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Friday, July 8, 2016

Herspective - Dealing with stress!

Hey stamp fam, I'm back again with a new post today on the effects of stress on small business owners and ways in which you can combat and even overcome stressful feelings. As a person who usually deals with stress by obsessively going over difficult events for days, learning some strategies to properly deal with stressful situations is crucial. This is doubly true when you own your own business, the stress factor is multiplied by 10 because the pressure is all on you (or in our case, us) and there is no safety net so, the struggle is very real.

If you are one of those people who can let anything go without giving it a second thought, I applaud you. No, seriously I am giving you a standing ovation right here in my office *clap, clap, clap* but seriously, if you are one of those rare people who Teflons like a champ (Teflon = slides right off) then you must have your life figured out. Everyone deals with challenges in different ways but, the majority of us are a lot more like Velcro with stress sticking with us. I am team Teflon when it comes to some difficulties but the majority of the time I am the Barry Bonds (it's a baseball reference, look it up) of Velcro. Of course, as I've aged (oh God, I'm old) my tolerance for stress has gone up but sometimes I am reduced to a huddled mass in the corner over even a minor stressor. Case in point, when I quit my job to help Chris full time with the business it was stressful to say the least and I went through a period of intense introspection wherein I agonized over my decision for a solid week (I still think about it from time to time). Obviously there is an adjustment period but it hit me hard so, I had to find ways to deal with the feelings brought on by the stressful change. Below is a list of ways I use to help cope with stressful situations and feelings.


I cannot stress this one enough, if you feel yourself freaking out and that familiar pressure in your chest is coming on take a moment and breathe. I mean, really use those lungs and take a big breath in for four counts and then let it out for four and repeat until you feel the pressure ease. This is a Yoga breathing technique I picked up recently (look at me being all trendy) and it works every time.

Deal head on

Whatever is causing you to stress out, take time out to deal with the situation. The longer something sits in your mind the longer it has to fester and if you leave it long enough it will turn into a gigantic rage monster of stress and anxiety. Dealing with the root cause of your stress will make you feel a lot better and you get the added bonus of ticking something off your mental "to-do" list. 

If you can't deal, VENT

Yes, the above scenario is very "in a perfect world" so, what do you do when the situation cannot be resolved? You vent like a mother fucker. Getting out all those raw emotions onto a page or into someone's willing (hopefully) ear can help release the pressure and maybe even help you solve a few problems. Swearing is also very acceptable in this scenario and I recommend a dose of "fuck" taken as many times as needed, daily. 

Beautify your surroundings

I'm not telling you to Martha Stewart your office or house but, "beautify your hole, and you'll beautify your soul" - The Simpsons. In a nutshell, if you work/live well in a cluttered space then throw some more items on the ground and continue working/living. If, like me, you feel a lot better in an almost barren space devoid of any humanity then step into your plastic bubble room and be at peace. Make your surroundings reflect what you like most and your stress levels will go down, fact *disclaimer, this is not a fact supported by actual data*.

Work those muscles

Anyone who knows me will tell you my lift game is on point. I lift weights five times a week and even manage to sneak in cardio two to three times weekly. Don't worry, I'm still fat and love chips but working out helps to keep some extremely pervasive thoughts at bay. I'm not telling you to go into extreme Cross-fit mode but getting your body moving can help to reduce your stress levels by increasing endorphins. Bonus, it helps take your mind off whatever is stressing you out! 

Hit something, no...really 

Notice I said "something" and not someone. I am not advocating violence but sometimes the only way to deal with the frustrating feelings is to take a swipe at an inanimate object preferably of the soft variety. Take a boxing class or grab your least favorite pillow and give it a good jab while thinking about the cause of your stress. You would be surprised how effective this can be. 

Do something you love at least once a day 

How often do you do something you truly love per day? I think the majority of us either think we don't have time or think that we will get to that favorite activity later and when later comes we are either too tired or have forgotten all about it. I know that time is precious especially when you run your own business but make time to do at least one small thing you love every single day. You don't have to take six hours to bang out another four chapters in your novel maybe take thirty minutes to jot down some rough ideas about the next chapter you plan on working on and then during the next break write out a couple of paragraphs. There is always enough time for what you love you just have to think outside the box!   

If it scares you, do it

This was passed down to me by my cousin Michelle and relates back to what I said earlier about facing problems head on. She told me do at least one thing per day that scares you. This applies to so many situations and I think it can even apply to stress. If you are stressing over something you have to do because it scares you, do it! If you are afraid to take your road test because you are afraid to fail, book the test. You will feel stressed out about it all the way up until you pass the test (or fail the first time then retake it, cough) but think of how happy you will feel after it's done! Tackle those stressful situations and I guarantee you will feel better once it's dealt with (warning, this is not a guarantee).

Unless you live on Mars with a herd of friendly cats surrounded by chocolate and beer you probably have at least some stress in your life (although, the thought of cleaning up after all those cats is mighty stressful). Though it's unavoidable, how you choose to deal with stress can make all the difference. A wise stamp guru (Mr. Stamp) once said, "you know, even the worst work day now is better than the best day at my old job." Preach son, preach.

Stamp Geek, out!


  1. "you know, even the worst work day now is better than the best day at my old job". I guess you really diskied your jobs. Maybe that's why you don't mind trading income of $16,000 a month for the 2 of you to a quarter of that.

  2. Hi there, this is Madame Stamp speaking. To answer your anonymous statement, I despised a lot of the politics and malarkey at my old gig but, I wouldn't say I "really disliked" it. I don't mind trading in our old combined income because I am 100% happier doing what we are doing now. Bonus, I love the work and I'm working with the person I love most. You sound like you need a hug, here is a virtual one: *OOOOO*. Best of luck with your own endeavors.