HARSH SIDE OF E-COMMERCE
Safeguarding One’s Mental and Physical Health
For people in numerous countries, July means annual holidays: a time to leave daily routine behind and relax. But for e-commerce, there is no such thing as locking the office door and forgetting about business.
It ends up taking its toll on e-commerce owners.
Assault on One’s Mental Health
Overworked and anxious whenever sales slow down as they may do when people are on vacation and away from home, e-commerce owners may get discouraged, if not depressed. Which is not without cause. As Marc Andreessen—cofounder of the web browser firm Netscape and seed investor in Facebook—said, “[f]irst and foremost, a start-up puts you on an emotional rollercoaster unlike anything you have ever experienced. You flip rapidly from day-to-day – one where you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again.
“The level of stress that you’re under generally will magnify things: incredible highs and unbelievable lows at whiplash speed and huge magnitude. Sound like fun?” (1) In 2015, a research study among 242 U.S. entrepreneurs headed by psychiatrist Michael Freeman of the University of California, San Francisco, revealed that 49 percent had reported having mental-health conditions. (2) Nearly a third of them spoke of having been depressed compared to 7 percent among the American population.
“Exposure to the online world, and then specially social media where people only see and read about success stories, may cause added pressure and generate hopelessness due to constant comparison,” said Twisha Anand, head of global community at 7 Cups, a website (3) providing online therapy and free support to people experiencing emotional distress. “[F]eelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness should be addressed asap,” she said in an interview.
Assault on One’s Physical Health
And then, there is burnout. nearly a entrepreneur occupational hazard. What may lead to this is overworking because one does not feel having “done enough.” “’Enough’ can be a crippling thought process, because at a certain point there’s no such thing as ‘enough,’” said business storyteller Justin Kownacki. (4) “There’s just the chasm between ‘where I am’ and ‘where I want to be,’ or ‘where I feel like I should be.’ “And while we’re all trying to balance today against tomorrow, there’s one resource we never feel like we have enough of: time,” he writes. One way to remedy this could be to set specific goals such as completing three business tasks and one home task per day, he added.
Other symptoms of burnout include feeling constantly tired, being abnormally forgetful and postponing tasks, said writer and content marketer Jessica Thiefels. “One of the most obvious signs that you need to step back is feeling detachment from work that used to bring you purpose and vitality. “When the driving force of an initiative is passion, you’re able to grind tirelessly until you see it to fruition….When you feel your passion waning, get back to the reason you started in the first place.” (5) Other ways to prevent burnout at work may include taking regular breaks during the day, working away from one’s office such as a coffee shop or library to change the scenery and create opportunities to interact with people, said business software journalist Kaya Ismail. (6) “Morever, Life has a way of cluttering itself up. Your desk is full, your mind is multi-tasking, your bedroom is a mess (well, mine is), and your social life could probably use some work, too….Your life’s clutter will filter all the way down to how you work on a daily basis, too,” he said. “[D}eclutter at home as well as at the office.”
A Daring Move: Taking a Break
Finally, why not be bold and take a few days off! This may sound audacious if not close to impossible to an e-commerce owner operating a site 24 hours a day. But who knows: That owner may end up relaxing for the first time in a very long time, and decide to make it a habit.