By September 25, 2013 Read More →

Techniques for Managing the Stress of Being Self-Employed

Varsha KhatriBy Varsha Khatri, MA, RYT

Being self-employed means more than just having a flexible schedule. With working for yourself comes the added stress of not having a regular pay cheque, working long hours, and not being able to separate work and personal life. It is always a great sense of freedom to be able to do something you love, but at the same time, the risks are quite high, especially if you are supporting a family. So the question here is how do you handle the stress of being self-employed? How can you possibly relax while you have a to-do list that is sky high and never ending?

Well, here are five stress-busting tips that will help you relax, feel better, improve your productivity, and help you have more mental clarity.

1)      Breathe. Breathing allows your brain to get oxygen so that you can have greater mental clarity. When you sit down at your desk, close your eyes for a few seconds and just sit back in your chair and take a few deep breaths. You will instantly notice that you are feeling calmer.

2)      Eat fruits and nuts or seeds. When you are under high amounts of stress, the first tendency is to reach for the refined carbohydrates, such as muffins and pastries. Therefore, keep a stash of fruits (even dried fruits will do) alongside some nuts and seeds. Combining fruits and nuts/seeds will stabilise your energy levels for the day and will give your brain a natural boost.

3)      Avoid caffeine. Caffeine may keep you awake and may at first give you energy, but it hinders your mental clarity. Drinking caffeine actually keeps you from sleeping well at night because your adrenaline is pumping harder than it needs to. If you must have your coffee or tea, have it only in the morning and then drink herbal teas throughout the day. But the best way to keep your body awake and lively all day is to drink water. Water will keep your body hydrated and energised.

4)      Make time to go outside. You should spend at least one hour a day outside getting fresh air. Fresh air will also boost your brain power and will help you to relax. Try having business meetings outside when the weather is nice or park your car further away from your office. You can even go on a walk when you are on the phone and don’t need to take any notes. Many small business owners run their errands around midday so that they can get out and be away from the office for about an hour to give themselves a break.

5)      Engage in meditation and relaxation techniques. This is a very commonly recommended technique for managing your stress levels. Most people assume that they don’t have 20-30 minutes to meditate a day or that their minds can never settle down enough. But in fact, research shows that engaging in meditation and relaxation techniques will actually increase your productivity and creativity. And when it comes to being self-employed, you do have to become creative and be productive. A great way to meditate yourself is to focus on your breath. When you inhale, bring your belly out as if you are inflating your stomach and then as you exhale, bring your belly in as if you are deflating and pushing your stomach muscles inward. At first, this technique may feel counter-intuitive, but with time and practice, you will learn and all you have to do is focus upon your breath.

With these tips, it’s important to keep in mind that the health of your business is only as good as your own health. When you take care of yourself, your business will thrive even more. When you are self-employed, you soon realise that there is no such thing as a sick paid day off. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Therefore, start by taking care of your health and managing your stress levels with the tips above and you will soon notice how much better you feel.



Varsha has a Masters in Holistic Health Education and Holistic Nutrition as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Physiology, Health, and Ayurveda. Varsha has worked in the health and nutrition industry for over 5 years. Over the years her experience in the field of functional nutrition has enabled her to work with patients to reach their health goals through the power of healing foods.

Illuminated Health – Nutrition Consultations and Wellness Coaching


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