In my past life, I changed my personality with the wind. I shifted to suit whatever environment I was in. I lost all sense of who I really was.
I was so worried about what people thought of me, that I did what everyone else wanted or expected of me. I did that for so long that I didn't even know what it was that I wanted anymore. Over time, I became unrecognizable.
Somewhere in my early 40's, I wanted to find myself again. Her are some things I did to be more authentic:
1. I stopped apologizing for who I was or what I loved.
I love what, and whom, I love. I don't apologize for who I am. This is the person I was create to be. When I apologize for who I am or what I love, I send the message to myself that I am not enough and need to be fixed. I spent lots of years apologizing for who I was; I felt like a burden to other people. Today, however, I realize that I don't need to apologize for the fact that I struggle with depression and anxiety. What I now understand is that I am exactly who I am and it's beautiful at times, chaotic at times, and sometimes both.
2. I have my own beliefs.
I am curious about things. I have been this way since I was a kid - about what I was told, what I heard and what I saw. I don't need to accept things as they are. I used to let what others said affect me a lot. I would even let others' opinions of me affect my self-worth. Today I find this funny because I realize that there is no "one and only truth." What people say and do is about them, not about me. I have learned that it is okay to be okay with my curiosity about life and form my own beliefs and opinions.
3. I ask myself what my motivations are.
This is something I have to do on a regular basis. My ego can look like a thousand different things, and if I don't slow down and try to understand what my motivations are, it can run my life. In my past, I was a people-pleaser, a caretaker, a worrier. I wanted people to like me and to think I was a good person. I used to say things that I thought people would want to hear. Is my motivation true to who I am? Or is it run by a need of approval? I am constantly checking in with my motivation.
4. I trust my gut.
If something feels wrong, there is a reason. There's been many times where I've ignored my gut feeling, and regretted it later on. I ignored my gut feelings in past relationships. I felt something wasn't right but just carried on until one day it could not be ignored any longer. If something doesn't feel right, there's always some truth to it. My body can sense when something isn't right for me. I pay attention to my gut instinct and trust that my intuition is onto something.
5. I spend time alone.
I spend time alone because I need to stop absorbing others' energies. I need alone time regularly to detox from the world, find center again and balance myself. When I constantly surround myself with others, it is impossible to ground myself. I make time for myself on a regular basis. I meditate daily. I go for walks by myself to the Post Office. I get to know myself, by myself.
6. I speak my mind.
If I hold back what I really want to say, I get sick. Seriously, I'll get a migraine. I need to speak my truth and be heard. This doesn't mean I need to always speak my truth, but finding one space where I can honestly and freely communicate is something I need. Usually it's a journal, or a close friend, and sometimes it's a support group. I'm personally a big fan of writing, support groups, coffee dates with friends, and therapy.
7. I surround myself with people who accept me exactly as I am.
It is really difficult for me to be my authentic self when the people who are around me are not those who accept me. I remember a time in my life when I discovered something new about myself and chose to change my way of life. Some people judged me and didn't accept me. I surround myself with people who respect and support me. I let go of those who are judgmental and critical of me.
8. I discriminate information.
I was not designed to swallow information whole. I make information my own. I don't absorb everything around me. I ask myself a couple questions: What does this information mean to me? Is it important to me? These things are what make information relevant, meaningful and important to me.
9. I know it's okay to let people down sometimes.
I am a human being; I am fallible. I will continue to make mistakes and let people down at times. Being true to myself means that I am okay setting boundaries with others, even if it feels like I am letting them down. People that I want around are people that will accept my boundaries and opinions.
10. I accept myself entirely.
I am loyal to myself. I am a beautiful, messy and lovable creature. We are all beautiful creatures, displaying our own unique array of colorful personalities. Our biggest challenge in life is accepting the whole spectrum of ourselves and of those around us. It's a journey of a lifetime, one that can not be easily mastered overnight. But the one thing I do know is this: it is entirely worth it.
The life of an entrepreneur is not without its challenges. Often days are cluttered with business meetings, sifting through emails, reaching out to potential clients, monitoring social media, and tracking business growth, just to name a few. Juggling all of these responsibilities and maintaining a mindset of always being ready to hustle can be quite draining in the long haul.
However, without proper relaxation, even the most motivated entrepreneurs can suffer the consequences of sustaining an intense work ethic without proper rest.
Here are 10 ways that entrepreneurs can easily de-stress from their responsibilities and energize for the days ahead.
