Stress Relief Tips for Small Business Owners
Owning a small business provides you with the freedom to make your own decisions. You get to choose when, where, and how your company operates. However, that freedom also brings added responsibility and stress.
Your business most likely consists of just you and possibly a handful of employees, so staying healthy needs to be a priority. If you’re staying awake at night worrying about the many facets of your company, try some of these stress-relief tips to get back on track.
1. Appreciate the Good
Brainstorm a list of everything you love about your business and what’s going well. You built this company from the ground up. Odds are you crushed many professional goals along the way. Take time to reflect on these successes and use them to motivate your continued growth, rather than solely focusing on the fires you need to put out.
Write all your accomplishments — no matter how small you think they are — and post them somewhere you can see them daily. When you feel stressed or doubtful about your business or abilities, read over that list and get an instant mood boost.
2. Figure Out Your Priorities
Now that you’ve made a list of accomplishments and have a clear idea of where your business is now and where it has been, it’s time to focus on the future. Ask yourself some questions: What are your priorities? Where do you want to take your company? What will bring the best return on your invested time and money?
Once you’ve figured that out, create some goals for your business to help you move forward. Now, you have carte blanche to say no to any tasks or opportunities that aren’t the best use of your time or don’t align with your goals.
3. Delegate and Automate
Anything that will help your business but doesn’t need your attention can be delegated or automated. Hiring help can allow you to focus on your priorities and handoff things you can teach others to do just as well.
Business strategist Jenny Blake suggests you consider the Six Ts when deciding what tasks to hand off to someone else: tiny, tedious, time-consuming, teachable, terrible at, and time-sensitive. If you can’t afford help, look around for automation options that can do some of the more repetitive tasks.
Running a small business means being ready to take on any matter of unexpected expenses or stumbling blocks. If you can share the load of some of these concerns, you help develop your team while reducing your personal stress.
4. Improve Your Physical Environment
You more than likely spend a large chunk of your time handling paperwork, sitting at a computer, and making calls. Sitting at a desk for prolonged periods can harm your physical and mental health.
Your environment makes a big difference in your physical and mental resilience. Furniture that isn’t ergonomic may cause you to slouch at your desk, which decreases energy. Plus, the back pain that comes with a poor office setup could ruin anyone’s good mood.
Try updating your workspace setup when you’re reinvesting in your business. Get a monitor that is high enough to prevent hunching. Find a chair that is designed to support your back. You could even consider getting a desk that transitions between sitting and standing, which will help you get more movement.
5. Take Care of Your Health
Your body needs adequate nutrition and water intake to function properly. Without it, your physical and mental health will suffer. Take some time out of your workday to eat a balanced meal, rather than skipping out, and carry a water bottle with you everywhere. Aim to finish one before lunch and one before leaving work for the day.
Movement always works wonders for improving stress levels. Try to get some form of exercise each day, even if it’s only a short walk or some stretching. This will release endorphins, making you feel happier and less stressed.
6. Maintain a Work-Life Balance
Nothing will burn you out faster than focusing all your time on business. You might find it difficult to turn off from work for the day. However, you’re the boss and set the hours, so make sure you establish designated working times for yourself.
If you’re having trouble with this, think about why. Why did you start this business in the first place? It probably wasn’t because your dream was to work all day and do nothing else.
If you’ve set regular hours for yourself but are still having a hard time switching between work mode and home life, create a new end-of-day routine. After you finish working, clean your space and transition to an activity you enjoy, like going for a walk or calling a loved one. Having a ritual will help ease that transition from work to leisure time.
Spend Time With Your Support System
Your family and friends are a great resource for stress relief. Take time in the evening and on weekends to enjoy their company, or go on a vacation for some extra rest and relaxation. Talk to your loved ones about your pressures — they will likely have some good advice for you. Even if they don’t, having family and friends who will actively listen to you can be a mood booster.
Reach out to other small-business owners if you need more targeted support. Network with people in similar situations so you have a strong support system that can empathize. Consider a coffee shop meeting once a month or more to chat about everyone’s trials and triumphs.
Stress Relief for Small Business Owners
If none of these tips are helping reduce the stress you’re feeling, it may be time to take a step back and examine things more carefully. Talk with a loved one or spend some time journaling to pinpoint the cause of your feelings. Once you have a better understanding, revisit this list and try a more targeted approach.
Evelyn Long is a writer and editor focused on home building and construction. She is the co-founder of Renovated, a web magazine for the home industry.
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