Running a small business is full of rewarding moments and great accomplishments, but those highs come at a price. Usually, that price is a whole lot of stress. You may sometimes feel that there’s too much to do and not enough hours in the day. The good news is that there are many strategies you can use to help alleviate the pressure. Here are five tips to help you keep stress at bay.
1. Ask for Help
When you’re running a small business, it can often feel like you need to handle every task and detail yourself. By the end of each day, you may find that you’re stretched so thin, you’re at your breaking point. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to take a step back and ask for help from those you trust. It’s important that as a small business owner you look for opportunities to delegate. A good guideline is to choose the three most important tasks each day to do yourself and then assign every other task to your employees. At times, it can feel risky or even frightening to entrust important tasks to others. But, delegating will reduce your stress levels and it gives you the chance to see which employees step up and go above and beyond for your business.
2. Get Active
There are endless articles and studies published each year that report a connection between exercise and reducing stress levels. Whether you do cardio for an hour each morning or take a short walk around the block after lunch, any amount of physical activity is conducive to lowering stress levels. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that just five minutes of aerobic exercise can have an anti-anxiety effect. If you’re finding that your schedule doesn’t allow for a dedicated workout each day, consider simply walking a short distance every hour or so during the day, even if it’s just around the space where you work. And try not to eat your lunch at your desk; take it someplace else where you feel comfortable and can’t be disrupted.
3. Practice Gratitude
Often stress can creep up when you’re focused on deadlines, paperwork, and to-do lists. You may find you have no time to pay attention to other more important things in your life. A good way to help refocus and reprioritize is by practicing gratitude. When you notice the little things each day that you’re grateful for, your mood can improve and your stress can decrease. A good way to practice gratitude is by writing down three things you’re grateful for at the end of each day. By making a habit out of recognizing the good in your life, you’ll train your brain to be more positive and notice the good around you more frequently.
4. Get Organized
As a small-business owner, you may find it hard to make the time or space to keep every aspect of your business structured and easily accessible. Creating an organizational system can help you find important documents more easily, keep better track of appointments, analyze information more quickly, and even see the bigger picture of your business more clearly. You may consider implementing small changes, such as keeping a day planner or storing important documents in page protectors within a binder. There are also several programs and apps that can help business owners with everything from managing to-do lists to communicating with employees. Some great examples include Evernote, Toggl, Basecamp, and Slack.
5. Make Time for You
One of the most successful tools for combating stress is taking time to refresh and recharge. This could be a vacation out of town or even just a night at home doing something you love. The key is to set aside some time when you’re not thinking about work. That may mean turning your phone off and letting your employees know you’ll be out of reach for a while. The time to yourself will give you a chance to relax and breathe. Then, when you return to work, whether it’s in a week or the next day, you’ll be refreshed and ready to conquer.