Let’s face it, running a small business can be stressful. One minute, you’re calling a supplier who is late on his order. And the next, you’re working late because an employee called in sick, again. So, how do you keep stress in check and maintain balance in your life?
Consider these three techniques to better manage your stress:
Technology is a great thing. Smartphones and tablets give us 24-7 access to people and information. But that means other people have 24-7 access to you, too. Designate tech-free times when you power down your devices. Let it go to voicemail, don’t check emails, turn off the sound for text messages. It might be during the evening meal with the family, after 9:00 in the evening, or the hour just after lunch. Having a tech break can mean you’ll be more productive when you’re back on the grid.
Some call laughter “inner jogging.” In fact, studies report that laughter can affect muscle tension, cardio-respiratory functioning and various stress physiology measures.1 So make it part of your routine to find humor in everyday life. It can be a simple as a Joke-of-the-Day calendar or listening to a podcast featuring comedic content.
Part of managing stress is recognizing the signs early before they escalate. While the signs differ, many people notice symptoms like: muscle tension, faster breathing, fatigue, stomach problems, overeating, and irritability. When you experience one of these, redirect it with a different activity. Get up and stretch, take three deep breaths or talk to a friend. You may not be able to change the cause of the stress, but you can change how you react to it.
The key to managing stress is to develop healthy habits. The goal isn’t to eliminate stress but to achieve a better balance. For more ideas, check out the information on stress from the Center for Disease Control.
1 “Humor and Laughter May Influence Health: III. Laughter and Health Outcomes,” as cited by National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2013 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.