1. Identify Sources of Stress
The first step to destressing is pinpointing the most direct causes of stress from your daily routine
With so many daily responsibilities to balance, entrepreneurs can have stress stemming from several sources, so this step may seem redundant and unhelpful, but the practice of identifying these sources of discomfort can be crucial in crafting a plan to deal with these ongoing pressures.
Curbing stress can be an involved process, but taking the time to find the exact causes of stress can help with the overall process of combating these feelings.
2. Hit the Gym
Daily exercise is one of the most beneficial practices for everyone, especially for entrepreneurs trying to blow off steam or escape from the discomforts of their busy everyday lives.
In addition, exercise doesn’t have to consist of lifting heavy weights or running long distances; simply being active for an hour a day can have both physical and mental health benefits. Getting in better shape and frequent exercise can lead to more overall energy and a better mental state to deal with sources of stress.
3. Turn Away from Technology
"Today everything from entertainment to business is conducted through the Internet, and so most people find themselves 'plugged in' multiple hours a day, if not longer,” says Deep Patel, the founder of Owlmetrics, an Instagram analytics tool. Entrepreneurs in particular may be checking the Internet and social media for a large part of the day to conduct their daily responsibilities. Eventually, these tasks and their accompanying stress can become increasingly associated with technology.
Taking a break from looking at screens and checking the Internet can afford entrepreneurs a much-needed break from whatever has been influencing their stress. In addition, this escape from technology can allow them to reflect on their lives outside of business and technology, which can ultimately help identify sources of stress.
4. Early to Bed
Many entrepreneurs carry the prevailing attitude to always stay busy. Although this mindset works wonders for business interests, it is less than beneficial for those people who forego other needs like sleep to attack their other projects.
Productivity is fine, but a lack of restful sleep can be a contributing factor in feelings of stress building up. By endeavoring to go to sleep earlier or fitting short periods of rest in busy days, stress can largely be eliminated since the body and mind are given ample time to recover from the weight of daily responsibilities.
5. Pick Up a Hobby
Working nonstop can become such a tedious, repetitive cycle, that it’s no wonder why entrepreneurs can become so affected by stressful emotions. One remedy for this issue is picking up a simple hobby.
Nothing complex or mind-wracking is needed; in fact, according to Harvard researcher Herbert Benson, simpler, more repetitive hobbies like knitting and stitching have been proven to reduce stress levels. Since the practice is easy yet continuous, it can help take a person’s mind off whatever is causing them stress, even for a little while.
6. Listen to Good Music
Classical music has long been associated with certain destressing qualities, like slowing your heart rate and lowering blood pressure. However, listening to music you like can have the added benefit of filling your brain with chemicals like dopamine that cause warmer feelings of comfort.
Entrepreneurs feeling the weight of the world on their back could benefit greatly from setting aside some time everyday, when the feelings of stress are at their worst, to sit down and put on some of their favorite tunes. Taking in those moments can combat feelings of stress and even motivate people to get back to work with greater energy.
7. Buy a Plant
Not all cures to stress have to be complicated. Studies have shown plants to possess a unique calming effect that can counteract rising stress levels. Entrepreneurs can simply buy a small houseplant and place it somewhere inconspicuous like their office desk.
Then, when the feelings of stress hit hardest, they can reduce those feelings, even slightly, just by being around that tiny houseplant.
8. Get a Snack
Stress eating gets the stigma of pigging out on unhealthy junk foods instead of dealing with outside pressures. Although eating unhealthy foods definitely doesn’t help your situation, eating a snack when feeling stressed actually isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be.
Having a moderate, filling snack can immediately fight against stress because the brain will no longer receive signals of hunger or malnourishment. Entrepreneurs who have a mindful snack when feeling stressed can reduce those feelings drastically.
9. Breathe Deeply
Sometimes the easiest way to cope with stress is by simply stepping back and taking a deep breath. Dr. Herbert Benson states that breathing exercises can help reduce stress by putting the body in a more relaxed state.
So entrepreneurs feeling the weight of their responsibilities especially heavily can just take a few breaths to reduce their blood pressure and reduce stress and tension from within.
10. Go for a Short Walk
Stress happens. Entrepreneurs can pretty much accept it as fact that doing business goes hand in hand with feeling pressured. Coping with these tensions may seem difficult, but something as insignificant as a short walk can be the cure.
Slowing your stride and reflecting on the past day can help ground the emotions of people experiencing heavy stress, especially when they feel like they’ve been rushing through everything else at a thousand miles an hour.
I am living the dream, one day at a time, and sharing my experiences with you.
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© 2016 ZUSHKA BIROS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.