* 5 Stress-Reduction Strategies for Business Owners & Entrepreneurs
According to the 2016 State of Women-owned Business Report, as of 2016, it is estimated that there are now 11.3 million (11,313,900) women-owned businesses in the United States. Women are now the majority owners of 38% of the country’s businesses, up from 29% in 2007. These are exciting statistics!
As women continue to gain a share of the business world, lifestyle management has become a concern. Fortunately, strategies for balanced living are becoming available.
In this article, guest writer Gloria Martinez, founder of Womenled.org. offers valuable wisdom to business owners, entrepeneurs and every woman who works hard at their jobs. Her sage advice can help you to reduce stress, increase productivity and become healthier overall.
5 Stress-Reduction Strategies for Business Owners & Entrepreneurs
Being a business owner or entrepeneur is inherently stressful. You’re likely already Type-A, overworked, and prone to keeping overly busy. Prioritizing stress reduction is key to ongoing success: if you’re unable to take care of yourself, the success of your business is at risk.
The trick to finding the right stress reduction approach for you is to experiment and practice. After all, when you know that over 90 percent of startups fail, that’s an extra big stressor on top of everything else.
Here are a few stress-reducing tactics to try and how to gauge if they work:
1. Earmark the first few minutes of the day just for you. Depending on your schedule, it might be five minutes or up to an hour. Regardless, avoid diving right into work and any screens—this includes your phone. Choose rituals and habits that get your morning started in a healthy, aware manner. Try warm lemon water immediately upon waking, which is a natural energy booster and oral hygiene trick. Indulge in a shower, get in your home lifting session, or treat yourself to your favorite news station while preparing a healthy breakfast. The first few moments upon waking are the easiest to make your own.
2. Use working out as an energy booster. Have you ever been so tired after a morning full of meetings that the last thing you want to do is go to the gym for a 30-minute cardio session—but when you make yourself do it, you feel fabulous? Increasing your heart rate does more than optimize your physical fitness. It energizes you, makes you happier, and can set you up for a successful afternoon. It can also reduce your caffeine dependency. Exercise is the natural stress reducer.
3. Try “legs up the wall” before bed. An inversion, where your heart is above your head, can help you get to sleep faster and sleep more soundly. Stress and poor sleep are strongly related, and having a relaxing bedtime ritual can help tell your body and mind that it’s time for bed. A legs up the wall inversion encourages sleepiness and gives your body that reverse blood flow it rarely enjoys.
4. Practice full breathing. The majority of people don’t breathe fully, opting for shallow breaths instead. This weakens the lungs as well as the accessory breathing muscles (such as the scalenes) that we use with full breaths. Practice two-part breathing with equal counts inhaling and exhaling, completely filling and emptying the lungs each time. You can practice this anywhere, any time, and eventually it will become habit. Breath control can be a natural stress reducer while giving you the amount of oxygen you need to stay focused.
5. Schedule mini breaks. Business owners are unlikely to remember to get up and walk around or stretch every hour, but it’s crucial for holistic health. You schedule appointments for everything else, so set pop-ups to remind yourself to get up and move. Just five minutes every hour, whether it’s a walk around the block or Pilates in your office, can help minimize stress and re-focus your attention.
Stress and depression have been linked to a myriad of diseases and illnesses, even addiction. It’s crucial to take the issue seriously. Falling ill, allowing your mental health to plummet, or not being your best self every day is a risk no business owner can take. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so take care of yourself first. If you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before you’re ill, not doing your best work, and your business, employees, and customers will suffer. It feels counterintuitive for many business owners to put themselves first, but it’s a habit and line of thought that can be learned.
Gloria created Womenled.org to spotlight women’s achievements. She loves sharing her business expertise and hopes to inspire other women to start their own businesses.