3 Practical Ways for Business Owners to Cope with Stress | Guest Post by Julie Morris
Small business owners often face debilitating levels of stress. Whether due to cash flow challenges, lack of time, or the unpredictable nature of the job, stress takes a huge hit on productivity. Many studies have also revealed that stress reduces your decision-making and creative abilities. Not only that, but experiencing chronic stress puts you at risk of developing mental and physical problems in the long run, including heart disease, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. Here are some quick tips to help you alleviate stress in your professional life so you can reach your business goals in good health.
1. Design a Home Office and Find Discounts
Without a doubt, money is one of the greatest sources of stress for entrepreneurs. Fortunately, you may be able to ease your financial worries by cutting back on overhead costs. For example, you can save a lot of money by swapping out a leased office space for a quiet corner of your own home. If you go this route, try to design your home office away from main living areas and potential sources of distraction. Choosing a place in the attic, basement, spare bedroom, or the garage will help you separate your home and work life more easily. Importantly, make sure your office space is comfortable. A quality desk chair, adequate natural lighting, and good ventilation will help you stay energized and motivated throughout the day. If you really want to go all out, you can hire professional to build a desk, shelves, and cord organizer. In Berkeley, you can expect to pay between $208 and $594 for these services.
Another great way to reduce your overhead business expenses is to check for alternate sources for your supplies. Try shopping around, obtaining price lists from different suppliers and opting for used equipment when possible. It doesn’t hurt to ask your supplier for discounts as well. Mention that you’ll pay your bills early or place larger orders if they can shave a bit of money off the price. If it’s advertising that’s eating up your budget, get on social media platforms—like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—where you can promote your business for free.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate
When you spend years growing your own business from nothing, it’s hard to hand over responsibilities to someone else. Eventually, you'll have to delegate your less-important tasks (or those you're not that good at) to someone else. This could mean hiring someone to help with social media marketing, bookkeeping (an experienced bookkeeper can cost $30 - $40 an hour), customer service, or simply to keep track of your schedule for you. Although this means giving up some control, it also means you'll have more time to focus on implementing new ideas and exploring new revenue streams.
Save money on staffing costs by looking for qualified contractors and independent professionals who can work for you remotely. You can also take advantage of software to automate business tasks like invoicing, project management, and time tracking.
3. Manage Stress in Positive Ways
There are many other sources of stress that cannot be dealt with so easily, such as uncertainty and high self-expectations. According to Forbes, many entrepreneurs have found relief by carving out time for healthy eating and regular exercise. Prioritizing sleep is also important, since sleep deprivation can both worsen the body’s stress response and reduce our ability to work efficiently.
Try to develop some healthy coping mechanisms so you can react more positively to stressors faced throughout the day. For example, taking just 5 minutes to sit quietly and breathe deeply can quickly reduce your body's fight or flight response. Alternatively, getting outside for a brisk walk in nature can help restore your energy when you start to feel brain fog. Greatist also recommends staving off stress by keeping a gratitude journal, practicing mindfulness meditation, and scheduling plenty of time for your personal relationships
Don’t put your professional success over your own well-being. Taking care of yourself is the best thing that you can do for your business, so make sure it’s a priority. Although it can be extremely difficult to step away from your work or give someone else control, you have to do what is necessary to support your health. With a clear mind and healthy levels of motivation, you’ll be able to achieve your professional goals with less resistance and greater enthusiasm.
About the Author
Julie Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences.