Entrepreneurs are notorious overachievers. They’re accustomed to pushing forward without a playbook, yet the exhilaration of starting and managing your own business also comes with a heavy price – stress. That’s because small business owners tend to work long hours, with little separation between work and play.
If that sounds all too familiar, read on to learn several everyday tips to combat the stress of entrepreneurial life:
1. Don’t link happiness to the results. Running a business, no matter the size, is one big rollercoaster ride. There will be highs, for example, your first customer, a big sale, the launch of your website, or a fantastic customer review. But inevitably, there will also be lows. As much as possible, you need to separate your emotional responses from this entrepreneurial rollercoaster. You’ll be miserable if you feel personally rejected every time you lose a sale, an employee quits, or a lender denies your application.
Remember that the low points are just a natural part of the process. Be grateful that you have the opportunity to follow your passion and remain proud of your ability to create your own path. Enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
2. Exercise. I know firsthand how hectic an entrepreneur’s daily schedule can be, yet no matter how busy you are it’s critical that you make time for exercise. A good workout helps release stress, as physical activity encourages your body pump out more of those feel-good neurotransmitters. Exercise will help keep your mood elevated even when things at work get really tough.
Choose whatever type of exercise you like the best, whether it’s yoga, swimming, walking, etc. Doing something you love is the best way to ensure you’ll keep it up and reap the benefits.
3. Help others. There’s a famous Chinese proverb that says, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a month, get married. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody else.”
Countless studies have shown that people who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness. I think it’s important for entrepreneurs to volunteer their talents. For example, if you’re a marketing consultant, offer to teach some marketing classes at your local community center. You’ll not only get a boost from helping others, but you’ll be reminded why you went into your field of business in the first place.
4. Take charge of your schedule. Most entrepreneurs feel pulled in countless different directions. Often, you’re trading in one boss at the office for 30 new bosses in the form of customers and clients. When too many projects and people are vying for your time, it’s easy to become tense and grouchy.
To prevent this from happening, you’ve got to take charge of your schedule. Analyze each task on your to-do list and decide which ones are busy work and which will be help propel your business forward. Typically, you’ll want to focus on revenue-generating activities and keeping your customers happy; everything else can wait.
5. Prepare and plan. Sitting in a lotus position or taking a short walk outside can have a positive effect on your mood and stress levels. However, running your own business has some inherent risks that need to be realistically considered. Make the necessary preparations to minimize the downside of these risks. For example, you can structure your business in such a way to minimize your personal liability and protect your personal savings. You can build up your emergency fund and choose to run a lean business until your sales start ramping up. No matter your personal situation, you should always manage risk intelligently.
The road to reaching zen as an entrepreneur is different for everyone.
What do you do to keep calm while starting or running your own business?
Editor’s Note: This was originally written by Nellie Akalp and published on GalTime.