It will come as no surprise to you when I say that “End of Financial Year” is a time of heightened pressure and emotional stress. A Bank of Queensland survey conducted last year showed that a third of small business owners said that “End of Financial Year” was the most stressful time of the year.
The reasons for this are multifactorial, including increase paperwork and administration needs, sales targets, longer working hours causing reduced time for family and friends and social isolation. Small business owners are likely to be dealing with the highest burden of stress, as they feel very responsible for employees and they can feel isolated as they don’t have a large team to rely on.
As a result stress can set in, and often the warning signs are ignored. Unmanaged, stress can lead to depression, anxiety and burnout. The following red flags are signs that you may need help and that you should reach out for further support, including:
- difficulty concentrating
- avoidance of tasks
- irritability or teariness
- difficulty sleeping
- inability to switch off from work, with thoughts of work intruding upon other time
- Withdrawal from family and friends
Prevent stress from taking over your life is busy period, it is important to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. If you’re having trouble keeping track of this, undertake the following steps to get things back on track:
- incorporate relaxation into your routine schedule. Find a technique that works for you such as meditation, gardening or listening to music.
- establish effective sleep hygiene. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, and establish a “wind down” period prior to going to bed each night of 30 minutes without interruption from work such as laptops, phones and tablets. Use this technique particularly if you’re having trouble switching off from work and going to sleep each night.
- Build physical activity into your daily schedule. Physical activity is shown to reduce stress and promote good mood.
- Ensure you do something outside of work that you can share with family or friends. This can be any hobby imaginable, just as long as it takes your mind away from work.
Increase productivity by focusing on the cost of time
Multitasking feels productive, but unfortunately it has been shown to cause productivity to plummet by up to 40%. So ensure you focus on each of your tasks that you need to complete exclusively at one time. Many find lists with checkboxes that you work through each day to be quite helpful. Additionally, a useful strategy is to do the most important tasks at the beginning of the day when your brain is not fatigue and is at its most productive energy state.
Remember if you try all of these strategies and you are still finding yourself increasingly stressed or overwhelmed, it is important to seek help. A good place to start is Beyond Blue, which can provide information into the symptoms you’re feeling and what you may be experiencing. This website can also provide a wealth of information to help you cope and important resources to start you off in the right direction.
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