After studying some of the one million business owners who use Shopify, we discovered that founder types tend to fall into one of five personality types. Which one are you? Start with our quiz.
Well, Stargazers, it’s been a year. And if the events of 2020 didn’t already lift our collective stress levels, we’re about to enter another holiday shopping season. ✨
Small business owners have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and many are relying on BFCM and holiday sales—even if they’re bound to compound the stress. We’re faced with the inevitable: these next few weeks will be a test. Let’s focus, though, on what we can control. What tools can we use to manage the physical and emotional effects of our increased stress levels? How do we de-stress when the pressure is mounting?
In the final push to the end of December, we’re sending good vibes into the universe for an auspicious 2021.
We know the New Year isn’t a magical do-over. But still, in the final push to the end of December, we’re sending good vibes into the universe for an auspicious 2021. And until then, we’re here for you. Below, we’ll discuss ways in which stress manifests in entrepreneurs and offer coping strategies and self-care tips for every personality type.
*Deep breaths* Let’s go!
Stress and entrepreneurship
As an entrepreneur (OK, as a human), you’ve probably encountered some of the effects of stress in your life. It can manifest in different ways for different people. Some experience physical reactions, like sleeplessness, fatigue, or loss of appetite. Others exhibit emotional responses like anxiety, irritability, or restlessness.
Entrepreneurship can come with a host of stressors, from income instability to the challenge of managing all the moving parts of a business alone—even those parts that aren’t your strengths. For many though (you, we hope), the stress is worth it. After all, the freedom of being your own boss is incredibly rewarding.
Leaning on your strengths, finding compatible partners, and discovering what inspires you can all help you manage stress.
Look, stress is normal—and even healthy in low doses—at many stages in your entrepreneurial journey. As we’ve discussed before in this series, leaning on your strengths, finding compatible partners, and discovering what inspires you can all help weather the stormy spells.
Chronic stress, though, can cause other mental or physical health issues. It’s important to be self aware and set trip wires. What are your triggers? What extreme stress responses should you look for? Be sure you have a plan to manage them before they start to impact your business or relationships.
(Note: The recommendations that follow are not a substitute for mental-health advice. If your stress becomes chronic or unmanageable, please see a professional.)
QUIZ: How well do you handle stress?
Take our quiz to assess your stress level and ability to cope, then read on for strategies picked just for your type.
6 ways to de-stress
If the busy season is ramping up your anxiety levels, you may need to find new ways to de-stress. Take a wellness journey with us, won’t you, Stargazers? These research-backed techniques are proven to help manage the effects of stress.
1. Talk it out
Putting your feelings into words can reduce emotional reactions to stress, according to one study. Find an outlet that feels most comfortable for you:
☎️ Talk to a trusted partner or friend.
👩🏽⚕️ Seek out a professional psychologist or therapist.
👨🏻🤝👨🏽 Join a support or entrepreneur networking group.
📝 Write down your feelings (optional: share them on a blog or on social channels).
2. Try breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation
Slowing down your breathing with intention can reduce symptoms of stress like anxiety, depression, and anger, says one study. Explore online yoga classes and guided meditations, download an app like Calm, or simply take pause to check in with your breath.
3. Engage in physical activity
Many studies have proven a strong correlation with physical activity and reduced stress. Exercise stimulates the release of dopamine and serotonin—both brain chemicals that regulate our mood. Most experts suggest that 30 minutes of physical activity each day can dramatically improve physical and mental health. We know, even 30 minutes can be hard to come by this time of year. Break it up: take short 10-minute walks between tasks.
4. Make time for activities that relax you
Ahh, the art of distraction. Don’t underestimate, though, the energy and calmness you can gain from finding balance in your life and de-stressing through a hobby or pleasure. Do you love making art, writing, or crafting? Do “guilty pleasures” like reality TV or sweet snacks relax you? Are you into sports or gaming? Find an activity that transports you briefly away from your stressors. When you return, you’ll have added clarity and energy to tackle them.
5. Find a change of scenery
The pandemic has caused many of us to spend more time indoors, in the same space. With coffee shops and co-working spaces out of the question for the foreseeable future, find ways to take your work outside or take breaks to breathe in fresh air. Research shows as little as 10 minutes spent outside in natural surroundings can improve mood, focus, and heart rate.
6. Check in with your mental health
Normal situational stress and anxious feelings are not the same as chronic stress and anxiety disorder. If you suspect that you have the latter and your usual stress management strategies aren’t helping, seek professional guidance. Ignoring the early signs won’t make these conditions go away.
