January 10, 2023 — Running a small business can be a challenge even in the best of times. But add in inflation, labor shortages, or supply chain issues to your plate, and your stress levels may be rising to a new high.
With April designated as Stress Awareness Month, consider these tips a timely dose of advice to combat and ease your everyday stress.
Take a Break.
Some small business owners may scoff at this idea, saying they’re way too busy for a break.
But taking frequent breaks is a common piece of advice from successful entrepreneurs and other business leaders when handling stress.
“If you’re constantly spinning your wheels, not getting anywhere, and stressing about the problem, taking a short break might be all you need,” says Mike Kappel, a serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Patriot Software Co. “Stepping away from the stressor for even 10 minutes can refresh and calm you.”
Whether it’s a brief walk or relocating for a few to grab some fresh air, a break forces you to move physically away from what you’re doing, plus it can be the means to a new perspective.
“When you get back to your business, you will have a clearer mind,” Kappel writes in a post for Entrepreneur magazine. “You will have fresh energy to tackle the task. And, stepping away might even open your eyes to a new and better way to complete the task.”
Care for Yourself.
Another popular yet hard-to-do-in-reality nugget of advice is self-care. Taking care of one’s self is stress management 101 for just about everyone, including entrepreneurs and small business owners.
After all, you need the best you to tackle the everyday stress of running a successful business.
At the very least, try to do simple things like drinking water consistently through your day, eating regularly, and getting quality sleep, Kappel says in the post. And when you can, shoot for self-care add-ons such as exercise, nutritious foods, meditation, and a vacation.
“When you completely disconnect from your work, you give your brain the best chance of relaxing,” says Thomas Griffin, president and co-founder of OptinMonster and TrustPulse. “You also allow your mind to process problems from work and unconsciously come up with solutions,” he writes in a Business2Community (B2C) post.
After a trip to the gym or a weekend getaway, the refresh you get goes beyond physical care. It’s a way to give you a new perspective on a problem you’re struggling with in the first place.
“There’s no question about it, if you want to reduce stress and be a better entrepreneur, then you need to completely disconnect from work from time to time,” advises Griffin.
Let it Go.
Learning to let things go takes practice but doing so has a way of reducing your stress, says Meeky Hwang, co-founder & chief technology officer of Ndevr, a Denver-based company that provides consulting and project services for publishing and application platforms built on open solutions.
“Some circumstances cannot be changed or improved, and a lot of stress comes directly from trying to change or improve these things,” writes Hwang writes in a post for Forbes.
For example, she says, when an employee leaves on short notice or your laptop dies when you’re in the middle of a meeting. Things will happen in life that you can’t control, and worrying about them can lead to stress, Hwang says.
“Over the course of time, I’ve learned to just let it go. What has already happened cannot be undone,” she writes in the post.
“Changing my mindset to consider scenarios like these as valuable lessons, I have learned and try not to make the same mistakes again in the future without beating myself up over things that happened in the past.”