5 Ways to Deal With Stress

Audio Business Tips

So I discovered something I didn’t know today. April is Stress Awareness month. I know that every month, week and day has a theme and that we are taking pause for everything. Well, almost everything, apparently there is no national scrunchie day (I checked), but there is a national pickle day (November 14th) National Sugar Cookie Day (July 9th- My birthday), in case you wanted to know. While most of these days are just an excuse to have a margarita, wear socks that don’t match or post a selfie with your dog, I felt like Stress Awareness Month was worth taking note. I wanted to share

A little history: This isn’t one of those social media inspired monthly themes. Apparently, since 1992 April has been recognized as Stress Awareness Month. This month is all about raising awareness of stresses causes and cures in this pressure driven society. I’ve been talking a lot about anxiety lately and felt this topic was a great addition.

I don’t need to list out things that cause stress for me or in modern society as a whole. I mean dismay and anxiety are just part of the American way nowadays. With changing politics, personal stressors, bills, personal relationships (or relationshits depending on your situation), stress is all around us. While I haven’t managed to find a way around entirely avoiding stress, I have worked on the search for ways to cope with it and prevent it from turning into crippling anxiety.

Push Through

This is somethings the only option. Things get so heavy or crazy all you can do is keep pushing through. Don’t focus on what is stressing you out but why it’s stressing you out.
Example: You’re stressed because the negative number on your credit card statement is four times as much as the positive amount in your bank account.
Solution: Look through those statements. What are you spending your money on? What can you cut back? What can you reduce? Don’t think, “I’ll never pay this off!” Change your thought too, “How can I pay this off?
Sometimes pushing past the negative paralyzing feelings and focusing on your abilities makes all the difference. No one has ever made progress focusing on their limitations, they focus on what they can do and they do it.

To-Do Lists

To-do lists are my bread and butter. Seriously I’m obsessed with them. Taking a big project and breaking it into bite size doable tasks makes my heart happy. This also can have a bit of a Catch-22 effect for some people. They write out all they need to do and it freaks them out, they look at it and say, “How will I do all of this?
You have two options. You can put them in order of urgency, ease or return and then just make the conscious decision to work on one thing at a time. Go down the list and focus on the tasks one by one until you get them all done.
Another choice (my favorite) is to make a master list, see what you can eliminate (by eliminating I mean take off completely, outsource or do at a much later date), then pick three work on those three one at a time. Totally block any of the other things out of your mind and focus on the three you selected to complete.

I like to-do lists because you get to cross things off as you do them. Putting the line through or checklist next to a task, moving a sticky note into the done column on my Scrum board is like saying, “Look at me kicking ass!”

Focus on One Thing at a Time

This isn’t the same as the to-do list. With this, I’m talking about massive projects. I’ve been guilty of having multiple passion projects at once and not getting anywhere on any of them because I was taking little chunks out of them but not consistently.
Write a chapter of the e-book, make the slides for one lesson of a course, reach out to a few contacts about webinars and so on. If you have a project that requires a lot of time make that your top priority and get that done then focus on the next big project. This isn’t to say you let the daily tasks required to live life or run your business fall through the cracks. You still have to answer your emails, pay bills make dinner but you should limit the number of things that are taking large chunks of your time. You will be more likely to retain your drive if you see yourself accomplishing things and making progress.

