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Twelve Stress-Busting Tips for Small-Business Owners
By Victoria Munro          

Owning and running a business can be stressful – after all, the buck stops with you. If you’ve come from the corporate world of regular paychecks and support systems to help you get your job done, the challenges of entrepreneurship can be doubly stressful.

When ignored over time, stress can take a serious toll on your physical health, your ability to concentrate and your relationships, and it can ultimately lead to burnout. If you’re to be successful in the long run, you must take care of yourself and learn to handle stress in a healthy way.

It can be helpful to discover what triggers stress for you, then take a look inside and find out where each stressor came from. Ask yourself, “Where and when did this start?” Identifying and being aware of what causes our stress is sometimes all we need to stop continually falling into the same traps. Unrealistic scheduling of tasks – setting impractical time frames for the completion of projects – usually results in stress. Over-commitment is another stressor that easily creeps in, especially for new entrepreneurs desiring to please everyone. Perfectionism and procrastination, unhealthy patterns of relating to others, even the feeling of isolation often experienced by entrepreneurs running their companies alone, can all be stressful.

12 Simple Stress-Busting Tips:

1. Spend time reflecting on your life – look at the big picture. (When stressed, we tend to develop tunnel vision.)
2. Exercise regularly – it relieves tension. Asking a friend to exercise with you will provide accountability and make it more fun.
3. Talk difficult issues over with a trusted friend or board of advisors.
4. Journal – write down all your concerns and how you feel about them, then throw the paper away and let it go.
5. Take time out to meditate, pray or go for a walk and observe nature – the trees and flowers, listen to the birds, watch the ever-changing cloud formations. Spend time with people, get to know them and develop deeper relationships.
6. Get adequate sleep and rest at night
7. Plan time for fun – laughter is good medicine. Taking time out to relax and play shouldn’t be considered a luxury.
8. If you face a stressful situation that is beyond your control, put it in perspective by asking yourself how it will feel and what impact it will have on you five years, or even six months, from now.
9. Focus on what is positive and see the glass as half full. Turn your attention to things that have gone well and praise yourself.
10. View stressful situations, large and small, as opportunities to learn. Stop, step back and think about ways you could benefit from them. Velcro® and Post-It® notes were invented as solutions to frustrating problems.
11. Take five-minute vacations. Stop work for five minutes, relax, breathe deeply and think about something fun and pleasant. This can refresh your mind and you’ll return to the project with new clarity.
12. When you’ve completed a stressful task, reward yourself with something you enjoy.

Stress is generally a reaction to events, and we may have a choice of how we respond. List the things that cause you stress and ask yourself if eliminating, or at least minimizing, each of these stressors is even within your control. If it is, then brainstorm and write down possible solutions, making note of how you’ll handle them differently in the future. If the stressor is beyond your control – you just can’t do anything about it – remind yourself that getting upset over it is a waste of your energy and let it go. Take action that will lead to peace of mind.

About the Author: Victoria Munro is co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly® LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for small-business owners through creatively designed programs and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different businesses. To receive FREE business success articles with tips to help you with your business, sign up for their award-winning ezine, “In-Flight Refueling,” at:, and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics & Tips.

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