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Stress Survival Tips for Working at Home by Christine Torres

If you ate something that backlogged your system, you'd suffer the results of constipation. Your entire system would feel the effects of poisons that should have been eliminated. It's the same with backlogged emotions. Stress is really a combination of symptoms. Your body is telling you you've got something building up that needs release.

The first step is to acknowledge what you're feeling!

Some causes of stress:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of confrontation
  • Feeling inadequate or stupid
  • Anger at other's stupidity
  • Fear of other's disapproval
  • Frustration (which is really anger suppressed)
    • a goal or desire seems unreachable
    • things aren't going your way
    • people keep saying NO
    • other demands or responsibilities keep you from doing what you want
  • Too many demands on you are stretching you too thin
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of loss of security
  • Fear of loss of love

But the most damaging of all these is the fear of fear. Many people view fear as a sign of weakness. Strong people aren't afraid, right? Wrong. That's just so much BS. This judgement against feelings is long and pervasive in our culture. If you don't feel and acknowledge your anger and fear, they build up. The emotions are part of us, they shouldn't be ignored. Like undigested cheese (eeww), eventually they begin to poison the body and symptoms of stress begin to manifest themselves. Edginess, inability to sleep, headaches, irritability, persistent neck or back aches, stomach problems. Your body is telling you there's a problem.

You know what you're feeling... now what?

By listening to your feelings, and giving them their due, you can give them a chance to express before they manifest in your body. By express I don't mean mentalizing or rationalizing. Believe it or not, your feelings have a life of their own, and a right to be. They need to express - in sound or movement or tears. You may not like your own fears, you may wish they would just go away, but until you give them expression, they won't... they'll just build up in your system, compounding and compacting and resulting in symptoms of stress.

Starting my own home business is one of the most stressful things I've ever done. I took the advice of the experts and started working on my ideas while I still had a full-time job. Even so, I could feel the fears begin to build. What if I quit my job and then couldn't get any clients? What if I failed? Fear of loss of security was (IS!) a huge problem for me - I had always had a steady paycheck and the thought of being without that security was terrifying.

I spent 6-8 months preparing for the BIG step by:

  • Laying the groundwork for my home business - researching and gathering materials
  • Dealing with the fears that surfaced

For a while I could only take baby-steps. I'd do something for my business ideas, and then I'd go have a good cry. By the time I was ready to quit my job, but the fear wasn't overwhelming.

Stress Busters:

  • Laugher: Watch a funny movie - have a good laugh. Laughter, like crying, releases chemicals in your brain that will make you feel good and give you the ability to cope with whatever may come.

  • Tears: Have a good cry - take a pillow and a box of kleenex, close the door and let yourself howl. This may not be easy at first, especially if you've spent your adult life suppressing your feelings. But it's worse to allow your fears to come up and then NOT allow them to express. That's like inviting a bull to stomp on your head for a while. When you start to listen to your feelings, they will WANT to express. If you sit quietly with them (and give yourself permission to express whatever they are), your feelings will take over and begin to flow out of you on their own.

  • Physical Activity: Take a brisk walk or do some vigorous exercise - physical activity helps release the energy that's tied up in your body, and gets those endorphins flowing. Pound on something - chop wood, beat a rug, dig a hole.

  • Deep Relaxation: Listen to soothing music. Practice some of the body relaxation techniques in meditation. Breath deeply, and mentally talk to your body, one part at a time. Relax, let go. I have even made myself a relaxation tape which I can use to help me get into a deeply relaxed state.

  • Imagine worst case scenarios - Most fears culminate in a fear of death. This may seem radical, but really when it gets down to it, what is the fear, really? Lack of money? What happens if you have no money? You lose your house, perhaps (fear of loss of security)... your spouse leaves you (fear of loss of love)... you starve ... and die. Sometimes if you take your fear all the way to the natural conclusion you'll find that it's really not so overwhelming. So, what's the worse that could happen? You die? Usually by this point in my imaginings, I'm laughing at myself. And laughter is a GREAT stress buster.

  • Change Your Routine: If you usually get the kids off to school and then settle in to your business/work, change it! Instead, take a hot bath, exercise, spend a few moments in deep relaxation. Then get to work.

  • Plan Your Time: Starting a home business will consume a lot of your time. If you have a family and are still holding a full or part time job, you'll need to plan your time carefully. Figure out how much time you can give to your business each day, or each week. You may want to sit down with your family and let them know how important this new venture is to you. Get their feedback and agreement on how much time will be spent with them, and how much on your business. This way, they have participation in your process and won't feel so left out when you're working on your business stuff. If money will be tight, get their ideas on how you can all budget for a while, until your business is thriving.

  • Feed your heart: One of the best stress-busters is simply doing something you love. If you find the business of crafting is getting too stressful, leave the business side for a while and just do a project you enjoy for the love of it. Do something to please your own heart. When my business becomes too stressful, I often go into the garden and play in the dirt for a while. I water something that doesn't need watering, I weed and plant and smell the earth. I get far away from the business stuff for a while.

Give yourself time to ease into a home-business slowly. Listen to your feelings and your body, and the stresses of working for yourself won't become so very overwhelming.

Christine Torres has been a webmaster & internet consultant for years. Her web design company, Creative Eye Web Publishing, specializes in websites for small businesses.

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