Unfortunately for small business owners, stress is an inevitable part of the journey. Lack of time, control and typically the lack of sleep are the most common stressors. These stressors can have physical, mental and emotional impacts and, worse case, cause a full-blown breakdown when your company needs you most. This is why it is imperative to manage stress in the best way possible.
Small business owners often don’t have the luxury to devote much time to stress reduction techniques. Therefore, stress management tools necessary for small business owners must be easily implemented into their already hectic daily schedules.
The 10 tips below are stress management tools for coping with small business stress that can be easily added to your existing routine today.
One-two punch: Get some fresh air and exercise.
While exercise is very important, not to mention an effective stress-reliever, it can be difficult to ask a small business owner to make time for these activities. Something easier to implement into your existing routine is walking meetings.
Take internal meetings outdoors, when possible, to get moving. Not only are the fresh air and physical activity natural stress relievers, but walking meetings also tend to be more productive and stimulate creative thinking.
Make your new mantra, “Stress is only temporary.”
This tip is usually easier said than done, but is important for calming down and remaining focused during times of high-stress. Regardless of the situation, it will pass and so too will the stress that accompanies it. By focusing on the actions you will take to resolve the problem, instead of the reactions to the stress it causes, you’ll feel more controlled and able to manage the situation.
Allow yourself to avoid people or situations that stress you out, guilt-free.
When possible, control the amount of outside stress in your life by simply avoiding it. Have a friend who seems to enjoy catastrophes instead of seeking solutions? Does your weekly dinner with your in-laws send you into a minor panic attack? Skip them!
While you shouldn’t avoid these people or situations forever (and should eventually talk it out or learn coping mechanisms), avoiding these scenarios when your stress levels are already skyrocketing allows you to focus on the business stress you cannot avoid.
An apple a day keeps the stress away: Eat healthy.
Grabbing a pastry and coffee on your way to work is far easier than making your own healthy breakfast, but it does little for your body and even less for your stress levels.
At night, take a few minutes to prepare tomorrow’s food and set your coffee’s automatic brew. Or on your off days, like Sunday, prep to-go meals for the week and keep them in the fridge to quickly grab-and-go. Stored refrigerated in air-tight containers, like mason jars, juices last up to 48 hours, smoothies last up to 3 days and premade salads will last all week (5 days).
No time to grocery shop? Use delivery services, like Instacart or Amazon Fresh, to have your items delivered right to your door. You can create your own cart from your mobile device – or delegate the task to your assistant!
Listen to your own or a premade relaxing playlist.
Soothing music is an effective method for relaxation and stress relief, because it can help quiet your mind and relax your muscles. Using services like Spotify or Amazon Music, listen to your own or a premade slow-tempo relaxation playlist when you need to unwind, like during your commute home.
Focus your breathing: Learn relaxing breathing techniques.
In addition to clearing your mind, meditation is such an effective stress-reducer because of its focused breathing. Unlike meditation, focused breathing can be done anywhere, anytime. Learn a focused breathing technique you can use during your day or night to reduce tension, feel more relaxed and relieve stress.
Chances are your plate stays pretty full. Focus on the tasks only you can complete and delegate the others to your team members.
If you have trouble delegating, re-evaluate your hiring methods to ensure you’re confident in the people you add to your team. Then, build trust by delegating smaller tasks first until you feel secure in handing over bigger ticket items.
Download a happiness app.
Mobile apps, like Happify, offer fun games and activities to help reduce stress and build positive habits. To begin, complete a short questionnaire to determine the best activities for your specific goals and lifestyle. Then, sign-on each day to complete your tasks. The games and activities are typically short and fun, so finding time on your commute, lunch break or at night should be easy and actually give you something to look forward to during your day.
Get enough sleep.
With a busy schedule, this tip may be harder to implement, but it is one of the most important. A lack of sleep can impair your judgment, decision-making, memory and reasoning – none of which makes for an effective business owner. It can also cause weight gain, heart problems and impair your immune system making you sick more often.
Make it a priority to get between 7-8 hours of sleep every night. This may mean some emails wait until morning or you skip your small business happy hour once in a while, but once you get enough sleep, you’ll be more productive during your waking hours, accomplishing more and reducing your overall stress level.
Make time for relaxation.
During your time off (which you NEED, no excuses), make time for relaxation in whatever form works best for you. Are you a social butterfly who relaxes by meeting friends for coffee? Do you thrive on spending time with your family or children? Do you prefer your me-time to be solo while reading a book or pampering yourself via hot bath or massage?
Pick your poison and actually make time for relaxation. It will instantly make you feel better, but also leave you more prepared to face the everyday stress of running your business.
What stress management tips do you have for fellow small business owners?