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Are you a small business owner? Then it’s likely that you’re running it by yourself or with a very small team, some of whom may be family members – making it difficult to leave work-time niggles behind and smile at them over the dinner table!

If you’ve followed our advice on Stress Avoidance for Small Business Owners but you’re still feeling stressed, then here are our stress-relieving tips on how to relieve it:

Make Time for Fun, Family And Friends

Running your own business can seem all-encompassing, and at the beginning, it will probably suck up a lot of your time. But it can’t continue to forever. Make time to do the things you love with the people you love. Plan regular treats and outings, even if it’s just a trip to the cinema and a hotdog.

If you work with family members, agree to leave work problems behind once your ‘office hours’ are over, and/or have ‘no work-talk’ zones (the lounge and dining room are obvious candidates, but you may want to include the kitchen. You probably own some quite sharp, large knives…).

To keep your sanity and the support of the people you care about, you have to make time for them – and yourself.

Make Time for Yourself

Yes, we’ve told you to have fun, and we’re about to tell you to take breaks too. But time for yourself doesn’t have to always be about doing, and nor should it be. Take time just to sit and ponder occasionally, or have a long luxurious bath. Sometimes, not doing much at all is what we need. It gives our mind some quiet time to reorganise all that information we’re constantly bombarding it with. Think of it as the mental equivalent of defragging your computer.

Change the Scenery

Go out for lunch on a workday, or even better, arrange to meet a friend for lunch. Even eating a sandwich on a park bench is better than remaining cooped up in your work environment, and the fresh air (plus, if you’re lucky, a burst of Vitamin D-boosting sunshine) will do you the world of good. If you can’t afford the time or money to book a proper holiday, book a weekend away. It needn’t cost a fortune; stay with a friend or at a budget hotel and explore new places (or revisit old ones).

Look After Your Mental and Physical Health

This means getting enough sleep, avoiding prolonged periods of sitting, getting some form of regular exercise – even if it’s just a 15 minute walk two or three times a week – and eating sensibly. Exercise is a great stress reliever, and a lack of sleep can affect our hormone levels, increasing our appetite and making us more prone to depression.

If you find it hard to relax or rid yourself of anxiety, try some relaxation techniques – there are plenty of books, CDs and DVDs out there to help. You may also find assertiveness training or CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) helpful. Assertiveness training can help to make you more mentally and physically confident, while CBT teaches you to be aware of your reactions and thought-patterns, helping you avoid letting your thoughts enter a downward spiral. Yoga and meditation can be powerful tools for improving physical and mental health too.

Do a Life Review

Take time to stop and review how your life is going every so often. What could you do to make life less stressful? Is there are end in sight, or have you taken on too much?

Ask yourself what’s important to you and be honest with yourself about any damage that stress may be causing to your business, health or relationships. Sometimes the only way to relieve stress is to remove the causes.

It’s easy to put your own needs and wellbeing at the bottom of your to-do list, but you will be a better partner, parent, friend and employer if you’re less stressed. So move yourself up that list and look after yourself!


About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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