How Stress Affects Businesses: Stress Management Tips for Small Business Owners

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Entrepreneurship is a rewarding career path, but it also comes with a lot of stress. With all of the work and responsibility business owners manage, it‘s often difficult to find a healthy balance. It can be tempting to spend every waking hour developing your business. However, when you focus on your business at the expense of everything else, you’re only setting yourself up for burnout. 

Learning how to deal with stress may be as important to your long-term business success as learning how to make a profit. In fact, failing to manage stress can kill you, past studies have demonstrated.  Yet stress and business ownership go hand in hand. In a 2011 65 of surveyed small business owners said that they were almost always on the go, and only half of them said that they had enough time to spend with their friends and family. 

How stress affects you and your business

There is no doubt that stress kills. There are many health professionals and medical analyses that validate the strong negative impact stress has on your health and general well-being, as well as your longevity. It is the chronic, day in and day out stress that is the problem. It can exacerbate pain, cause depression, obesity, digestive disorders, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and even contribute to the advancement of Alzheimer’s and cancer. There is good evidence that uncontrolled stress takes a major detrimental toll in so many areas affecting your physical, mental, and emotional health.  

Stress is the result of receiving some sort of threat to our well-being and your body reacts by secreting cortisol and adrenaline which increases your heart beat, blood pressure, strength, stamina, and general alertness. That threat can come from many sources but- it usually is job or relationship based and also issues with your children, your health, or your finances along with your own unrealistic expectations. Your muscles become tight, your senses are heightened, and you are ready for flight or fight. Many centuries ago you learned all that to survive.

“Managing stress as a business owner is important as we typically tend to be sole proprietors or have only few employees,” says Amanda Pratt MSW, LCSW, CPLC, The Chronic Illness Therapist, Imagine Life Therapy. “This means that if we burn out, it can ultimately slow business progress or momentum and when we aren’t well, our businesses can’t be well. We also know that if we cope poorly with stress, we tend to have worse physical and mental health outcomes overall, so business owner or not, this is an area that I feel should be a top priority for all of us.” 

Reducing stress should always be at the top of your to-do list to keep you sane — and to keep your company healthy, too. “That’s why it’s important not to feel guilty for stepping back or prioritizing some ‘me’ time,” says Poppy Greenwood, mental health advocate, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of female entrepreneur support platform Meyvnn. 

Luckily, there are plenty of small business stress management techniques that will help take away the tension and anxiety of your work. Give these tactics a try for some instant stress relief. 

1. Automate

Technology is a beautiful thing. Modern small business owners are incredibly lucky that they live in a day and age in which new technologies that  help  manage their businesses more easily are popping up on a daily basis.

Online employee scheduling software is really just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there’s probably a software solution that can help you simplify just about any business process you can think of, from posting on social media to running your payroll. 

While you might not have the budget to purchase every tool you’d like to, picking up a few that you’ve prioritized as being most important to your work could certainly make life a lot easier for you and, conversely, reduce the stress that many of your day-to-day activities create for you. 

2. Delegate

Small business owners often believe that hiring help isn’t a realistic option in the early phases, but usually, that’s not true at all. There are plenty of tasks that are taking up too much of your time that can be outsourced to part-timers for cheap. 

For example, are you writing and curating social media content for your business by yourself? You probably know a college student that’s willing to do that job for you for cheap and save you valuable hours each week. The same goes for administrative tasks like scheduling meetings and calls or even bookkeeping. There are freelancers and part-timers out there who can perform these tasks for a fraction of the cost of the time and money you are losing each week by performing them yourself. 

Delegating doesn’t only work for tasks, you can also ask other people to help you out when it comes to putting together strategies. Here is a post we wrote that will give you some more tips on how you can efficiently delegate in your business.

3. Get Outside

An entrepreneur’s life is often inside. You may be on the phone in the conference room. Checking emails on the computer. Taking a working lunch break. Anything to avoid being outside. 

But according to the New York Times, a walk in the park is about more than simply relaxing. It may actively improve mental health.  As the statistics indicate, people who live in cities tend to be at higher risk for depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.  

Scientists studying this phenomenon created a study in which they had volunteers walk for 90 minutes, outside, without any companions. These volunteers then allowed a brain scan. There were markers of improvements in mental health. According to questionnaires, they naturally dwelled less on the negative aspects of their lives than those who hadn’t completed the nature walks. 

4. Make Sleep a Priority

The tip “get more sleep” is one that gets thrown around a lot, and it’s not really useful. If you could get more sleep that easily, you wouldn’t have to think about this tip, would you? 

What’s the difference in “making sleep a priority”? A few things. Most importantly, it means that recognizing a good night’s sleep is a critical way to manage your stress levels. Getting even a few hours of sleep less than the daily recommended amount of 7-8 could mean impaired cognitive functioning.  

Dr. Matthew Walker, author of “Why We Sleep,” gives people practical tips to make healthy, natural sleep an inevitability: 

 – Sticking to a routine: a regular sleep schedule is a great way to ensure that you fall asleep easily and naturally without relying on stimulants to wake up or depressants to make you drowsy.  

– Avoiding stimulants, especially at night. If you drink a cup of coffee to wake up, consider what that’s going to do to you at night. By giving yourself stimulants at night, you’re only going to throw off the routine and make it difficult to wake up in the morning. 

– Keep a cool bedroom. Having a cooler environment—even just a few degrees before bed—helps simulate the experience of sleeping outside, when the temperature drops and our bodies are cued for sleep. 

– Avoid blue light at nighttime, like watching TV or scrolling on a mobile phone. Blue light is higher-energy light on the visible spectrum, and that high energy light simulates the appearance of the sun, disrupting our circadian rhythms.  

And what are the benefits? Heart health, potential cancer prevention, stress reductions, alertness, better memory, better mental performance, and more. 

Strive for work/life balance

Although today’s business environment can be demanding, it’s crucial to take time for other activities outside of the office such as family events, hobbies and sports. This is when you recharge your batteries. 

“Finding the right work-life balance and giving back to the community are top priorities,” according to a statement from US Bancorp, which conducted the survey. 

However, creating that balance can be a real challenge. When you’re in your own business, there are many things to think about that you didn’t have to worry about before: making loan payments, spending your savings, no money coming in and all your money going out are just a few examples. 

The personal struggles faced by small business owners are emotional, physical, mental and financial.  You’ll most likely be working more hours than you were before, you will be overwhelmed and overworked. If you’re just starting out, you may also find that starting your own business feels lonely, which can also cause stress. 

This is where we can help you! Learn how to manage stress, adopt a healthy lifestyle and achieve everything you want in your business and life! If running your business and balancing your life feel far too often like fumbling around in the dark, our Online Coaching & Consulting Programs serve as your flashlight. Click here to learn more and get 50% off our Monthly Membership! 

We also offer exclusive 1:1 Business and Personal Coaching to everyone who wants an individual approach, personal guidance and focused progress to explore new Business & Life Paths! Fill in the form below to tell us more about your business and your goals and we’ll get back to you with a personalized offer! 

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