Developing a stress management program is key to running an efficient home business. Stress affects your physical and mental health. Mismanaging your stress levels increases your risk of heart disease, panic disorder, obesity and depression. In addition, it reduces the effectiveness of your immune system. As a result, too much stress leads to susceptibility to illness and poor work performance.
Working from home does not have to be stressful. Learn how to manage stress, and create a routine that provides your body with a balance of work and relaxation.
Organize Your Office
Many cases of stress link directly to a lack of organization. You may have spent too much time searching for specific job instructions, and therefore lose precious time from your day. To make up the lost work, you will need to work longer into the day. This throws off the rest of your schedule and increases the stress on both you and your family.
Before ending a day, organize your desk so that everything is where you need it. Use file cabinets, calendars and in-boxes to ensure everything is where you need it. Always end work ten minutes early, and use that time to prepare for the next day's work.
Exercise for Mental and Physical Health Benefits
Studies prove that stress levels drop when you exercise daily. Exercise before you shower in the morning and again at night. Ten minutes per session is all that is needed. The best stress-busting exercises are:
- Tai Chi
Walking is the best exercise of all because it is easy on the joints and takes you away from your home office and out into the fresh air. Don't let inclement weather keep you from getting the exercise you need. An exercise or instructional DVD ensures you are exercising on rainy days too.
Change Your Eating Habits
Foods rich in serotonin actually reduce stress levels. Also, foods rich in B-12 will help with memory retention, thought processing and boost your overall energy. Foods to add to your stress management program include:
- Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat
- Skim milk
- Whole grain bread
An important stress management training technique involves meditation. Go to a quiet room and sit or lie down. Close your eyes and focus on nothing but the sounds around you. If you find your mind wandering to your work duties, distract yourself with relaxation breathing.
The goal is to take 10 minutes away from your daily routine, where you are able to relax and unwind (and not let matters trouble you).
Learn Relaxation Breathing Techniques
Relaxation breathing involves taking a deep breath through your nose until your stomach expands. Hold the deep breath in for five seconds, and then slowly breathe it out through your mouth. Count to three before taking another deep breath. Keep track of your breathing and repeat the exercise for ten minutes. For best results, perform this stress management program technique while meditating.
Other Factors to Consider
Having an effective stress management program includes being able to identify triggers that cause you stress and finding opportunities for change. If stress is caused by projects piling up, consider creating a priority list, analyze your work flow, and work on small goals for each project until completion. If stress is caused by business and family conflict, learn scheduling and how to communicate boundaries.
If there is a particular activity you enjoy or you've found to help in relaxation, schedule that into your work day or week.