By Michelle Rebecca
Working from home might sound like the end-all, be-all of job opportunities. After all, you can work wherever you want, wear whatever you want and have total freedom.
To be fair, home-based businesses have some definite upshots, including the ability to wear pajamas during a non-video Skype call. However, being at home brings its own set of stressors to the table – or sofa, if you prefer to work there.
Many times, telecommuters aren’t expecting certain anxieties, and that can lead to lowered productivity, a decrease in client satisfaction and even health-related problems.
The key for professionals working from their residences is to nip stress in the bud before it gets out of hand. That’s why we’ve put together the following stress management tips for home-based small business owners.
1. Set a Schedule and Stick to It
It can be oh-so-tempting to repeatedly hit the snooze button when you work from your house. Hey, no harm, no foul, right? The problem with having zero reliability in your schedule is that it can lead to procrastination. Plus, you could miss an important phone call if you sleep in until 10:00 a.m.
Put some discipline in place, but with a little flexibility in case you do need to catch a few extra zzzs or run some errands during the day. This will help you stay in control of your time.
2. Fire Toxic Clients
Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye to someone who needs to pay his or her bills. At the same time, if that person is giving you continuously high amounts of heartburn, letting go can be the best way to solve the problem.
3. Set Parameters with Clients, Family and Friends
Setting parameters in a pleasant, but the firm way will be an enormous stress-reliever. If you have office hours, clients will know that you aren’t available to them 24/7. Plus, friends and family won’t assume that they can just pop in for a visit because you work from home and can always find time for them.
4. Get Quality Office Furniture
Sure, you want to spend as little as possible on your home office. We get that, and it makes sense from a frugal perspective. The issue is that you could wind up hurting yourself if you hunch all day over a poorly designed kitchen table that’s meant for eating, not typing.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend a bundle, as that could increase your stress. Look for bargains on Craigslist and eBay, or even at your local Salvation Army or furniture consignment store.
5. Make Room for Breaks in the Form of Exercise
You’ll need to keep up your energy level, and one of the proven ways to do so is to exercise regularly. However, for many home-based business people, it’s tough to make it to the gym. This is why you must drill yourself to take a break, even if it’s just to walk around the neighborhood for 15 minutes. Not only will you be refreshed, but your built up anxiety will be lowered.
6. Don’t Turn into a Hermit
Plenty of individuals who work from home start to experience depression-like symptoms because they feel isolated. Don’t allow that to happen to you. Join a professional organization, a volunteer with a nonprofit, visit clients if they are in your area and have lunches with friends.
7. Ask for a Friend’s Advice when You Need It
This tip might fly in the face of the personalities of home-based workers, most of whom are incredibly independent by nature. However, when you’re backed up, you’re backed up. Pick up the phone or send an SOS email to trusted people who can give you advice, or assist you in some way.
8. Keep Up Your Sense of Humor
There is nothing better than a good laugh to chase away stress. Surround yourself with amusing anecdotes, poems, and sayings. When you’re feeling blue, allow yourself a small break to watch funny YouTube videos that make you laugh.
9. Stay on Top of Paperwork
If you’re bad at sending out invoices or keeping a paper trail, either learn how to do it or hire someone to do it on your behalf. You’ll be thankful that it’s not hanging over your head like the proverbial Sword of Damocles.
10. Get Professional Help If you Need It
Have you been sleeping too much, or not enough? Are you losing interest in your job? Is your digestion tanking? Muscles aching? Buckling under the pressures of panic attacks? There’s no reason to suffer in silence. Call your primary care physician and get a referral to someone who can help. If you’re involved in a professional organization, you may even be able to see someone for free or at a reduced fee.
The Bottom Line
Everyone gets stressed out from work every now and then, but people who work from home may feel a little bit more pressure. Unlike people who can leave the office and come home to unwind, your home is your workplace, so it can be difficult to pull yourself out of your stressed mindset. The next time you’re starting to feel like you’re burning out, just remember these tips.