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Stress, stress, stress… Let’s be honest, you can’t avoid it when running a business! But it doesn’t mean that you can’t reduce your stress levels! Here are ten tips on how to deal with it:

Avoid stress by learning how to manage your time

How great would it be if a day had more hours in it, right? 

As having to do many different things wasn’t stressful enough, if you aren’t the most organised person, trying to complete all the tasks on time can cause you additional stress. 

However, time management, just like any other skill, can be learnt! Start slowly. Find out what works best for you when creating a to-do list and what time of the day you feel the most productive at. If you want to learn more, we’ve got a list of time management tips!

Recognise what is going well

People tend to notice and remember things that aren’t great. If you go to a restaurant and have an amazing meal but have to wait longer than usual, you will definitely remember that. 

Being a business owner, you automatically notice things that don’t work well and what can be improved. On one hand, it’s always useful to identify those things as you know what you need to work on. On the other hand, how objective are you when analysing your own work?

If you overthink the lows, you probably don’t even notice the highs! Once a week, take some time to identify even the smallest things that worked well. This will reduce some stress as you’ll see that not everything is as bad as you might think! 

Reduce stress by pick up a hobby

You might have started your business as a hobby but doing something for fun and doing something for a living is two different things. No matter how much you love what you do at work, things get stressful. 

Try to find another activity that brings you joy. Having a hobby can help you reduce your stress levels as when you focus on something you really enjoy doing, you simply distance yourself from all the negative stuff going on in your life. 

Learn to say “no”

When you just start your business, you might not have the luxury to decline any opportunities. But when your business grows and you build your customer base, you can get a little bit fussy about choosing who to work with next. 

If your schedule is already full, think whether saying yes to another client is going to benefit you in the long run. While it means more money, it also means longer hours, less time to do other things you enjoy and more stress trying to fit everything in. 

When it comes to personal life, you also have a full right to say “no”. Some people can get too comfortable asking for a favour after favour. Whether it’s your friend or a stranger, you most likely don’t owe them anything, so don’t be afraid to explain your situation. 

Outsource tasks

As a business owner, you might be used to doing everything yourself. However, as your business grows, it can become difficult to keep up. When you try to juggle a thousand different tasks every day, then chances are you don’t spend enough time on each of them sacrificing the quality of work. 

In this situation, the best thing to do is to delegate or outsource the tasks. Consider expanding your team and hiring extra pair of hands. This will reduce the stress as it will give you more time to focus on things you’re the best at. For example, if you’re passionate about making your products and speaking to customers but have a hard time managing your finances, hiring an accountant (either in-house, agency or freelance) will take that weight off your shoulders.

Make sleep a priority

When you have a busy schedule, you might notice yourself getting up earlier and going to bed later just so you can fit everything in. But how long can you actually survive sleeping only a few hours a night? According to a study, if you don’t get at least seven hours of sleep, your body’s ability to function declines.

Not enough sleep not only impacts your ability to think, communicate and make decisions but also increases the risk of stroke or heart disease and even early death. 

To avoid any health problems related to lack of sleep, make sure you make sleep a priority. If you find it difficult to sleep, try to create a night-time routine that would put your body and mind into the mood for rest. Whether it’s having a relaxing bath, doing some stretching, reading a book or lighting a candle – anything that makes you feel calm and ready for bed. 

Exercise helps reduce stress levels

When you experience any type of stress, your body reacts to it by releasing stress hormones, so you can survive a life-threatening situation. And it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in front of a computer – your body doesn’t understand the difference.

After a stressful event, you might choose to sit down and relax reading or watching a movie, which sounds like a good way to unwind. Unfortunately, while your mind calms down, your body doesn’t have a chance to release all the tension and stress hormones. This is how you get stuck in a loop of stress.

When you exercise, your body produces endorphins and serotonin – hormones that help relieve stress and stabilise your mood. 

Physical activity also lets you forget about all the problems happening around you. Exercising can require a lot of focus. When you concentrate on your movement and breathing, you don’t have time to worry about anything else. 

Focus on what you can control

As a business owner, you like being in control of everything, don’t you? But have you noticed that things you can’t control cause you most of the stress? You might spend too much time worrying about things you have no control over. For example, if you’re stressed about going to a networking event because you’re scared others will think that you aren’t experienced enough or your ideas aren’t great, remember that you can control how you will communicate with those people (do your best there!) but you can’t control what they’ll think about you. 

Whenever you’re facing a stressful situation, try to look at it from a different perspective. Create two lists – one of the things you can control and one of the things you can’t. Focus on the first one, find the solutions to those problems and don’t even look at the second list! 

Don’t take work home with you 

While doing a few little bits of work over the weekend won’t do much harm, don’t get into a habit of bringing work home! Even if you haven’t done something from your to-do list during the day, come back to it first thing in the morning. 

If you operate your business from home, this can be extremely difficult. Being only a few steps away from your workplace can cause the temptation to work an extra hour or check your emails during your time off. 

However, to avoid stress both your body and mind need time to switch off from anything work-related. If you think about your business even when you spend time with your loved ones or when you try to sleep, you can’t get proper rest which leads to feeling even more stressed and irritated. 

Eliminate the need to be “right”

Running a business isn’t a task that you can forget about once you finish it. Running a business is a lifetime journey. So why do you stress so much about being right all the time? 

When you’re scared of making mistakes, you avoid doing things in the first place. When you do the same things and use the same methods all over again, you lose the opportunity to grow and improve your business. 

Making a mistake doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It means you’ve tried, learnt something while doing it and you’re ready to do it again and get things right!