Most small-business owners deal with stress on a daily basis. There always seems to be far too much to do and not enough time to do it. As emails pile up and to-do lists grow, it's impossible to avoid feeling overwhelmed. If you don't learn to manage the stress, it can lead to health problems and an overall lag in productivity.
I've found a few great ways to deal with the pressure I'm under every day as I lead my own business. While all of these methods might not be right for everyone, chances are you will find some of these tips valuable.
1. Get some exercise.
For a Type-A personality, exercise is a great way to combat stress while still keeping up that breakneck pace. Whether it's setting the alarm for an hour earlier to hit the gym or just taking a walk around the block at lunchtime, a little cardio can go a long way. I personally have a goal to go to the gym four times a week. You should make a goal; if you don't hit it, it's OK. Remember, exercise will help you destress.
If you can't get away from the office, consider taking a sprint up the stairs on your way back from the men's room, or take the long way back from that 3 o'clock meeting.
2. Go outside.
Nothing can be more frustrating than being stuck in your office on a nice day. Sometimes, you just wish you could move your desk outside. Fortunately, you can take your work to the curb, thanks to your smartphone. While you're on a call, consider stepping out the backdoor of your office and breathing in some fresh air. You'll still be present for your meeting, but you'll also be refreshing your spirits.
3. Get away.
You can't work all the time. Make a point of occasionally having get-togethers with friends or enjoying family dinners every night. Even if it seems you should be getting work done instead, the time away will help you recharge your mind to take on your duties the next day.
When you get away, make sure to disconnect from the world. Take the advice of many other entrepreneurs and give yourself the time you need to destress.
4. Make a list.
Whether you use a listmaking app or you still put pen to paper, lists have the benefit of putting you in control. You feel as if you know exactly what you need to get done when you see your to-do list in black and white in front of you. As you check each item off, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment, even if you add two items every time you remove one.
5. Just say no.
Business owners seem to have an especially difficult time with this one, even though it might seem like an easy enough challenge to tackle. As you're growing your business, you hate to say no to any opportunity since you are eager to network. However, part of successful prioritizing is learning where to draw the line. Simply say, "I'm sorry, but I can't take on anything else." Practice it in the mirror, and eventually it will become second nature.
We all breathe, but most people pay little attention to it. Did you know that breathing slowly in and out is a great way to trick your body into relaxing? As you slow your breathing, you also slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. The next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stop for a minute and force yourself to breathe slowly in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth. Repeat until you feel more relaxed.
With so much technology available to us today, it's not hard to find tools that can help a business take off some pressure. For every problem that a business faces, there typically is a tool that will help solve it, in a much easier way than ever before.
To maintain good health and be effective each day, you have to learn to manage your stress level. By employing time-tested techniques, you'll not only be more productive, you'll feel better and live longer. As hard as it can be to slow down and put together a system to manage your stressors, even a few small changes can make a big difference.