In times of extreme stress, don’t hesitate to reach out to your support system — or to let those around you know what’s happening. During what turned out to be my mother’s final illness, I sent frequent group emails to family and close friends to keep them up to date on her condition and circumstances. Writing these emails helped me to sort out my thoughts and reduce my overall stress level. People who care about you want to know how things are going, and it will help you to talk about it.
Once, in a workshop, I learned to think of Scarlett O’Hara when I worry too much. Here’s how it works: Worrying breeds more worrying, so simply postpone it. Have a worry time set aside each day — maybe 10 minutes or so — with a soothing cup of tea or whatever relaxes you. Late in the afternoon is good. Write down what you worry about, and try to either overcome the worry or solve the problem. If you can’t, that’s OK. Read over the worries you had the day before. Pretty soon you will see possible patterns, such as worrying about things that are fleeting downers in life and not worth the time you gave them during your worry time. Try this. It works.
Since we know that a certain amount of stress is good for us — and that some stress is inevitable — we shouldn’t add insult to injury. For instance; if you get into heated conversations about religion or politics (that would be me), avoid hot-button topics during times of stress. Most stress is caused by outside forces. Don’t add to your natural aggravation by allowing yourself to be drawn into stress dead-ends. You can still debate, but do it when things are less stressed. Instead, watch comedy on TV; listen to mellow music; read; exercise…you get the drift. You are in charge of a goodly percentage of your stress.
Here’s another stress-buster, just in time for the holidays: When you take a break from listing, packing and shipping to spend some much-needed time with family and friends, use your eBay store’s vacation settings to manage your store while you’re away. When you put your store on vacation, your Fixed Price listings won’t come up in search and are hidden from view. (Auctions will still run their course.) Turning on your store’s vacation settings will also post a message on all of your listings and your eBay store page, letting buyers know of your “away” status and when you will return. They won’t be able to purchase your item until then. You can access Vacation Settings from your “Manage My Store” page or via the settings link in “My Messages”, where you can also set up an auto-response email message.
Here’s a stress-buster for you. Some experts say we should never say “what if” when faced with a possible unexpected bad outcome, because it causes us to visit the darkest, most horrible of outcomes. They want us to say, “What are my alternatives?” when we run into a challenge. I believe it shouldn’t be one or the other, but both. Let’s look at the stages: Stuff happened. Your natural stress was triggered because of the stuff happening. You chose alternatives. You took action Before I choose alternatives, I always look at “what if”, but just for a moment; I want to be prepared for the worst, just in case. Then I list my alternatives, pick one of them and go with it. It has worked for me for many years and gives me less stress because I have a plan.
So if stress is good — if it is the reason we take action on anything at all — then how do we know when we have stress overload? Experts say there are 4 categories where too much stress can have bad results: cognitive, behavioral, physical and emotional. Three cognitive signs are inability to concentrate, constant worrying and seeing negativity everywhere. Behavioral stress can manifest in things like procrastinating too much, eating too much or alcohol abuse. Too much stress can affect us emotionally by causing moodiness or agitation and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Physical results of too much stress include aches and pains, more colds and a lowered immune system. You can see how these things can hurt not only your life, but also your business. My next tip will cover some ways to combat stress.
Stress gets a bad rap. Without stress, nothing would ever get done. Small doses of stress give us those bursts of energy that motivate us. It’s a good thing. Stress also produces the fight-or-flight response we need to survive. When it becomes a problem is when it stays around too long. Then your concentration packs up and goes on vacation, and you could even fall ill. Researchers believe that some stress can help to fortify the immune system, improve how your heart works and protect your body from infection. In order to be productive in life or your business, embrace reasonable amounts of stress. In my next tip: how to know when you have too much of a good thing!
The holiday selling season is here! It’s the busiest time of the year for your business on eBay, and maybe even the most crucial to your bottom line. Be careful not to over-commit yourself so that you burn out midway through Q4. Consider hiring some part-time help, such as a local high school or college kid who’s out of school for the holidays. But whether you’ve got an employee or employees or you’re a one-man band or mom-and-pop shop, don’t forget to build into your schedule some time to celebrate and even just chill with family and friends. Pace yourself. You are in this for the long haul.