Close to half of the small business owners in a recent survey said that running their business is their top personal stressor — more so than their marriage, raising kids, or dealing with aging parents. Anyone who currently runs or is trying to start a small business can surely relate. It’s a rollercoaster. But if you want to be successful you have to actively try to reduce that excess stress. Here are some options.
Run more of your business from home
How can working from home help reduce your stress? You control your work environment completely. You also get rid of that stressful commute. It’s easier to take much-needed breaks and balance your work-home life. For many small business owners, transitioning the bulk of their operations to a home office can help immensely. Some even switch to running it from home completely. While that’s not feasible for every business owner, making small steps toward a home-based operation can help.
Take daily naps (yes, at work)
Part of what makes daily business stress so debilitating is that is compounds. We get stressed out and tired and instead of doing something to depressurize, we simply pound another cup of coffee and push through it. Instead, when you’re feeling tired and stressed, take a nap. Anecdotally, most people know they feel better after a nice nap. Scientifically, naps may be able to reduce stress and boost immune function by reversing hormonal impacts of poor sleep.
Exercise on your lunch break
Exercise helps to reduce stress levels. Exercise releases stress-busting chemicals in your brain and helps to ameliorate other problems that affect your sleep. The ADAA notes “Regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep and improve self-esteem.” It doesn’t take that much. You don’t have to run marathons between your meetings. You can even do it in your office if you have to, but fresh air can also help to relieve stress so best to get outside.
Switch to decaf
Coffee is the lifeblood of many small business owners, but for some out there it could be doing more harm than good. Sure, low levels of caffeine can improve your mood, productivity and help you power through stress, but the more you slam back cups of coffee the higher your risk of unhealthy stress climbs. Everyone knows that too much caffeine can turn you jittery and anxious, but it can also increase stress hormone (cortisol) production. If you have a coffee habit, try giving it a break for a bit and see how you feel. If you still need that pick-me-up, you could consider taking a natural supplement instead. There are many energy-boosting supplements on the market today; just make sure to consult your doctor if you’re taking any other medications.
Delegate — but do it right
As a business owner, you probably have an I only trust myself to do it right attitude about a lot of things. That’s typical. And the thought of having someone else handle important stuff is even more stressful than the thought of having an excessive amount of work to do yourself. However, delegation is one of your top stress-reducing tactics as a small business owner, but in order for it to work you need to do it right. That’s why it’s vital you prepare clear, defined instruction, hire people that you trust to perform any business-related function and follow up frequently.
Excess stress is unhealthy — bottom line. By working hard to relieve your harmful stress you are doing what’s best for your small business. As Forbes notes, it’s tough to put your company in a strong position to succeed if you yourself are unhealthy. Be a better leader. Learn to manage your stress.
This article was written by Julie Morris.
Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book. Visit her site at juliemorris.org