armor protection - how to protect from stress as a business owner

As a small to medium-sized business owner, you wear many hats! Some of them may be a perfect fit; others not so much. So how do you balance all of these demands? Here are some common stressors you may be facing and some stress hacks to help you address them head on:

1. Trying to do it all day in and day out

So you can’t “do it all” in a 24 hour day, and adding more hours is not an option. What can you do? The first step to solving this one is to recognize that it would be nearly impossible to do everything on a daily basis.

Hack: Think about the big picture, including your business, your health, and outside relationships with family and friends. Next, create a schedule that allocates time to all of these. Try not to check work emails or voicemails when you are not working. After all, if you neglect things like sleep, exercise, and family, it will eventually negatively impact your overall productivity and performance at work.  Once you set up a schedule and clear boundaries, post it where it is very visible and make sure you stick to it.

2. Feeling a loss of control

As a business owner, it is easy to think you should control every aspect and outcome of your business. But there are a number of external factors that are out of your control—clients, manufacturers, outside business partners, and other key players. Ultimately, you can build strong relationships and influence outcomes, but you can’t guarantee results.

Hack: Recognizing this is key. By understanding that at times you will have to roll with the punches and make the best of situations that are not always ideal, you can continue to move forward with a positive attitude. This will help you make the most of any circumstance you encounter.

3. Experiencing feelings of isolation

It’s lonely at the top, and being the key decision maker and owner can make you feel very isolated and left out. This is compounded by high stress, long hours, and limited contact with friends and family. And it may be true that many people cannot relate to your position.

Hack: It can be beneficial from both a business and a personal standpoint to join your local chamber of commerce or other association of small business owners. Not only can you make business connections but you can also bounce ideas and concerns off others who are facing similar challenges. As for your personal relationships, set clear-cut boundaries to your workday/week so that you can spend quality time with your friends and family.

4.  Reacting too quickly

As a small business owner, your decisions directly affect everyone who works with you. For this reason it’s important to step back and take emotion out of the equation before reacting to decisions.

Hack: Ask yourself the following questions: “How will this affect my business in the long run?”, “What are all of the options for actions I can take?”, and “Can I support my decision with professional action?” If it isn’t an emergency (and it usually isn’t), sleep on it. That will make the decision a less stressful one and will help you look at things more objectively.

5. Carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders

As a business owner, it probably feels at times like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Being constantly stressed out is bad for you physically and mentally. Do you have healthy strategies to relieve stress?

Hack: There are many effective ways to reduce stress—and different things work for different people. Find something that you enjoy, such as working out or painting, and work it into your regular schedule. For some helpful techniques to help you alleviate stress, check out our post on stress management.

Being a business owner is hard work, but it can also be incredibly rewarding! By tackling your common stressors head on, you can be a more productive business person and make time for the people and things that you love. Hopefully these stress hacks provide you with ideas on how to get started.

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*image courtesy of Miles

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