Everyone has dealt with feelings of stress at work. Whether it’s the threat of a looming deadline or worries about how your company’s numbers are going to pan out this quarter, it’s inevitable that stress will bubble up on occasion.
Below, six entrepreneurs share their best strategies for overcoming feelings of stress and breaking through to a place of relaxation and productivity.
Take a short walk.
Sometimes all you need is a short change of pace and scenery. That’s why Kristin Marquet, founder and creative director of PR firm Creative Development Agency, LLC, recommends stepping away from your desk and taking a few minutes to move.
“When I get stressed at the office, I like to get up and walk around the hallways, walk down the stairs or go outside for a few minutes to decompress,” she says. “Not only is this a good mental break, it's also a great way to get a little exercise.”
“Sitting down for an extensive amount of time can cause strain on your body. Having been to physical therapy and a chiropractor, the common theme I hear is ‘stretch,’” notes Mike A. Podesto, CEO and founder of job search tool Find My Profession. We’ve all heard how much stress prolonged sitting puts on our bodies, but few of us remember to take steps to counteract it.
“Throughout the day, I take stretch breaks to cope with stress and improve my overall health,” says Podesto. “I am killing two birds with one stone and not wasting time, which makes me feel good physically and mentally.”
Remember, it's all in the mind.
Stress at work is largely a mental state, and becoming aware of that fact can sometimes be the key to overcoming it. Jessica Gonzalez, founder of cell phone charging station provider InCharged, says: “When I'm extremely stressed, I like to throw on my meditation app, close my eyes and breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth for five minutes.”
“My father used to tell me ‘it's all in the mind, and the mind can be controlled.’ I use that line to talk myself out of stressful situations by telling myself it's only as stressful as I let it be,” she adds.
Help someone else.
“A quick fix whenever I am stressed or upset at work is to do something nice for someone else,” says Kim Kaupe, co-founder of superfan-focused entertainment agency ZinePak. If you’re feeling swamped by the workload in front of you, taking a moment to make someone else’s day just a little bit better can make a big difference in your own mental state.
Kaupe says: “Whether it's opening the door on my way to lunch or sending a random ‘thinking of you’ text, it gives me perspective that the only thing I can control is myself. Bringing happiness to others takes five minutes or less but pays you back throughout the day.”
Make a list.
Stress is often the result of feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. Something as simple as making a list can put things into perspective and help you sort out your top priorities.
“It might seem simple, but getting everything out of my head and onto paper is one of the quickest ways I’ve found to destress,” says Rob Duffy, CEO and co-founder of DevOps guidance firm Ship On Day One. “Sit down with pen and paper and start writing a list of things to do. It might be a long list, but just getting it on paper and looking at it will help.”
Dance first, stress later.
“Put on a pair of headphones -- or, if you're in your own space, blast your favorite tune -- and dance like the world is blind,” suggests Stanley Meytin, CEO and creative director of video production service True Film Production. Taking a few minutes to dance it out gives you a physical break from sitting and a mental break from your stress -- but the benefits go even further.
“Dancing has positive physiological and psychological benefits, it's indefinably fun and it puts your brain into a lighthearted mindset,” says Meytin. “Personally, it reminds me to just have fun: the reason I became an entrepreneur in the first place.”