simple a symptom as paying less attention to your appearance. If you’ve suddenly got really scruffy, something could be up.
First off, it’s important to ask yourself why you are feeling like that. Is it because you’re overworked? Or you don’t like one of your clients? Is it more serious and do you need to consult a doctor? Sometimes it’s easier and gives you more perspective when you set out your concerns in writing.
If it's everyday stress, here are some simple ways to keep motivated:
1. Build an Amazon wish list
Why do you work? If you say it’s in order to fulfil yourself, we’re rolling my eyes and looking heavenwards. Essentially, you work to buy shit. Make sure you realise exactly what those hours tolling in front of Excell, InDesign or your CMS are adding up to. After you’ve paid your rent or mortgage, start ticking off your wish list on Amazon. It will make those hours go faster.
2. Make sure you socialise
Working for yourself can be lonely. Part of the bonus of office life is the water cooler chat (unless you misbehaved at office drinks the night before). As well as catching up with what Garry thought of the last episode of Game of Thrones, you might even get yourself a new business deal. Make sure you get out and chat to those in the same business boat as you.
3. Celebrate every success you have
We’re British, we don’t show off. But playing down your successes can leave you feeling hollow. Make sure you shout out about the good things that are happening in your business - and it’s the only way to get even more business.
4. Exercise exercise exercise
An easy way to get those infamous endorphins chugging round your body faster than the Tour de France, is to get out there and do some exercise. But you don’t need to don your lycra, just walk around the block or run up the escalator. A healthy body means a healthy mind and most likely a healthy bank balance.
5. Write down tasks
There’s nothing worse than that feeling you’re working so hard and not getting anything done. And there’s nothing better that ticking a task off your to-do list. But then there’s nothing worse than innumerable post-its and old envelopes floating around your desk with unfinished tasks scribbled on them. Sort out your life with a project management system which lets you write check lists and collaborate with your team. Basecamp is a great place to start.
6. Exist in a wonderful environment
Working from home or in a coffee shop can be difficult … not to say lonely. Perhaps it's time to start co-working.
7. Keep up your side projects
It’s always good to keep up your side projects even if they’re not bringing in the big bucks. Whether it’s doodling or volunteering or researching alternative projects, an afternoon a week to day dream is invaluable. Take Friday afternoons off to pursue your own projects.
8. Treat yourself like an employee
Stop and think: would you ever treat your employee like that? If the answer is no, why, we ask, are you doing that to yourself?