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April Stress Awareness Month: How to Reduce Stress as an Entrepreneur and Business Owner

19 Apr April Stress Awareness Month: How to Reduce Stress as an Entrepreneur and Business Owner

Stress is a normal part of our daily lives here in the US. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, parent, friend, son or daughter, student or all of the above, stress is something that is deeply engrained in our culture and we’re accustomed to living with every day. We stress about everything: our jobs, the economy, relationships, body image, popular culture, politics – we even stress about stress!

Well, the goods new is, the Health Resource Network has dedicated the entire month of April to learning how to manage stress. That’s right! April is National Stress Awareness Month. It’s comforting, in a sense, to know that stress is normal. Everyone experiences it – especially in the rapidly digitalized, busy world we live in. But, as you probably already suspect, small business owners tend to have it worse than then rest.

The Small Business Owner Report found that running a small business is about twice as stressful as maintaining a healthy relationship with a significant other and more than four times as stressful as managing your personal finances. It makes sense, especially considering that many small business owners and entrepreneurs make a lot of personal sacrifices, including giving up free time, hobbies, exercise and time with loved ones.

You owe it to yourself, your family and friends and your business, to take a time out this April in honor of National Stress Awareness Month. Living a high-stress life isn’t sustainable and, eventually, your relationships, mental and physical well-being and the business you’ve worked so hard to build, will suffer.

Here are some tips from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America on reducing stress:
1. Take a time-out – Step back from the stressors in your life and clear your head. Try yoga, medication, getting a massage, acupuncture or listening to music.
2. East well-balanced meals – Eat three healthy meals a day and keep energizing snacks on hand.
3. Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption – This is a great way to prevent stress since both substances have been linked to increased anxiety. Try water instead!
4. Get enough sleep – Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night.
5. Exercise daily – Exercise is a great way to prevent and reduce stress.
6. Practice deep breathing – Feeling stressed? Try inhaling and exhaling slowly.
7. Slowly count to 10 – If 10 isn’t enough, don’t stop. Try counting to 20.
8. Do your best – Everything can’t always be perfect. Just do the best you can do and take pride in that.
9. Accept that you cannot control everything – Think about your stressors. Are they really that bad? Try to gain some perspective.
10. Maintain a positive attitude – Don’t let negative thoughts overwhelm you. Try to think about the good in your life, as well.
11. Learn what triggers your anxiety – Listen to your body and find out what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school or part of your business operations? Jot down triggers in a journal and look for a pattern to find out what’s bothering you.
12. Give back to your community – Volunteering can be a great way to stay active, building a strong support system and take a time out from everyday stress.
13. Talk to someone – Open up to someone you feel comfortable with. This could be family, friends, a therapist and physician.
14. Get help online

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to reducing stress. Some people report great success with running, yoga, meditation and other forms of physical activity, while others view them as dull and boring. One thing many experts agree on, however, is that the best way to treat stress is to prevent it. This obviously isn’t foolproof, but there are definitely things you can do in your daily life to avoid potential stressors, like getting 8 hours of sleep a night, exercising regularly and eating three balanced meals per day.

Even though April is National Stress Awareness Month, stress obviously occurs year-round. Especially if you’re a business owner and entrepreneur trying to launch or expand your business, deal with staffing, budgeting and other aspects of your business strategy. Being your own boss doesn’t come with a set of instructions, and unexpected stressors and problems you can’t control are going to come up all the time.

Business Owner Stressor #1: Not Enough Time in the Day

Between sleeping 8 hours a night, working 40 to 80-hour weeks and maintaining relationships with friends and family, there just isn’t enough time in the day. Accept that you can’t do everything and learn to budget your time. Be sure to carve out enough time for eating, sleeping and exercise as these underlying factors support your overall health.

Business Owner Stressor #2: Lack of Control

Factors you cannot control are a leading cause of stress of most business owners, according to Business Knowledge Source. This is super frustrating since control is probably one of the reasons why you went into business in the first place! Beyond the obvious – like replacing flaky vendors with reliable suppliers – there isn’t much you can do about uncontrollable factors. Try to identify where surprises crop up the most (i.e. staff behavior, deliveries, weather) and put a plan in place for dealing with those situations.

Business Owner Stressor #3: Hiring Employees

Studies consistently show that employee hiring and retention are among the top stressors for small business owners. If you have a hard time finding qualified workers, consider other options. How about hiring a freelancer, part-time employees or working with a staffing agency to find the help you need?

What stresses you out the most as a small business owner and how do you cope? Post below!

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