How to Handle the Stress of Business Ownership: Laura Winchester, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Employee Assistance Professional

Article excerpt

To avoid stress overload, people need to find a balance between their work life and personal life. For small business owners, that can be a particularly difficult challenge, said Laura Winchester, licensed clinical social worker and certified employee assistance professional.

"Some stressors associated with business ownership include the need to balance attention between strategic planning and crisis management; the requirement of wearing many hats at once; and the need to manage one's time in order to fulfill the needs of the business as well as one's own personal physical, mental, social and spiritual needs," Winchester said.

From a physical standpoint, the body doesn't discriminate between work stress and other sources of stress. However, the effects of both are cumulative.

"Studies have found that as an individual's stressors increase over a period of time, so does the risk of physical illness," she said. "Similarly, practicing stress management skills can have a positive effect on how we function in a variety of roles, including work performance."

Stress manifests itself through physical, emotional and behavioral difficulties. Physical symptoms include muscle pain, headaches, stomachaches, chest pain, fatigue, changes in sex drive and sleep problems. Mood changes may include anxiety, depression, irritability and difficulty concentrating. Behavioral problems, meanwhile, include appetite and eating changes, acting out anger, substance abuse, social isolation and difficulty functioning at work and/or home. …


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