5 ways to manage small business stress
Stress at work is an extremely common problem in the UK. According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2016/17, 12.5 million working days were lost to work-related stress, depression and anxiety. Add to this the pressures of being your own boss, and stress can be a particular problem for small business owners.
So what can be done about the stress epidemic? One of the schemes that has been put in place is Stress Awareness Month, which takes place every April. The aim of the month is to encourage people to talk about stress, share their coping strategies and take care of themselves and others.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start with managing your own stress, here are 5 of our top tips.
- Know the signs
Before you can combat stress, you have to be able to recognise that you’re suffering from it. The mental health charity Mind has a full list of symptoms on their website, but the main ones to look out for are feelings of irritability, anxiety and dread. These feelings might come out in the form of headaches, nausea, nail-biting, crying, restlessness and even panic attacks. If you think you’re suffering from stress, it’s important to address it right away.
- Take a walk
When you have a lot to do, it’s easy to feel trapped at work, but you’ll often be happier and more productive if you take a break to go for a walk. Exercise has been shown to improve mood, and even though it probably won’t take your stress away entirely, at the very least it could help to clear your head. Friday 6th April is Walk to Work Day, so why not use that as an excuse to create a healthy new habit?
- Talk about it
Running a business can be a lonely affair, especially when you feel the weight of responsibility on your shoulders, but there are networks out there that can support you. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to friends and family, or other business owners who can understand what you’re going through. Whoever you talk to, the crucial thing is to talk – even voicing your feelings can help to lessen them.
- Ask for help
Sometimes the reason you’re feeling overwhelmed is simply because you have too much to do. It’s great when business is booming, but an essential skill for a business owner is the ability to recognise your own limits and ask for help if it becomes too much. Perhaps it’s time to outsource your admin, or turn down that extra job because your calendar is already full. It can be a huge relief to admit that you can’t do everything.
- Practice self-care
When you’re stressed, don’t just try to power through – take some time to look after yourself. You know best what relaxes you, whether it’s taking a warm bath, relaxing with a book or bingeing your favourite series on Netflix. Whatever it is, set aside some time to do it, and try not to feel guilty about not working. Taking care of yourself is just as important for your business as anything else.
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