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10.07.2018 Formation, Lifehacks

Advice against stress? “Put that shit on paper”

Founding a startup is undoubtedly an exciting experience. But long working hours, a high degree of uncertainty and seemingly endless to-do lists tend to be stressful. What is stress and how does the body react to it? How can stress symptoms be reduced?

Disagreements, ignorance, communication problems, social networking, uncertainty, financial instability and long to-do lists: during the last Masterclass at F10, the startup founders from batch 3 were asked to name stress factors. “It is actually not tasks, people or situations themselves that cause stress, but the emotions connected to them”, says Desirée Steinmann, owner and founder of the life coach agency Steinmann International.

Stress often evokes negative associations but from a scientific point of view it is just the body’s healthy reaction to threats, challenges or high demands. “Stress can help us perform better and is only negative if it goes on for too long”, Desirée explains. “The key is tension and release.” The life coach is a firm advocate of breaks. “Take breaks to do something that does you well. Breaks are not for losers, they are actually for winners.”

A build-up of adrenaline can lead to burnouts

Amongst the potential reactions to stress – namely long-lasting tension and lack of release phases – are fatigue, exhaustion, anger, ignorance, over-sleeping or sleeplessness, changes in the eating or drinking behaviour and abuse of alcohol or drugs. Desirée says that the body does not know if it is dealing with physical or emotional stress and starts to produce adrenaline which plays an important role in the fight-or-flight reaction. “This hormone alerts people and makes them resilient, but a build-up of adrenaline can lead to burnouts. It is therefore crucial to lower the adrenaline level in your body.” This can only be achieved by moving. “It is not necessary to run a half-marathon after work. Taking a walk, light exercising or swimming can also be helpful.”

According to Desirée, adults have up to 60’000 thoughts per day but usually numerous of them circle around the same topics. These recurring thoughts are often perceived as stress. To become aware of that, the life coach recommends writing. “Put that shit on paper and write everything that is stressing you quickly, uncensored and honestly down. If you do this with a clear intention of mental hygiene to clear your mind and head, you can start with a clean canvas to work focussed and strategic again.”

Regardless of the approach of dealing with stress, Desirée emphasizes the importance of taking full responsibility. “You are 100 percent responsible for your life. Make choices that create positive reactions in your body.” The life coach suggests the following strategies and practices to reduce stress symptoms:

  • Find relaxation strategies that work for you
  • Take a minute to arrive and focus only on the one next task
  • Plan well in advance and be prepared
  • Take sufficient breaths
  • Drink enough water
  • Manage your adrenaline level
  • Distinguish between urgency and importance
  • Plan on having a silent hour without distractions
  • Speak up and learn to say ‘no’
  • Go into the meta view

Desirée recommends focusing on two or three key points and put them into action first. “Place reminders in strategic places to make sure the behavioural change is happening in the long run”, she closes.

These insights have been provided during a Masterclass at F10 FinTech Incubator & Accelerator in Zurich. Applications for the next batch of our “Prototype to Product” program starting in December 2018 are being accepted until 9th of September 2018. More information and application.

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Khurram Qureshi

July 15, 2019

I agree, One of the most important things is to make a list of NOW and I can do it a bit later. It saves you a lot of stress