Stress–it seems unavoidable when you run a small business. You feel constant pressure to make sure things are going well, to make sure your company is growing, and to make sure your employees are happy and are getting their work done.

Here’s the thing, though. While some stress is unavoidable, too much stress can be deadly, causing problems ranging from high blood pressure to diabetes. If the pressures of running a business are mounting and you fear your stress levels are getting too high, there are ways you can cool off, relax, and feel better.

Take Deep Breaths

It seems so simple, but taking a pause to take a few deep breaths can help reduce your stress significantly. Research from Harvard Medical School suggests that learning to control your breathing can help lower or quash your body’s stress response.

Other studies have shown that deep, slow breaths also increase alpha waves in the brain. Alpha waves are produced during periods of mindful relaxation.

Alpha brain waves have also been associated with:

  • Deep relaxation
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Elimination of Stress
  • Better problem solving
  • Improved learning
  • Boosting your immune system
  • Increased recall
  • Heightened creativity
  • Better social interaction
  • Elimination of insomnia

Once you learn how to breathe deeply, you can practice it anywhere, anytime you feel your stress levels start to creep up.

To breathe deeply push your lower abdomen out and down. Slowly inhale through your nose, filling your lungs with air. You should feel your belly swell with the air first then your chest. Once you’ve inhaled as much as air as you can, release it through your mouth. Repeat several times until you feel calm.

Set a Routine

Having a lot (or even too much) on your plate can push your stress levels through the roof. One way to minimize stress and get your schedule under control is to create daily and weekly routines. When you know where you’ll be on Mondays at 1pm and what you need to complete by Wednesday at 3pm, you’ll feel a lot less pressure to get everything done, right this instant.

Setting a routine can also help you see what tasks you can or should delegate to others. You might own your business, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself.

Take Time Off

Your business needs you, it’s true. But if the you you’re dealing with right now is frazzled, maxed out, and a ball of nerves, you won’t be able to give your business your all. Sometimes, the simplest way to deal with stress is to take some time off.

You don’t have to book a trip to a tropical island or make a beeline for Disney World. Even just spending a day or two at home, with your smartphone and laptop
hidden somewhere, should be enough to help you calm down.

Taking time off will also help you see that your company can handle itself without you at the wheel, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Getting a few days of rest and relaxation will also help you come back to work energized and refreshed. With some rest under your belt, you might be better able to tackle problems that seemed insurmountable just a few days ago.

Focus on the Positive

When sales are low, customers are complaining, and employees are disgruntled, it’s easy to focus on what’s going wrong and on all the negative things around you. Holding these negative thoughts at bay may feel like holding back the ocean with a broom, but finding at least one positive thing in a heap of downers will help you feel better about your company and better overall.

When someone says no to you, think of it as the best thing for your company — now you have the ability to pursue other clients or other projects. When an employee you liked leaves, think of it as an opportunity to find and hire an even better candidate.

There will be times when stress seems insurmountable and you’ll want to throw in the towel. If you take a minute instead to pause, breathe, and find the good in every situation, you’ll not only reduce your stress, your company will benefit from a better leader!


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Please keep in mind that the Disorderly Ducks of Woyster Media are NOT psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapist, or experts in the field of psychology by any stretch of the imagination. The fact is we may need therapy ourselves. That being said, we want to help others by passing along this free information, but your situation may be different from ours. You’d be freakin’ NUTS to take action on ANYthing we say on the subject without first talking to your shrink!