While many people dream of owning their own business, the stress associated with being an entrepreneur is far from desirable. A recent Staples survey of U.S. business owners with 1 to 20 employees found that two thirds of them work on evenings, weekends and holidays; 49 percent work while driving and 18 percent deal with business e-mails and messages while in the bathroom. Before you let the stresses of running a business get to you, take a look at these tips that may take some of the weight off of your burdened shoulders:
- Get moving – Exercise plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. It can help to relax muscle tension and improve sleep. When stress is at its peak, get up and move. Talk a walk around the parking lot or do some stretches at your desk. Away from work, yoga, Tai Chi and martial arts are excellent stress-busters.
- Time management – Using your time efficiently will reduce stress. Set daily objectives and prioritize them. Concentrate on what is important to you and set aside the less important issues.
- Take a deep breath – A common response to stress is shallow breathing. Breathing shallowly deprives the body of adequate oxygen and prevents us from thinking clearly and functioning properly. The next time you feel stress, take five or six long, deep breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth - and your body will respond with reduced muscle tension, lower blood pressure and slower heart rate.
- Find a hobby – When your job has built up to be too much for you to handle, find something you enjoy doing that you can use to relax and release the tension. A hobby will allow you to spend some quiet time to yourself in calm surroundings.
- Laugh – You’ve always heard laughter is the best medicine, now you have proof. Laughter reduces stress by releasing endorphins into your body that lower your blood pressure, stimulate your brain, release tight muscles, change your emotional outlook and thinking and increase your oxygen intake.
- Know your trigger points and hot spots – Sit down and make a very specific list of stress trigger points and hot spots for you. Do you get nervous when you drink too much coffee or do you get nervous when you have to speak to a certain group of people? Figure out how you can change these things so they are not a problem for you anymore.
- Reduce chemical stress – Certain chemicals like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and sugar can raise energy short term, but can make things worse in the long run. Try to limit their use during the day and especially before you go to bed.
- Consider environmental changes – Things like noise, bad lighting and poor air quality can increase stress. Open windows if possible and use plants or humidifiers to provide moisture. Make sure work areas are well-lit and find a quiet place to work or use headphones with relaxing music.
- Keep a journal at your desk – This will allow you to jot down appointments, meetings and deadlines for work assignments. Knowing what is expected of you will allow you to plan more properly and stay more organized.
- Take care of your health – Try to get at least eight hours of good sleep every night. Also, be sure to eat three balanced meals each day in order to provide your body with the essential nutrients for living a healthy life.
- Avoid office gossip – Engaging in office gossip will not only waste your time resulting in more pending workload, but it will also cause more stress. Gossiping about other people, particularly your officemates, can get you into a lot of trouble and being in the middle of office fireworks will certainly cause additional stress.
- Talk it out – You need to remember that you’re not alone. Talking to family or friends helps you to vent and they may be able to help you come up with a new solution to the problem that is causing you so much stress.
- Improve your attitude – A negative attitude can have a negative impact on accomplishing your goals. Keeping a positive outlook can give you the energy and momentum that you need to get through the work day.
- Create a de-stressing toolbox for your desk – Include items that can help you’re your mind and alleviate stress like a favorite CD, picture, quote or poem.
- Put things in perspective – Really think about how important whatever is stressing you will be in a week, a month, or even a year from now.
Stress at work in inevitable, especially for an entrepreneur. However if you follow these tips or find another one that works for you; you can lessen the amount of stress at work and may even improve your health.