Stress is a normal part of life -- especially when you're an entrepreneur. With all the internal and external pressures that business owners face, the number of stressful and overwhelming situations you must deal with can seem to increase with each passing day.
Whether you're stressing about a personal matter or a business issue, it's easy to let those moments veer you off track and take up valuable time and energy. That's why it's essential to have fast, healthy coping mechanisms to reset your mind when you're feeling overwhelmed.
To help, here are seven entrepreneur-recommended strategies for handling stress in five minutes or less.
Count down from five.
Many entrepreneurs find that some form of meditation is the fastest and easiest way to shut off that feeling of being overwhelmed. Julian Montoya, founder and manager of JM11 Investments, does this by counting backward slowly from five to one.
"By the time I reach one, I have to change what I am doing and take a quick break, drink some water and be aware of my breath," Montoya says. "This allows me to stop and take the emotion out of the next decisions that are needed."
Stretch your body.
Sometimes a short physical break can have the same rejuvenating effect as a mental one. According to Charles Koh, co-founder of Pixery, Inc., you can try a simple stretching exercise when you're feeling stressed.
"Stand up or lay on the ground and start stretching your neck, waist, back, arms, legs and spine," he explains. "This will reduce stress, improve elasticity and mobility, and relax those tight muscles that are causing tension in your body. This will also improve your overall mental clarity and productivity."
Take a quick walk without your phone.
Need a little more physical activity than just stretching? Try taking a brisk, five-minute walk outside -- without your smartphone.
"Stepping away for five minutes with no other distractions helps you get perspective on the things that are important and those that are not," says Stephanie Wells, founder of Formidable Forms. "When you return, you will be more focused and ready to take on the next task."
Review and reprioritize your to-do list.
Justin Faerman, co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine, explains that when he's feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it's because he has too many conflicting priorities vying for his attention.
"In these moments, I find it extremely helpful to get clear on everything I need to do, including what can be handed off," Faerman says. "Then I deeply reorganize my to-do list so that the most essential things get done first."
Delegate some of your work.
As an entrepreneur, it's important to have a group of trusted individuals to pass off some work to, whether it's an assistant, a team leader or a freelancer.
"Delegate some of your tasks to employees who are willing and able to handle them for you," says Reuben Yonatan, founder and CEO of GetVoIP. "You should already be doing this, but being able to see what your team can do and then trusting them to do it can play a significant role in eliminating the day-to-day stress that slowly builds up."
Pick one task and hyper-focus on it.
Once you've reorganized your priorities and delegated what you can, it's time to get to work. Mark Daoust, founder and CEO of Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc., advises choosing a single project and devoting 100 percent of your attention to it until it's finished.
"I often close down every tab on my browser and every outside program, turn my phone off, and focus on that one task," he says. "It's usually not a big task, but it is one that I am happy to work on," he says. "Being hyper-focused on just one thing helps remind me that I can work through my list, and checking one item off is always encouraging."
Put it in perspective.
Gratitude can go a long way toward resetting your mind in times of stress. Nicole Munoz of Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc. has found that reminding herself of what she's grateful for is the best way to deal with feeling overwhelmed. "This is the most centering thing I can do," she says. "It helps me gain perspective."
Another quick trick she uses to reestablish perspective? She asks herself, "will it matter in five days, five weeks and five years?"