Stress and sitting are both the new smoking when it comes to the damage they might cause our overall health. Stress rates are higher than ever in the United States, with rates growing every year. The U.S. economy has been steadily improving, overall, in the last few years, and that means there is even more stress to perform, market and sell. Small business owners experience a ton of external stressors and, more importantly, put a lot of stress on themselves. Ultimately, they are responsible for the final say on important decisions that could lead to the crash or success of their business. That’s a lot of pressure, right? At the end of the day, if you don’t take care of yourself, it is going to be difficult or impossible to maintain and grow your business the way that you envision. Here are some simple, effective and strategic stress management activities to help small business owners alleviate some of the pressure.
1. Taking Breaks
If you have been telling yourself that you can put in hour after hour and day after day working without taking a break, you have been lying to yourself. You might be able to stay in high productivity mode for days, weeks or even months, but eventually, you will crash. It’s not going to be pretty when you do.
Just Take 10
You can prevent overworking yourself and maintain a steady work output just by making sure that you take regular breaks from work. Just taking 10 minutes after every 2 hours of work can help you relax, clear your head, and regain your focus for getting back to work.
2. Setting a Sleep Schedule
When you stress with work and become overwhelmed by your business, sleep tends to be the first thing to go. Whether you have trouble sleeping or you convince yourself that you can keep functioning on less sleep so that you can do more work, you may be running yourself into the ground.
Make Bedtime a Priority
Cutting yourself short on sleep is going to throw you into a vicious cycle of less sleep and more stress, especially if you keep this cycle going for a long time. Prioritizing sleep helps you function better throughout your work day and keeps your stress levels lower. Set a bedtime and wake-up time based on how much sleep you need each night to function at your best the next day. Take at least 30 minutes to wind down before bedtime by reading, journaling or even meditating.
Exercise is an understated and completely underutilized tool for reducing and managing stress. Use your lunch or break time to take a walk. There is always a way to fit moving into your day.
30 Minutes Matters
Just 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day can give you the activity and endorphins that you need to de-stress and dial in your focus for work. You can exercise in intervals of 10 minutes if you have a hectic schedule and still derive the same benefits.
4. Maintaining a Healthy Diet
Diet is another one of those aspects of your life that can either slow you down or make you better depending on what you eat. Maintaining your diet and your overall health is crucial in reducing stress and making sure that you put out your best work.
Skip the Fast Food and Energy Drinks
Fast food, excess sugar, sodas and energy drinks may mess up your blood sugar, hormones, and weight. Coincidentally, all of those things are going to make you more stressed, too. Start meal planning for when you are at work. Use a slow cooker to prep massive amounts of food that you can take to work for lunches. Use more of the huge batch for dinner throughout the week. Eat a breakfast that is rich in proteins and healthy fats to wake up your brain and kickstart your metabolism.
5. Outsourcing Work
Outsourcing work is miraculous when it comes to reducing stress. As a business owner, you are passionate, and probably somewhat of a perfectionist. You like it best when things are done your way, and most of the time you would just rather do something yourself than trust an employee or manager to do it for you.
Reduce the Hours of Work in a Day
You only have so many hours in the day, though, and if your daily minutiae are stressing you out and occupying too much of your mental capacity, you need to start outsourcing. What are some tasks that you do on a daily or weekly basis that you could hire another company to do that fits in your budget?
6. Delegating Work Tasks
If you feel stressed from taking on too much work on your own, you should consider delegating more tasks to your employees, managers, and co-workers.
Worth the Training Time
It may take some time to set them up and train them, but they’ll get it. Trusting them with more work may save you hours every week.
7. Knowing When to Stop
Eventually, you have to cut yourself off and stop working. You can’t just come home from work to eat, open your laptop, and work up to the time that you go to bed.
There’s never enough hours in the day, and the workload will never be done for your business. You simply have to accept that you need to stop at some point and give yourself a break.
8. Setting Boundaries and Knowing When to Say “No.”
There’s only so much responsibility that you can accept as one person until you have to start turning people down. It’s going to save you a lot regarding your mental health if you can start practicing saying “no” and refusing work.
Preserve Your Mental Well-Being
Set up rules and boundaries for yourself to reduce stress and preserve your mental health. Know when to say “no” to more work, more clients, and more responsibilities.
Taking this Forward
Think of taking care of yourself and reducing your stress as putting more points in your mental health bank for doing better work and becoming a happier person. You have to make sure that you are in good shape physically, mentally and emotionally so that you can produce the best for you, others around you, and your business.
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