Updated: Jan 27
We've all been there... You wake up in the morning strategizing your day, skip that lunch you were going to make yourself eat, followed up by late dinner, and finally some rest, only to dream of work. Then you wake up and repeat!
What if there was a better way? Perhaps there is. By implementing some (or all) of our key tips, you can learn to relax and in turn build your business to new heights thanks to increased productivity.
First, hold the eye-rolls until you try these tips! I know, I know, some of these seem trite or even silly, but I can assure you that if you take a moment of your busy day to use even just some of them you'll come away both, happier and more successful!
“Honestly, I didn't buy into ANY of this when I first tried it for my own business. Boy, was I wrong! All of these helped in some way." - Ashlyn
Take each one of these individually; try just one for a day and then come back and try another. Over time, you'll find which ones benefit you in their own ways for your mind and body:
1. Take a moment, or three, to breathe
Breathe in... Breathe out... Inhale... Exhale... That's literally all it takes. Don't believe me? Take a moment and go back to that line; except this time when you read it, do it.
"I like to start off my day with a few breaths. Not only do I snag a free moment, but I come away feeling refreshed and able to tackle the issues of the day!" - Stephanie
Feel a bit better? It's simple, but effective. That process of breathing consciously forces us to task our brain with a function that is otherwise natural and autonomous. This in turn forces us to stop thinking about the stresses on our mind. If you're not one for spiritual, the physiological process also brings an influx of oxygen that your body uses to process that stressful thought with more ease.
2. Trust in your team
If you're like any other small business owner, you view your business as your 'baby' - something to be protected, and something sacred. This thought process drives us stress on every cog within the machine that is your business.
You may be the ultimate skilled employee at every role within your business, but you still cannot do it all, all the time. As soon as you start dividing yourself, your business suffers.
You hired your team, after careful vetting, to perform functions within your business so that you could focus on growth. Trust them!
Take that weight of your instinct to micromanage off your shoulders. There may be letdowns along the way, but I can assure you that the benefit to your productivity and your team's morale will far outweigh those setbacks.
3. Practice Gratitude
We all have a tendency to focus on the negative, especially during a stressful season in our lives. It's important to take a step back and realize all the great things you have going on in your life and in your business.
Usually things get stressful when orders are backed up, phones are ringing off the hook, there aren't enough hours in the day - let's remember, these are GOOD problems to have as a small business. It means you're killing it!
Take a moment out of your day - I find doing thing either right before I go to sleep or first thing in the morning is most helpful - and write down items you are especially grateful for.
4. Make a List and Prioritize
Sometimes, it's helpful to visually see everything we have to accomplish. As we rush through the day, we tend to rack up more and more tasks and losing focus on what's important.
As small business owners, it's always "up to us" to solve problems. We get distracted and pulled away from big tasks that really matter. Once you've purged your mental to do list, start sorting these tasks from most important to least important.
As Mark Twain famously stated,
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Tackling the most important thing on your to do list will leave you energized and feeling like you can do anything! It's also just as important to sprinkle in some easy wins, so you keep that momentum going.
5. Get Moving
Yep, just stand up and move those muscles! Depending on what type of business you're running, it could mean spending hours in front of a computer, which can be straining on your neck, back, and even eyes.
Take a break from the screen and do some simple movements to get the blood flowing again. Implement this routine with your breathing and you're on your way to finding some bliss in the midst of the chaos.
6. Experience Nature
Sometimes we just need to walk away from all the hustle and bustle - the clicks, the typing, the editing, the pages upon pages of financial misery. The best place to do this is outside, in nature, remember that place?
Taking a break and going for a walk outside is an easy way to install movement, gratitude, and meditation into your workday. I know business owners that take long walks in the middle of their day, just to break away from it all. It's a great opportunity to reflect and remember why we do what we do.
7. Help Someone Else
As business owners, we tend to get caught up in our own problems, but helping others is one surefire way to take a step back and refocus our priorities.
"I find that getting out in my community and helping others is not only a good way to give back, but also allows me to refocus my own business goals." - Rochelle
There are a ton of health benefits that come from helping others and volunteerism, including reduced blood pressure and feelings of loneliness, both of these factors are linked to stress.
Meditation is the act of contemplating and reflection. Taking the time to meditate for ten minutes a day can reduce anxiety, control stress, and help achieve a greater capacity for relaxation.
If sitting still for ten minutes every day seems difficult, try just one minute and working your way up. Some of the most highly successful people start their mornings by meditating; however, if you're like me, you might fall back asleep and end up starting your day late. I like to meditate once I've completed my morning routine and have had my morning tea.
The area's you spend your time in can make a huge impact on your stress or the effectiveness of your meditation. There's a reason Yoga classes have calm colors and music! While this fantastic de-stress article focuses on the home, there's no reason it couldn't also apply to the workplace!
9. Pet Your Cat
Don't have a cat? Pet your dog or borrow someone else's! This may be the most outlandish tip, but studies have shown time and again that cats are good for your health. Check out this recent article from NBC News.
According to the studies, the purring noises your cat makes reduces blood pressure and calms nerves. If you don't want to adopt, yet, or can't - head to your nearest shelter and volunteer!
10. It's Okay to Mess Up
Lastly, don't forget that it's okay to mess up sometimes. As business owners, we tend to be hard on ourselves more than anyone else, but just know that you are doing the best that you can possibly do and that is more than enough.
If you liked these tips, shoot us a message! We love to hear feedback and maybe we'll share your tip for reducing stress on social media!
If you need help with your small business sign up for a free consultation with Out of the Box Advisors. We'll grab a coffee together - it's on us.