Are you experiencing confusion, suffering from an overall feeling of heaviness and feeling like your brain hurts? If you wake up in the morning and find that you spend the first few hours trying to clear your head so you can think, keep reading because you may have a stress hangover. It is that overwhelming feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and unlike a partying hangover, it doesn’t seem to get better over time!
What Causes a Stress Hangover?
There are several factors that contribute to a stress hangover when you’re a business owner, but the main one is usually decision fatigue. In a normal day, a business owner may need to make a massive number of decisions. Lately, businesses have had extra stresses added to each day due the economic conditions they experienced through the Covid pandemic and its recovery. You may have been thinking:
- Do I keep my business open?
- Do I layoff employees?
- Do I reduce opening hours and employee hours?
- Do I reduce wages?
- How do I change my business model to adjust to this new way of doing business?
- Are their things that I’m missing?
- How am I going to pay rent?
- How do I pay my suppliers?
- What can I do about my operating cost?
- How do I keep my sanity when I’m so stressed out?
There are so many moving parts to your business and everyday there are new challenges. You may question the decision you made yesterday based on the latest information you receive today. All this thinking, processing and decision making is exhausting because your brain is using an elevated level of energy to go through those thought process. On top of the energy drain, your brain will struggle to keep up the pace of the decision and that high load mentally begins to show as stress in your mind and body.
Your Emotions and Mindset When You’re Stressed Out
For most business owners their emotions are going to make this hangover feel even worse. You treat your employees as family, you are concerned about them financially and want to provide them with a living wage. You know that if you close your doors or send them home when you’re slow, it will financially impact your employees, but at the same time you see your business account dwindling. So now you may think you need to cut all spending and expenses because you’re in protection mode. This emotional roller coaster feels like there are no good options and can put you into such an emotional tailspin that you can’t make any decisions.
So, how do you stay mentally and physically healthy so that you can come out of this with your sanity and your business? Let us first look at your mental state or mindset. Your mindset will be the foundation that can manage your wellbeing through stressful times. If your mental mindset is properly aligned with your goals, you’ll have less emotional stresses to contend with. Start by listening to several videos on positive thinking or health mindsets, next limit the amount of media garbage (propaganda and sensationalism) going into your mind, so you are not listening to all the negativity that can seep into your mind from the media. That will prevent you from having an emotional reaction to what you’ve overheard. This type of negative influence can be powerful and may hijack your mind from thinking on healthy thoughts. My personal rule of thumb is to only listen to news once per week unless there are important updates on a situation that affects me directly. Remember to ask yourself if you really need to know any of this information or if it would be better to look it up on the web in a few days. Then be cautious and notice the words that the media use to stir up your emotions because there are allot of them. Words like; massive, war zone, horror, alarming, worry, hopelessness, panic, shock, conspiracy, swindle, controversial, agony too name the common ones.
After taking steps to limit your minds exposure to negative media toxins you will notice that your central nervous system will start to calm down which means your going the right direction. Occasionally, they may have lingering affects that may still be bothering you. If you are still noticing that you are feeling stressed, down, or overwhelmed, get a profession involved to help you navigate back to a healthy mindset. A skilled professional whether that be a psychotherapist, or a performance mindset coach will be able to help guide you through your recovery far faster than if you mentally try to tough it out yourself.
You may be asking yourself, “what can these professionals do to help me.” Let me share with you how my inner circle of mentors and fellow coaches helped me. I too was experiencing a stress hangover near the end of the Covid pandemic, my mind was racing, I could not focus on my business. My coach asked me just 3 (but particularly important) questions which helped me to snap out of my hangover and got me back into my performance mode.
- What are you focusing on?
- When you think those thoughts, how does your body feel or respond?
- What powerful thought(s) do you want to focus on that will create the future you want?
Your brain can only focus or process one thing at a time, so if you focus in on the problem at the moment you will naturally retract and will not be able to look at ways to expand and succeed. Think of things that are going to be positive for you, which will in turn, allow you to have an open mind and relax. When you focus like this it is referred to as zooming in and zooming out. If you are zooming in on doom and gloom, then you have closed your mind and that’s all you can see or imagine. If you zoom out of todays problems to a time in the future your brain can see more of the dreams that you want to create and will have a better perspective.
Your Physical Health When You’re Stressed Out
Your physical health is just as important as your mental health. Your body responds to how you think and feel. Make sure you are eating properly, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and being physically active. Don’t underestimate how much better you will feel when you get out for a walk, run or bike ride. Take time to check in with how your body is feeling several times per day. Each of us hold stress in our bodies in diverse ways. Ask yourself questions like:
- Where am I noticing stress and tension on my body?
- Are my ears ringing, muscles trembling, or shaking?
- Has my appetite changed? If so, am I eating more, craving sugar, or caffeine?
- Have I noticed that I am using drugs or alcohol more to relax?
- Has my vision changed? Am I seeing blurry patches or floating particles in my vision more than normal?
- Am I suffering from brain fog, headaches or migraines?
- Am I noticing cramps or stiffness especially when I wake up?
Create a Plan to Deal With Stress
If you have stress at a level that has gotten your attention, it’s time to treat it as a condition that requires respect and a plan to recover from. If you don’t consider it significant, you may find that it will continue to affect your performance. Although you may adapt and continue your day-to-day actions, it’s only a matter of time before you will be dealing with it. Stress creates feeling of being unwell, can trigger some diseases and complicates any physical or mental struggle you may have. Because it is hard to quantify the symptoms of stress, medically professionals often overlook it. I’ve personally had the best treatment from naturopathic medicine and herbs from a natural path doctor who specialized in stress and chronic fatigue. By creating a plan for yourself that incorporates the right professionals for each area of your mindset, body, and phycology, you’ll get the help you need to recover and begin to feel alive and well again.