Small Business Stress Management: 8 Ways to Handle Your Stress
Running a small business can be stressful. You often feel
like everything falls on your shoulders, like finding new customers, keeping
your employees happy, and paying taxes, all while still putting food on your
own table. If you regularly try to push through the stress, you could end up
damaging your physical and mental health. Since April is Stress Awareness
Month, now’s the perfect time to learn what stresses you out and learn how to
better handle the pressure that comes with owning a small business.
1. Find a mentor
You’re not the first person to own a small business, so find
someone who has been where you are. By building relationships with other small
business owners, you’ll have people to go to with questions and problems. A strong mentor
can help you determine which strategies are best for your company and share
tips they’ve learned. They have been where you are today and came out on the
other side, so they’ll share the hope that you can and will get past your
current problems and succeed.
2. Learn to say “no”
If you say “yes” to everything, you’ll end up being
overcommitted, which will just add more stress. Instead, learn to say “no” to
things that you don’t have time for or don’t make fiscal sense for your
business. Sometimes, that could mean not bending over backwards to make a
client happy or not picking up some of your partner’s slack. It’s important to
learn where your limits are and that it’s okay to say “no” to some things.
There are some things that your company can’t say “no” to,
but you personally don’t have time for. In those cases, learn to delegate to
your staff. You hired each member of your team because of their skills and
experience, so trust them to do their jobs well by assigning tasks that aren’t
in your wheelhouse or you don’t have time for.
Although many people start their own company because they
want to control their schedule, small business owners often end up working long
hours, leaving little time for themselves. Taking time for yourself gives you
the chance to recharge, which is vital for making better
decisions for your company.
If you haven’t taken time for yourself lately, don’t feel
like you have to commit to taking a week-long vacation. Instead, start small. Schedule
a date night with your significant other or a game night with your friends and
family. You could even just leave the office during lunch, so you have time to
When you schedule time for yourself, protect it like you
would a meeting and turn your phone off, so you’re not tempted to work during
Prioritizing your physical health can help relieve some of
your stress, which will improve your mental health. You don’t have to find the
time to go to the gym for a couple of hours every day. Instead, you can take
some time during lunch and go for a walk, or you could step away from your
computer for a few minutes and do some stretches. When you exercise,
you’ll notice that your mood greatly improves, so you’ll feel confident that
you can take on whatever the day throws at you.
6. Take advantage of technology
Technology can help you complete administrative tasks more
quickly. You’ll be able to get everything on your to-do list done faster, so
you can get back to focusing on the bigger picture.
Sleep deprivation can affect your judgment, mood, and memory.
You’ll be better prepared to handle your stress if you prioritize sleep. You’ll
have more clarity, and you’ll be less likely to snap at your staff if someone
comes to you with a question or problem.
8. Celebrate what’s going right
When you’re running your small business, you might feel like
nothing is going right. It’s easy to be stressed when you’re only focusing on
the negatives, so take some time to acknowledge everything that you’ve
accomplished. Make a list of every milestone your small business has reached,
no matter how small. Then, when you feel like everything is going wrong, review
that list so you recognize every success you’ve had.
Each contributor on the Workful Editorial Team holds an advanced degree in business-related studies and/or communication and has written for other small business publications, including SmallBizDaily, HR.com, and Business.com. The information in this article is based on thorough research and has been edited for accuracy and timeliness by Workful’s Human Resources experts. While this blog is meant to inform and educate small business owners, it is not intended to provide legal, financial, accounting, or tax advice.