8 Stress Control Tips for Small Business Owners

stress win the battle

One of the most important parts of learning how to manage a small business is learning how to manage stress.

Because small businesses are by definition “small” it makes ownership and management one of the most challenging jobs on the planet – virtually every issue and decision rests on your shoulders.

With those truths in mind, let’s step back from the fire for a moment and toss out some tips for managing stress in your small business. But as we do this, let’s start with the understanding that we’re all wired differently, so one person’s top tip for managing stress may not work at all for the next person. (And if I’ve missed your best tip for managing stress, please take a moment and share it in a comments below!)

  • Jettison the small stuff. One of the most important concepts in successfully dealing with stress is to get rid of those pesky little issues that command a lot of attention, yet don’t pay off with significant improvements. Just drop these items completely or off load them to others!
  • Be realistic about what you can control. As a small business owner you probably have a very “can-do” attitude; and that’s a good thing. However, there are things that you can neither control nor change. Accept those facts and move on.
  • Spend a night at a comedy club. Okay, it doesn’t have to be a comedy club, but find entertainment that will result in some big belly laughs. The old saying about laughter being “the best medicine” is very true. And by the way, if you can laugh at yourself and your foibles, it’s even better; that helps you accept the things you can’t change.
  • Make progress on your biggest problem. Now that you’ve got rid of the small stuff and no longer worry about the things you cannot change, make some progress – any progress – on your biggest challenge. Further, resolve to make a little more progress on it tomorrow. You know what they say about a diamond: It’s just a piece of coal that hung in there. Hang in there, chipping away at the biggest obstacle that’s holding back your small business.
  • Pick up a self-help book on meditation or find a local class that will get you started. There are a variety of techniques, but the main thing is that meditation allows you to turn down the volume on the problems that are shouting at you all day long. For many, meditation is the way to find calm in the middle of the storm.
  • Work out. While meditation brings calmness through controlling the mind, exercise can do the same thing by tiring the muscles. We’re talking about stress relief here, right? Physical exercise results in physical relief and usually your mind goes along for the ride as well. Of course, with aerobic activities and other intense exercises such as running, there’s the famous endorphin release. When your brain releases endorphins you get the benefit of a natural drug designed to relieve your stress.
  • Hang out with a mentor. No small business owner is an island…or at least shouldn’t be. A trusted mentor will have experienced many of the same challenges you’re dealing with. Talking to someone who has seen and maneuvered beyond the “light at the end of the tunnel” will give you hope, confidence, and vision.
  • There are breathing exercises that help us calm down and let the stress roll off. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique:
    • Breathe in through your nose to a count of four.
    • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
    • Release your breath through your mouth to a count of eight, making a “whooshing” sound.
    • Do this two to four times.

Practicing this a few times during the day will help you keep your stress level under control.

One of the major reasons men and women start their own businesses is so they can take charge of their lives and livelihoods. But if those benefits bring too much stress, then it makes us question whether or not small business ownership is worth the personal price paid. So I encourage you to be proactive in the fight against stress and muster the same desire you have to be in control of your life and use it to control your stress.