Taking Care of Yourself

This one is kind of obviously but still warrants mentioning because the truth is most people don’t. There are tons of things you can do to take care of yourself. The important thing is to make sure you are doing so inside and out. If you go to cardio kickboxing four days a week that is great. If you’re going to cardio kickboxing four times a week, are in an emotionally abusive relationship and 90% of your meals come with a side of fries it’s a little less great.
You may need to take a hard look at your life. Think about what your habits are. Who do you surround yourself with? Again focus on what you can change. This year I’ve worked hard to heal myself inside and out.
Some of the things I do to make sure I’m taking care of myself:
I take personal days off– I take days off of work just to relax and spend time with myself. I seriously have scheduled vacation days months ahead of time like, “There aren’t any work holidays in June, I think I’ll take the 15th off and have a long weekend to recharge.” You may not have the money to take a vacation at the beach but if you have vacation days don’t let that stop you from using them. I was so bad about this until a few years ago. I didn’t have money to travel, so I’d let my hard earned vacation days go to waste.
Take nights off from my business– As a side hustler, I know how easy it is to fall into the habit of working all day then coming home and working all night. I make a point to give myself Thursday nights off. I take the night have some wine, hang out with a friend and watch our favorite shows. It may not seem like much, but I look forward to that time and rarely miss it.
I meditate daily– I’ll be honest I can’t meditate most days without falling asleep. That’s why I’ve incorporated it into my bedtime routine; it’s the perfect way to clear my mind before I go to bed. Each night I do a guided meditation to help wipe away the day and prepare my mind for rest.
I journal– I know I do my best to publish a new blog post each week, but it’s not the same type of writing or reflection. Each morning I write out five positive affirmations to start the day and each night I do a goal and gratitude check in. Between the two things, it probably takes me 5 minutes a day. In that 5 minutes, I get reminded of all the great things in my life, the greatness in myself and the greatness to come.
Workout– This is an excellent way to get my heart pumping and clear my mind. It’s hard to think about that stupid email a client sent you at work when you’re doing squats to Jason Derulo.
Make time for my loved ones– Sometimes the best thing you can do is give a part of yourself to others. When I talk to my sister after she’s had a long day and make her laugh about my own misadventures, I feel good.
Eat Healthy– I have lost almost 30 pounds since New Years. I’m not starving; I’m not depriving myself, I’m just healthier. I eat more greens and protein, fewer carbs and hardly any dairy. I find it helps me sleep better and has given my IBS a reason for pause.

Comparison

What! I know everyone has been talking about how bad comparison is for your mental wellbeing. I totally agree comparison can take you down a dangerous rabbit hole, but I like to practice positive comparison. When I am feeling down, victimized or defeated I think about how bad things could be.
For example, when I have a bad day at work I think about a friend of mine who lost their job and is having to move back home because they can’t find a job. I reflect on how lucky I am to have a job, apartment and car!
I think about how lucky I was that I wasn’t at home the day I got robbed. Does it mean these things don’t still bug me or I don’t have self-pity moments? No, but they do let me get over them quicker.

Another comparison tactic I recommend is self-comparison. So you’ve hit a plateau in your weight loss, so what? You are still 15 pounds less than you from 3 months ago.
Even when I get frustrated with my current state I think about 19 year old me, driving a car with a mind of its own and working two jobs while going to school full time, she would be so happy to have some of my problems.

This isn’t to say you should look down or others or your past self but you should realize that some people would love to be where you are. Count your blessings and celebrate your progress.

What are some ways you deal with stress?

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Learn more about Stress Awareness Month

How to Get Past The 5 Reasons People Don’t Ask For Help

Audio Business Tips

Last week I shared some tips for preventing anxiety while trying to grow and maintain your online business. In addition to that in a recent post, I talked about how asking for help is an important skill to have online because you can’t do everything on your own. That’s why there are so many tools, programs and groups to put people together.
Between email responses and blog post comments, I saw a common theme of people saying how hard it was for them to ask for help, so I decided to talk about the problems we have asking for help and how to overcome them.
If you get my weekly update “Things You Missed” then you know we briefly discussed this a while back, but I think many of us can relate to the topic, so I wanted to share it here.

How to Get Past The 5 Reasons People Don’t Ask For Help

Fear of Being Annoying

This is probably the easiest one to spot and the hardest one to overcome. By nature most of us want others to like us and we don’t want to inconvenience them or burden them. But guess what, very few people do things that they genuinely don’t want to do. If you ask someone to do something and they don’t want to do it, then they won’t do it. It’s really as simple as that. Asking someone nicely, “Do you have time to look over my webinar slides,” isn’t annoying. Asking them over and over after they tell you they don’t have time is when you are becoming annoying.
Just because you ask someone to do something doesn’t mean they have to do it. If you remember that and respect their answer, you won’t be annoying.

Extra Tip: Make sure you aren’t always asking without giving. Offer your help or services when you can in return and don’t expect them always to say yes when you always say no. You can do something as simple as making a point to share their content on a regular basis on social media. I’ve had several bloggers take note of this and almost always they seem more perceptive to working with me.

Fear of Losing Control

I know how terrifying it is to trust people with something so close to your heart but don’t think of asking for help as losing control. Instead, think of it as making room to grow. If you need help with something chances are you don’t have the time or the best ability to do whatever it is you need help with. Why spend 2 hours watching YouTube tutorials if you have a friend who can walk you through something in a fourth of the time, it would take you on your own?
Even if you outsource or ask for a helping hand, you are still in control. You still get the final say. I’ve had many friendly conversations with other bloggers about certain ideas. Sometimes they offer an idea of suggestion I love and other times they have a recommendation that I’m not interested in. I’m not obligated to take it, I thank them for the feedback and listen to my instincts in those situations.

