With issues like COVID-19, healthcare, and business taxes, all weighing heavily on the mind of small business owners, these are uncertain times.
The more uncertainty to deal with, the more people feel anxious. From social distancing and isolation to loss of income, there are several challenges causing stress.
But some pro insights can help you manage. In this post, I share stress prevention and stress management tips that I’ve gathered from several health care professionals and other experts to help keep business owners from feeling overwhelmed.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the causes and the cures of stress. Ready? Let’s go…
Did you know April is Stress Awareness Month?
Observed since 1992, the point of Stress Awareness Month is to highlight causes of stress, the negative effects stress can have on the mind and body, and stress relief tools.
Most people stress about work and money. Some also worry about the political climate. But a recent WalletHub survey, found coronavirus is the biggest source of stress for Americans in 2020.
The fact is, 77% of Americans report experiencing physical symptoms as the result of stress. Additionally, 33% feel they’re living with extreme stress and 48% say stress negatively impacts their personal and professional lives.
Even though everybody experiences stress, business owners are especially vulnerable since many of their stressors affect their business and personal lives.
Experts at Cleveland Clinic define stress as “the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.”
Because it is natural, stress isn’t always a bad thing. When life-threatening situations arise, stress is what gives us a fighting chance.
Our bodies aren’t designed to operate in a constant state of “fight” or “flight” since when blood flow is going to our muscles, then brain function is minimized. This can cause us to make irrational and informed decisions. Not to mention symptoms of stress can manifest physically. Typical issues include headaches, fatigue, upset stomach, depression, and heart problems.
The negative effects are significant:
- Almost 90% of all visits to primary care doctors are because of stress related disorders, like stomach trouble and heart disease according to the American Institute of Stress.
- Job related stress costs American businesses nearly $150 billion a year.
- More than half of Americans say they argue with friends and loved ones because of stress, and more than 70% say they experience real physical and emotional symptoms from stress.
Although you can’t avoid stress entirely, you can manage it, if you know how.
Being a small business owner puts you in charge of your destiny, gives you freedom, and can be more rewarding than you ever imagined.
But, there are challenges such as:
- the uncertainty that comes with running your own business
- always being on the job
A SCORE study found 62% of small business owners said the stress of ownership is worse than what they imagined.
A New York Enterprise Report found small business owners work twice as much as employees.
Everyone experiences stress. However, business owners tend to have more on their plate than most people making them more susceptible to the pressure.
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How can I lower my stress level?” we’ve got you covered. Here are eight tips to help you reduce your stress:
- Eat healthy: When you eat fresh, whole foods you help your body fight stress naturally. Avoid stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine that can magnify stress and interfere with sleep.
- Get enough sleep: Establish a healthy sleeping routine. Shoot for 7 to 9 hours because brain chemicals connected with deep sleep tell your body to stop the production of stress hormones. You’ll wake up refreshed and less stressed!
- Exercise regularly: Most experts advise 30 minutes of moderate activity, five days a week. This includes activities like taking a walk, jogging, and swimming. Anything that lowers blood pressure and provides a healthy outlet to relieve stress is good for you.
- Practice meditation and deep breathing: Meditation and deep breathing are easy to do. If you’re looking for a simple way to get started, try the 4-7-8 deep breathing technique. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, then exhale for eight seconds. Continue until you feel relaxed.
- Smile and laugh: Smiling can help improve your mood. Laughing can also help you beat stress and is clinically proven to be good for your health. Watch a funny show or find a funny video online to boost your mood.
- Spend time with friends and loved ones: As a business owner, it’s important to maintain a network of supportive friends and family. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone outside of work about how you’re feeling. That even includes four-legged friends. Did you know that research shows that simply petting your dog or cat for 10 minutes lowers cortisol?
- Take time to unwind: Doing something you love can also help you lower stress. Listening to music, reading a book, even having a cup of tea can all help you take a minute to regroup.
- Prioritize and organize: Prioritize your most important tasks and projects. Delegate the things you don’t have to do yourself. Trying to do everything yourself leads to burnout and exhaustion. For example, instead of dealing with the stress of managing paper files, why not use Neat’s bookkeeping and accounting tools to get organized. When you have an organized filing system you save valuable time and money. In fact, research shows people who don’t keep track of expenses can lose up to 20% of what is deductible each year.
As a business owner, every day brings changes and challenges.
But, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, stress management is especially important. Now is the perfect time to incorporate stress prevention techniques into your lifestyle. For example, if you typically feel sleepy and sluggish during the second half of your workday, a healthy lunch followed by a brisk walk will set you up for a more productive afternoon
If you want to reduce stress, it means recognizing the signs of stress and developing strategies to cope. Many of these stress prevention tips can be worked into your work day. And when you’re less-stressed, you improve your health and your productivity at work.
Why not eliminate the stress of managing paper files? Try Neat free for 15 days. Explore all Neat has to offer. Cancel anytime.