Does running your own business at times send you into an irrational tizz that you can’t unravel? Learning how to reduce stress may be one of the most important skills you can develop.
Stress has been linked to the development of diseases like diabetes, cancer, autoimmune syndromes and mental illnesses.
Whether we internalise or externalise our stress response, the build up is damaging. Both to our health and our businesses.
Do you find yourself so worked up that you think you might explode?
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Taking a strategic approach to stress management will help you cope as a business owner.
Your work life can be fulfilling and joyous. Stress can be managed, reduced and dissolved with better coping mechanisms.
Follow these effective tips to reduce stress and improve your quality of life both inside and outside of your business.
The Stress of Running a Business
Let’s be honest here. Running your own business creates enormous stress.
There’s so much to learn, and a seemingly endless to-do list. Most small businesses fail within three years. Industries are swamped by huge brands and established competitors.
Breaking through the noise is hard. The pressure to succeed is super charged.
It’s much less stressful being an employee. It’s easier to criticize a boss for doing a bad job than it is to be your own boss.
If you’re running a small business, you’ve got to deal with everything – daily operations, tax & financial management, research, product and service development, sales, marketing, branding, pricing, networking, attracting customers, responding to emails, social media, managing suppliers, staff and contractors.
You’re full to the brim. Balancing like a lunatic.
And then one tiny automatic update sneaks in and buggers up your website.
And you lose. your. shit.
How to Reduce Stress During Work Hours
It’s totally normal. All business owners go through it.
You’re not some half-wit imposter fraud because you haven’t figured out how to cope with the stress.
There are ways to deal. There are a few tricks to short-circuit the stress in its attack phase.
It’s important to learn how to reduce stress for the sake of your business, your mental health, and the emotional safety of those around you.
Here are the best techniques to reduce stress while you’re at work:
#1 - Turn Everything Off.
When you’re right in the stress, when you feel that hot, aggravated feeling up in your temples, you’ve got to reduce the stimuli.
Shut down your computer. Turn off your phone. Turn off the music or radio. Excuse yourself from present company.
Reduce stress by slowing everything down. Find calm ways to shut everything down for a few minutes and breathe. In and out. Just breathe.
#2 - Move It Out of Your Body.
If you’ve got the opportunity (and you might need to create the opportunity), take a walk.
Solvitur ambulando – it is solved by walking.
Jog if you prefer. Run if you have to. Dance it out. Shake it off.
Do what it takes to shift the energy out of your body. Walking is great for reducing stress. It is also wonderful for creating solutions. Let it work magic over you. Get outside and walk.
#3 - Create a To-Don't List.
When the heat of the moment has passed, and you can think level-headed, it’s time to be proactive.
To-do lists create stress. Write a To-don’t list instead.
Include all activities and jobs that don’t serve you. Time-wasters, frustrating and pointless tasks, things that suck the life from you.
Treat it as law. If it’s on your list, you’re no longer going to stress yourself out by doing it.
#4 - Automate. Eliminate. Delegate.
Take that To-Don’t list and comb through it mentally. Sort tasks into three categories:
- Tasks that can be eliminated
- Tasks that can be automated
- Tasks that can be delegated
Start with what you can reduce first. Eliminate anything that doesn’t bring you joy or add significant value to your work. Then find ways to automate or delegate the rest.
How to Relieve Stress After Work
When our screwy brains try to solve stress with force, we look for things that numb us.
Things like binge watching an entire season of anything on Netflix. Or scrolling through Instagram like a zombie.
Or pinning hundreds of healthy work lunches we’re never gonna make on Pinterest. Or cracking open a bottle of wine because, hell, we deserve it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a passionate advocate for enjoying a good wine as often as you like. But you gotta do it for the right reasons.
Choosing mind-numbing activities won’t solve your stress problem.
#5 - Technology Detox
After hours means no work. If you need to, make it a rule in your house.
Don’t bring your laptop to the dinner table to finish orders. Don’t bring your phone to bed and check emails.
And don’t touch social media for the sake of your business growth. That’s an oxymoron. And an epic waste of your life energy. Turn off all devices for your health and sanity.
#6 - Develop a Hobby
Replace technology addiction with joyful activity. Find something very un-worky to invest your energy in.
Try your hand at weaving or knitting. Grab some acrylics and canvas and discover what it feels like to paint abstract art.
Learn to play guitar. Or sing. You have no idea what music can do for your sanity until you actually play it yourself. Find new ways to focus joy into your life. Create life outside work.
#7 - Connect With Nature
Nature melts troubles away. Walking in nature is wonderful. But you can also just sit, stand, ponder and be.
Get your bare feet upon sand, water or grass.
Get your hands into soil. Plant a garden. There’s nothing more satisfying than admiring your vegetables grow more each day. If vegetables are out of your league, try growing herbs. Then make your own tea with them.
#8 - Treat Yourself
Take yourself on a date, with or without your partner. Throw a picnic blanket, crackers and dip in the car, and head to the beach.
Watch the sunset. Listen to the waves. Take it all in.
Or treat yourself to a bath. Candles. A good book. And a champagne flute full of kombucha.
Find ways to treat yourself that feel good for your body. Skip the junk food and alcohol if it makes you feel bad afterwards. There’s better ways to treat yourself.
Embrace Strategies For Managing Stress
You can’t learn how to reduce stress from skimming over one article and onto the next one.
You have to give the strategies a chance. Actually try these techniques out. Give yourself the opportunity to experience the benefits of less stress.
Now is the time. You owe it to yourself to do something that makes you feel good.
If nothing here resonates with you, that’s fine. Move on.
But don’t just drift from thing to thing looking for magical solutions. YOU are the solution.
Take charge of your beautiful life. Learn to create balance in your work. Stress is about choices. And you can make more satisfying choices every single day.
Don’t beat yourself up, don’t be a shitty boss to yourself. Running a business is challenging enough. There’s no need for more pressure.
But if you can just give yourself a chance to feel less stressed, and get familiar with how good that feels, you’ll start to make excellent decisions in the way you work.
You’ll start choosing your emotional responses instead of suffering knee-jerk reactions.
And when you choose to change your response to stress, both your business and personal life will reap huge rewards.
I’m so glad you made it here. You can pick a stress-relieving thing to do for yourself right now.
And I truly hope you will.
HI, I'm SARAH
I’m here to help you work smarter, not harder. I teach passionate business owners how to charge premium prices, attract the best customers, save time and make money with ease.