Stress affects online businessPeople who run an online business could be suffering from significant amounts of stress without realising it. A new study of stressful occupations has some surprising results, but most people running an online business combine four of the top 10 stressful jobs into one single occupation. Running your own online business could well be a recipe for personal disaster – unless you take care.

According to the research, the most stressful job in the world is being a soldier. That makes sense – how well would you cope with the knowledge that as you walk down the road in Afghanistan you could be blown to bits? The constant threat of death whilst you go about your job cannot be an easy thing to work with. The research found that the least stressful jobs in the world were largely those involved in healthcare. When you talk to doctors, nurses and other health specialists they often complain of job related stress – but this could well be balanced out by the fact that they are doing what they love, caring for others. The rewards of that care reduce the impact of the stress.

However, online business folk appear to be in a rather stressful situation. Four of the most stressful jobs in the world are corporate executive, public relations executive, event co-ordinator and photojournalist. All of these roles are combined into one for the many people who run their own online company. These individuals are the boss, the person responsible for promoting the company, the one who organises the firm’s events and the blogger..! Is it any wonder that with more and more people running their own online business – even part time – that doctors are reporting ever higher incidences of stress-related illnesses?

So, if you run an online business, how can you spot whether or not stress is affecting you? Here are the sure-fire signs you are stressed:

  • Irritability
  • Apathy and general lack of interest
  • Clock-watching
  • Reduced social activity
  • Tiredness

At first sight these seem pretty benign. But someone who is not stressed tends to want to work, they enjoy being with colleagues, they are not really aware of the time passing by because they are enjoying themselves and they get a good night’s sleep. And do not believe those people who tell you that “some stress is good for you”. That is just nonsense. Research consistently shows that stress LOWERS performance. In other words, online business owners who are stressed out by working on the web are actually able to perform less well in business than they think.

Studies also show that people often think they are less stressed than is the case. People tend to underestimate the stress they are under and to mistake the symptoms for things which are “normal”. This means that many people running online businesses could be under much more stress than they think.

Stress is damaging; it leads to rises in hormones which if present in consistently high amounts can be physically harmful. Stress leads to heart disease, digestive problems and has even been implicated in reducing our ability to cope with cancer. It is therefore vital that if you run an online business you recognise the stress symptoms you may be suffering and take steps to reduce the impact of your online work. Ultimately that means planning your day better, not responding to every email, Tweet or Facebook discussion and taking yourself away from the computer – and your smartphone – for several hours.

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