Stress Management

Stress management is critical if you want to enjoy the adventure of running a business. Stress is part of life, there is no escaping it; however, it does not have to control your life (or your business) unless you let it.

Stress
Image by Celestine Chua

Use Stress Reduction Strategies

The good news is that you can learn to manage stress by using good stress reduction strategies. For example: Meditation, Exercise, Walking, Yoga, Dancing, Painting, Hiking, Sitting by the ocean, Playing with children, etc.

Find some methods that work for you and build time for them in your schedule. You are never too busy to relax. In fact, the busier you are, the more you need these strategies.

Do Not Over Commit

Small business owners are committed to doing everything necessary to make their business succeed. As a result, there is a danger that they will over-commit. Do not fall into this trap. Recognize when you have taken on more than you can reasonably handle and take steps to resolve the situation.

Maintain a Positive Outlook

There are ups and downs in all business – especially for the small business owner. Keep a positive attitude, even when things go badly. Staying positive creates a psychological armor that protects you from the daily frustrations that come with challenges. One way to practice positivity is to re-frame negative thoughts and statements into positive ones.

Take Care of Yourself

Make sure you are eating well and getting plenty of rest. When you are hungry or sleep-deprived, your brain doesn’t have what it needs to deal with daily stress. It also helps a great deal if you get some moderate exercise on a regular basis – daily, if possible.

Find Work/Life Balance

Maintain a healthy work and life balance. Make sure you are doing something outside of work that you enjoy. Your life must not be consumed by your job. If you are especially busy with work, schedule time to spend with friends and family, or doing solo activities that you enjoy. Mark the “fun” time on your calendar and make sure it happens.

Practice Letting Go

No matter how hard you try, you cannot control every aspect of your small business. You may be good at prioritizing and time management; but, there will be days when you simply cannot get it all done. When this happens, learn to let go and “turn off the light.”

Practice allowing more time that you think you will need for projects and put fewer items on your daily to-do list. These strategies help for two reasons. You eliminate the pressure of completing a task or project in less time that it actually requires. You feel better at the end of the day because more things have been crossed off the list.

Keep a Stress Journal

A good way to combat stress is to keep a “stress journal.” Write down things that are bothering you – don’t mince words. A journal is your private place to vent and rage. Do not try to solve problems or deal with frustrations. Just write them down, describing in great detail how you feel about them. Getting it all out can lift a great weight off your shoulders. This is a much better choice than holding it all in and letting the internal pressure build.

Own Your Feelings

When things go wrong, take responsibility for them and accept the emotional responses you are experiencing. That allows you to choose your actions rather than reacting to the situation. You cannot control what happens, but you can control how you react to what happens. Feelings are not good or bad, they just are. When you accept your feelings, you can manage them rather than letting them manage you. Owning your feelings helps you recognize that you are not helpless or susceptible to random life events. It is an important step in permanently lowering your stress levels.

Disconnect from Your Electronic Leash

Set aside some time each week to “unplug.” Turn off your computer and put away all your electronic devices – including your cell phone. Go somewhere no one can reach you. We live in a world of information overload and continual electronic communication. It is critical to disconnect from your electronic leash at least once a week. Turning it all off offers great stress relief.

Cultivate a Sense of Humor

If you learn to laugh at things, you become untouchable. Nothing will get you down.

Words of wisdom from HelpGuide.org,

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.”

Cultivate a good sense of humor and use it when you face adversity. If you cannot find anything to laugh about, watch a good comedy or surf YouTube for funny videos. It is important to “tickle your funny bone” on a regular basis.  This is a magic bullet for stress management.

Photo Credit: Reaction to Stress via photopin (license)

©Blurtigo Holdings, LLC

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