A Guide to Stress Management for Small Business Owners

WORDS: Diana Smith PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

Being a small business owner is one of the most stressful things in the world, especially today when the economy is struggling in all spheres. However, don’t let stress consume you. If you practice a few stress management tips, you can stay on top of your work and still not succumb under the pressure of stress. Here are some easy and doable ways you can manage stress every day:

Set priorities

Even though your business might be small, you still have so many things to do every day. If you try to tackle every task at the same time, none of them will be finished any time soon. Don’t multitask—it causes a lot of stress—but focus on one or two tasks at a time. Prioritize your tasks and goals and write down everything that needs to be completed. Once you have your list, rank tasks from most important to least important, with the must-do things at the top of your list. This will allow you to focus on these tasks first, and when you manage to deal with them, you can continue down the list. And don’t stress when you see a long list of tasks that need to be completed. It might be overwhelming, but only the first few items are truly important thanks to your smart ranking system.

Build a good schedule

Usually, small business owners don’t have good work schedules or any work-life balance which can cause a lot of stress. However, when you have a good work routine, you can reduce stress by clocking out at the end of the day and truly relaxing when you come home (or simply leave your home office). Your newfound sense of control will keep stress at bay. According to your schedule, tackle hard tasks early in the morning, take plenty of breaks for food and rest, work 8 hours and then try your best to leave work.

Go on a short break

Probably the simplest way to relieve stress is to take a short break. When you’re trying to solve an issue, constantly staring at the screen and running from one task to another, stress is imminent, but solvable with one short break. Stepping away from the thing that causes stress for 10 minutes can calm you down and refresh your point of view. On your break, make sure to do something relaxing like going for a walk, getting a cup of tea, calling a friend, watching funny videos, etc. Just don’t do anything work-related if you want to return with a clearer mind and fresh energy to tackle your list of tasks.

Take up a hobby

Many small business owners are too busy to dedicate time to any hobbies, but these fun pastimes are great for your mental health. When you’re doing something you love, you’re recharging your batteries, relaxing your brain and filling up your body with happiness hormones, all of which will battle stress and its effects. And you don’t have to engage in complicated crafting projects, go mountain biking or do any of these more demanding hobbies. For instance, playing video games is a great way to relieve stress, especially if you’re playing cooperative games with your friends. So feel free to sit comfortably in your chair, grab some energy-fueling nootropic drinks to stay focused and hydrated and play for an hour. While your drink will provide you with concentration for hours, make sure to limit your gaming sessions to prevent headaches and other negative effects of screen time.

Focus on the positive

You might be facing a lot of problems in your business, but consider all the things that are going in the right direction—that will instantly put you in a better mood and give you the strength to combat stress. All the goals that you already achieved put things into perspective, show the change you’re affecting and the growth you’re doing every day. When you feel like you’re making progress, no matter how small and slow, you will feel much more relaxed. Owning a small business is a marathon, not a sprint, so you have to keep pushing with a positive mindset.

Learn to say no

If you’re very new to the business world, you might not have a bunch of offers and opportunities coming your way, so you feel forced to say yes to every deal, customer and partner that contacts you. However, it’s best to ask yourself “Will this job help me reach my goals?” before accepting or turning it down. Saying no can be very hard, but it’s important to value yourself and respect your limits. And don’t worry about hurting the other person. Saying no actually shows that you value your work, have integrity and want to dedicate your time to projects you care about.

Stress is present in every job, especially when you’re your own boss. However, if you learn to prioritize, relax and focus on the positive and beneficial tasks, you will minimize stress and allow your business to flourish.