They Don’t Want to Look Weak

You know what is weak? Having an ego that is so big, you can’t ask for help. Being able to identify your weaknesses (yes, we all have weaknesses, even Thor) and asking for help is a great sign of strength. What looks weaker? Putting crap into the universe that you did all by yourself or putting something great into the world with help from other people?
Why is it most of the hard workers in the world are so quick to offer a helping hand but so slow to ask for one? It’s a challenge especially as entrepreneurs; we are so focused on our goals that we want to feel like we built everything on our own. The sad part is it isn’t necessarily an arrogance thing but more of a subconscious hazard. You want people to see you as this capable go-getter and that’s fine but be realistic with yourself about your abilities. You should never stop learning.

Fear of Being Rejected

Spoiler Alert! Not everyone you ask for help will say yes. You might hear, “no,” more than you hear, “yes.” I used to work as an insurance agent and my boss would always tell us to get happy when we got a no because we had to get nine no’s before we got one yes, statistically. I don’t know if those numbers are hardcore statistics, but they sure felt real my two years in the insurance industry. The hard part about this one is separating your emotions from their schedule and their answer. They may think you are the bee’s knees but they can’t parent with you at the moment. That doesn’t mean you stop asking people for help and lick your wounds in the corner. The opposite, it means you find more people to ask.

Click To Tweet

Thinking They Can Do It All

You can’t do it all. Suck it up and ask for help. The End.
HAHA okay, I guess I’ll go into further detail about this. As a planner myself I can see how you might let yourself think you can manage it all. “If I’m organized I can get it all done.” We are only human. We all need help sometimes in one way or another and to different degrees. We all have weaknesses and strengths, and you need to be able to admit when you need a helping hand.

I want to leave you with this final thought the same way you want to be well-liked and helpful to people you care about is the same for most other people. Think of the last time someone asked you for help on something you’re good at. I don’t mean when was the last time someone asked you to help them move or for a ride to the airport but when was the last time someone said, “Hey you’re really good at writing, will you take a look at this paper and tell me what you think?” It probably made you feel pretty good. When you ask someone to help you try to remember that you are basically complimenting them, extra brownie points if you go ahead and compliment them.

What is the biggest thing that stops you from asking for help in your online business or even in everyday life?

 

Dealing With Anxiety In Your Online Biz

Audio Business Tips

You know what’s always annoyed me is how celebrities or media personalities can have a nervous breakdown, go to a facility for six weeks to recover and work through their issues, then return to work and still have their job. The reason that this bugs me is that for the everyday Jane that’s just sometimes not an option (usually isn’t an option). When our anxiety is at an all-time high we still have to find a way to get out of bed and go to work and pretend that everything is ok. If you have the bittersweet calling of trying to run an online business or having a side hustle in addition to your daytime job and other commitments, then you find yourself having to be “on” even more often. For me, while my blog was inspired by the idea that I should write more it also kind of started out of a place of anxiousness and feeling the need to do something. Writing had always been that thing for me, so I decided to go for it. It really was a bit of a catch-22. The outlet and an opportunity to work through things by writing and distracting myself for my mind by focusing on writing were great, but then the new obligations and deadlines were also somewhat stressful.

Dealing with anxiety in your online biz

Make a Schedule

I often have people laugh at how organized I am. They laugh at the fact that I have an alarm for my gratitude journal and that I plan strategic work sessions on Saturday with organized to do lists but what they don’t get is I need these. While planning and organizing this stuff beforehand might seem stressful to others, to me it’s soothing to know what I’m doing and when I’m doing it. Having a clear expectation for your work session will greatly reduce your anxiety and maximize your work time because you won’t fall that rabbit hole of, “Where do I start?”