How to de-stress, based on your Founder Sign
How you find your way back to a calm state is entirely specific to you. And your personality type might unlock the best ways to de-stress and get those endorphins pumping. Skip to your Founder Sign for tailored advice picked just for your type. (Don’t know your sign? Start here.)
Feature sign: The Firestarter
Firestarter, you take stress and make it your ally. It’s a feeling you’re familiar with because you’re attracted to risk and those high-stakes moments thrill and motivate you. Look at you—you’re hardly breaking a sweat. Beware of developing an invincibility complex, though. You may be superhuman, but you’re still human. Watch for the tipping point between good and bad stress. When that happens, be sure you have some calming strategies in your toolbox.
How to de-stress if you’re a Firestarter
💬 Talk about it. You thrive in social situations and frequently conflate them with networking opportunities. Allow yourself some true R&R in the company of people you trust. If you’re in entrepreneur groups, you may find common ground and empathy from those going through the same.
💆🏻♀️ Take a (real) break. You’re the live-to-work type, and that’s by design. Work and play blend together because for you, they are one and the same. Allow yourself to take a pause from work when the pressure is mounting. Turning off your phone for a couple of hours won’t hurt you. We promise.
Stress is a natural feeling for you, Mountaineer, because you never really feel like you’ve “made it.” The consistent climb to the next goal means you often don’t pause to enjoy the one you just conquered. Typically, though, stress is a motivator for you. You use good stress to your advantage as you push yourself to succeed. Eventually it will catch up to you, and when it does, let yourself take a pause and reflect on your wins.
How to de-stress if you’re a Mountaineer
✏️ Write it down. Your stubborn streak means you think you have all of the answers. Will you listen to your friends who tell you to slow down? Maybe not. But you’ll listen to yourself because you’ve always trusted your intuition. Write about your struggles and check in with yourself often. This exercise might also help you form a clear path out of the stressful situation.
⌚ Be in the now. You’re shooting for the moon, Mountaineer, and we love your ambition. Your forward thinking is what makes you great at what you do. But when you constantly move the goalpost, you may never be satisfied with your present. Take a detour for a while. Maybe a meandering path through the woods? Appreciate the moment and the work that helped you get here.
You tend to have an on-and-off relationship with stress, Trailblazer. When you hit your creative stride, stressful situations just roll off of you. But because you’re passionate about what you do, hitting a wall can cause an emotional response. You bring your feelings with you into business. While it can work in your favour sometimes—people are inspired by your passion—it can also backfire. When the stress adds up, have a few outlets on deck to help you manage it.
How to de-stress if you’re a Trailblazer
🖌️ Get creative. Sure, your business or career that is causing the stress may already be creative. But if it’s causing you more strife than joy, apply your creativity to a hobby you enjoy, take in public art, or just tune out to some of your favorite music.
🏃🏿♂️ Move your body. You typically are the energetic type, Trailblazer, but if your energy slumps in stressful situations, get it back with some light exercise—especially if your work is sedentary.
You can easily succumb to stress, Cartographer, because you worry a little more than the other signs. You like things the way you like them. Hey, we get it. If your carefully laid plans go off course, stress tends to follow. No worries! Your pragmatic approach to problems means you already have a Plan B and C. You tackle stress like you tackle anything: with facts and action. Sometimes, though, feelings can’t be solved with a spreadsheet. Stay in touch with yourself and know when to listen to your body.
How to de-stress if you’re a Cartographer
🧘🏽 Breathe. You work hard, Cartographer, sometimes forgetting to shut off at the end of your day. Long hours in a chair can cause stress to impact your posture and breathing. Step away from your work space periodically and tune into your breath. Guided yoga classes can add the benefit of physical exercise and social connection.
📔 Write it down. As someone more solitary, you may not find comfort in sharing your struggles with others, but you can still put feelings into words through a journal or blog.
Stress is something you’re determined to avoid, Outsider. You don’t take big risks and your work is usually steady and predictable. But when stress does come knocking, you may be less adept at managing it than some of the other signs. It can find you off guard. You have a tendency to sink into pessimist thinking when this happens, and that can cause stress to persist.
How to de-stress if you’re an Outsider
🤹🏻 Find balance. You love to work, but only because it’s something you rely on. You’re not emotional about it—it exists to secure your financial future. When the effects of stress creep in, allow yourself to take time for something that truly brings you joy.
🌲 Change the scenery. We know you’re a creature of habit, Outsider, so we’re not asking you to make drastic changes. A step just outside your door will give you space from your stressors and a hit of mood-lifting fresh air.
If you’ve yet to determine your Founder Sign, take our quiz, then sign up for our newsletter. The Founder’s Zodiac runs every month and offers up advice and relevant content curated just for your type.
Illustrations by by Alice Mollon