As work environments become more and more demanding, entrepreneurs and employees alike are feeling increasingly overwhelmed. Whether the source is an immense volume of work or a tight deadline, experiencing overwhelm at work can make it difficult to remember what you love about your job. And if the stress continues over a prolonged period of time, you may eventually burn out.
To help you avoid this draining kind of stress, these seven entrepreneurs share their most effective strategies for dealing with feelings of overwhelm at work. Most of these strategies take less than five minutes to implement, with incredible results when done right.
Take a break.
As counterintuitive as it may sound, consider taking a break when you feel overwhelmed. Jean Ginzburg of JeanGinzburg.com explains: "When I feel overwhelmed and it seems like I am hitting a wall, just taking a three-to-five-minute break to refresh can make a big difference."
A break helps you take your mind off the problem at hand, even for a few moments, and doing so may lead to an unexpected solution. "I might be chiseling at the same problem for a long time, so what I do is get up from my desk, direct my mind away from the problem and repeat the word 'calm' in my head (you can choose another word). Then, I consciously try to relax my body," says Ginzburg.
Take a few minutes to disconnect.
"When I get completely overwhelmed, I disconnect, even for just five minutes," says Jonathan Long, founder of Uber Brands. "I will visit a website unrelated to work, usually ESPN, and read the news and stories related to my teams."
It may not seem like much, but those few minutes away can work wonders to lift some of the weight off your shoulders. "You can't do this all the time or you will kill your productivity, but it is effective when used right," Long explains.
Get some fresh air.
According to Colbey Pfund, co-founder of LFNT Distribution, an effective way to disconnect from the work piling up on your desk is to physically leave your office for a walk and some fresh air.
"When I am getting crushed with work, I have learned that all I need to do is step outside," Pfund reveals. "Five minutes of fresh air in the sun makes all the difference in the world. It reinvigorates me and gives me that extra boost I need to power through the day."
Write down your thoughts.
For other professionals, writing down what you're feeling is a great way to clear your mind. "A pen and paper are my go-to tools when I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed," says Birdsong CEO Monica Snyder.
"With clearer thoughts, I prioritize, then do, delegate or delete the things that caused the overwhelm," she explains. "I personally love to do this with a purple pen -- I don't know why, but it works better that way!"
Turn to a random page in a book.
"When I read books, it helps me relax and it takes my mind off of any stressful situations," shares Sweta Patel, founder of Silicon Valley Startup Marketing. "When I open a book and turn to a random page, I am able to recharge, learn something new and then go back to refocusing on the task at hand."
According to Patel, by refocusing your energy, you will be able to handle the issue you were facing more easily because you can go back to it with a change in perspective.
Listen to music.
Along the same lines, listening to music can work wonders for stress relief when you're facing a full calendar with tight timelines, thinks Robby Scott Berthume, co-founder and CEO of Bull & Beard.
"Over the years, I've realized the solution is not working every second of the day, but working in intervals," he explains. "During my rest intervals, even if they're only five minutes long, I enjoy listening to music -- positive, upbeat music that puts me in a good mood and grounds me."
For busy people who have a hard time disconnecting when feeling overwhelmed, meditation could be the right answer.
John Hall, co-founder and president of Calendar, explains how it works for him: "I close my eyes, sit back in my chair or lie down on the floor. In these moments, I find a picture to visualize that offers me something that makes me feel good, like sitting on a beach. I focus on that visual until I feel a sense of calm return. Then I jump back up and dig in again."