Create Systems

One major cause of stress in most businesses stems from a lack of organization. If you are constantly recreating the same steps why not put them into place and create a system? Spreadsheets are your friend. I have processes for almost everything I do on a regular basis. I keep meticulous records to make things easier to find. I currently do all the copy and social media posting for my business but in the event, I plan to build out a team and it will be easier to onboard them.
Here is my standard process for a new blog post: 
Brain dump- Write any notes that come to me and think of sections on the topics.
Fill out Blog Post Keyword Sheet  (Wait till post is complete to do social media posts)
Write post
Proof with Grammarly
Read post out loud
Use a headline analyzer and tweak to try to get a score of 70 or higher
Find photo for graphic
Make graphics using Canva- Pinterest and square social media image
Do SEO Checklist
Record and edit audio (if applicable)
Finish Blog Post Keyword Sheet (social media posts)
Publish
Log post on proper google sheet then start sharing the post on the places listed on the sheet and marking them as done. These include: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (via Buffer), Google Plus, Stumble Upon, etc
Add to the newsletter when for the week.
Add prewritten tweets and Facebook posts to buffer
Sporadically add back to social media schedule

Find What Works For You

We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. If you find a way that actually works for you to do something in your side hustle then stick with that way. This can be hard for a lot of us because A. We either have a hard time identifying what we are good at (this isn’t because you aren’t good at anything, it’s because when you’re naturally good at something or you have a lot of experience with something it can be hard to see it as a talent or something special because you’re so used to it). B. We are constantly victims of shiny object syndrome and hearing new ways to try things. While it is important to stay with the times, there is no need for you to try to reinvent the wheel. You need to grow with your building but do it in a smart way, figure out what works for you, master that then slowly try new ways to do things, if they appear like they will be better or more beneficial.

When you find something that works stick with it. You don't have to do what other's do. Click To Tweet

Knows What Doesn’t Work For You

Does Instagram just stress you out, give you super comparison anxiety and make you want to get in a ball and cry? Then maybe you shouldn’t be on Instagram, or maybe you should change the way you use it. If you are a fashion blogger or have a very visual product to sell, I think Instagram and Pinterest are your best bets for social media. But if you find that Instagram sends you in an anxiety frenzy then you need to create a strategy to avoid this. I would suggest created a social media calendar using a tool like Buffer to schedule and then take your Instagram application off the main screen of your phone and turn off the notifications. Then set times to engage with it. Limit the time you spent, only use it strategically, and if you know, certain profiles are a trigger do not follow them.
If you hate being on video, then you don’t do it. Sometimes the way to find what works for you is by understanding what doesn’t work and why.

Remember You Are The Captain Of Your Fate

The remarkable thing about having your blog or online business is that you pretty much decide how busy you are and how much time you spend on it. By that token, you also determine how successful you are. You get to choose which forms of social media you tackle. How often you post, publish and create. So when you just aren’t feeling it or just can’t handle it and you need to take a break, that is more than okay. Taking the occasional break will not crumble your business, especially if you’ve set up systems beforehand. What will crush your business is having a full on breakdown after you’ve ignored your body’s pleas for a break and rest.
Be ambitious but also realistic. What I mean is dream big, set huge goals but don’t unrealistically pack your schedule because, “she believed she could so she did.
She believed she could create XYZ, so she made a business plan and actionable steps to achieve this. She didn’t say I want to make five figures this month even though my typical income is only $1500. Then think she would make her first five figure month in 30 days by writing and selling 100 $100 articles, in the 3 hours a day she has to write. Not saying it’s not possible, but it’s not very strategic.
If you want to reach a particular goal be strategic and realistic about how you plan to do it. Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you get home from work at 6:00 pm don’t schedule back to back coaching calls till midnight, when are you going to eat? Poop? Sleep? Think about your needs not just your goals. I am all about the hustle but not about unnecessary anxiety.

Ask For Help

This is one of the most difficult things to do for some of us (myself included). We don’t want to be a bother, or we believe we can do it ourselves.
There are so many ways of asking for help; you just have to be willing to do it. Whether it’s taking a course, starting a mastermind group, emailing a friend who has more experience in the issue than you, hiring a coach or purchasing a book. There are so many ways to find help. You don’t have to figure everything out on your own, that is the beautiful thing about the web. Also, it’s all about taking and giving, tonight I have a call with a blogging friend to talk through some of my issues, and then two nights from now I have a call to help a blogging friend out. No one and I mean, no one has it ALL figured out. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and identifying where you need help and not being afraid to ask for it is a great show of your determination to improve.

No one has it ALL figured out. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Click To Tweet

I want to offer my help to you personally. If you have issues with blogging, time management, and your online biz, anxiety or just have a question, you think I could help you find the answer to please drop me a comment. It might inspire a post, email or start a real conversation.

How do you deal with anxiety in your business?