Running a small business can often be just as stressful and overwhelming as it can be rewarding. At times, it may even feel more stressful than rewarding, especially when everything feels like it’s falling on your shoulders. Every single aspect of running your business can add pressure, whether it’s financial or operational, but there are ways to find relief.
Most small business owners don’t have the luxury of shutting down whenever stress starts to mount, so it’s important to learn practical stress management tips to help minimize the pressure and keep all operations running smoothly. At the end of the day, you can’t run a business without your health.
Here are six tips you can follow to reduce stress and stay mentally and physically healthy.
A common stressor found amongst small business managers is often feeling like there’s not enough time in a day, month or year to do everything they need to do. This is natural, as time often slips away from us — and before we know it, it’s already five o’clock.
Planning out what needs to be done will not only help you to visualize the importance of each task, but it will also help to keep you on track for your day. Some people choose to plan every hour of every day, while others just block out what’s important — like meetings.
As a business manager (likely one of your many hats), utilize whatever method of planning works best for you and block out time for friends, family and work to ensure a good work-life balance. Don’t forget to plan out when you eat and sleep as well, since having a routine will help you to stay refreshed and alert.
Now, if you’re already a planner (and even if you’re not), then prioritizing your tasks and listing them from most to least important can really help you decide what should be tackled first.
By getting your big tasks out of the way, you can then focus on the smaller, less important tasks at hand. Give yourself ample time to work on those activities, as a rushed job can typically result in a bad job. There’s nothing wrong with going slow, especially when it comes to the big stuff.
Deciding to delegate tasks to employees you trust goes hand in hand with prioritizing.
As the business manager, it’s perfectly understandable that you may want to handle the important tasks yourself, but there’s nothing wrong with delegating the smaller tasks to those who have shown their capability at doing the work.
This will take some of the pressure off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on one thing at a time and to feel less overwhelmed.
If you’re feeling like nothing is going right or that you’re doing a bad job with your own tasks, take some time to refocus and put your efforts elsewhere. There’s always someone else who might need your help and would feel relieved to have it.
Too often we can get lost in our own heads, which leads to burnout. But helping someone else out with their problem might give your brain the rest it needs to come back stronger in regards to your own tasks.
It might go without saying, but the best thing a person can do for themselves is indulge in a healthy amount of self-care. This can mean anything, really. Take a day off, take a bubble bath after work, visit friends, meditate, do yoga, eat a balanced diet or go to the gym regularly.
It should be noted that while the modern day definition of ‘treating yourself’ may seem careless and almost reckless at times, it should always include doing things that we might not consider to be ‘fun’ like taking a digital detox (unplugging from all electronic devices for a certain period of time).
Practicing self-care can really help to put your mind at ease, as you know that stress and burnout won’t be the only two things you’re dealing with. Sometimes it’s good to delete social media from your phone or leave your phone in another room to charge while you simply read a novel or cook yourself a meal.
It’s also important to prioritize sleep, as a good night’s rest can help reduce those stress levels. Tired people can become irrationally irritable or lack patience to deal with small tasks (we’ve all been there), so ensuring that you’re well rested can make that little difference.
When we get stressed, we have a tendency to think negatively. A stressed-out mind is an unhealthy one. That can twist the truth and make us see things that aren’t there.
The best way to combat that pattern of thought is to encourage positivity. What’s going right in your business? What do you like about it? What is it about running a small business that makes you feel happy?
Think of all those things and write them down on a sticky note on your desk or in a journal. Remind yourself of those positive aspects every time you find yourself getting overwhelmed. Associating your business with the things that make it worthwhile will help you to stay focused and on task. At the end of the day, we all need some reminders that working hard is paying off.