There are some things in life that are just impossible, and avoiding stress as a small business owner is foremost among them. And while you’ve probably read a few articles on the art of relaxation, most of the tips they give seem to involve lighting candles that make your office smell like curry or eating pureed kelp.
Assuming kelp won’t fly for you, and you think it would just look a little weird to if your employees walked by and saw you twisted up like a pretzel meditating on the meaning of the soft hum of your computer fan, here are 7 more-practical, very-doable ways you can de-stress while running your business.
Create a Flexible Schedule
You remember that time you were sitting at your desk at 4pm on a Friday, killing time looking up “#happyhour,” seeing all the fun those jerks with Summer Fridays were having, and thinking “That’s it! I’m going to start my own business so I can work when I want!” Yeah, about that. Remember that you ARE the boss now, and even though work needs to be done, it doesn’t necessarily all have to be done from 8-6. Or 8-8. Ok, 8-10. The point is, you can work when you want, so make time for things you enjoy during the day to break up the stress of work.
Laugh at something
Even if it involves waiting next to a patch of black ice, not warning anyone, and watching them slip uncontrollably right in front of you, find something that is guaranteed to make you laugh and indulge in it. If physical harm and possible debilitating injury at other peoples’ expense isn’t so much your thing, watch some YouTube videos of cats batting at string. Or babies dancing to “Turn Down for What.” Just make sure it’s funny, and your stress will melt away. Unlike that ice.
Lay off caffeine
Yes, there are days when you think it’d just be more efficient to set up a Red Bull drip in your office than keep making that walk to 7-11 or Starbucks. But that stuff that keeps you going all day? That’s what’s keeping you up at night, and making you The Grinch Who Stole Staff Appreciation Day today. Those chemicals aren’t exactly being touted by Deepak Chopra either. The first couple days you may be tired, but ultimately it will relax you more.
Get some alone time
A very wise French guy once said “Hell is other people.” And though some allege he was some kind of French philosopher, we have to guess he was a small business owner. Not that you don’t love your family, employees, customers, venders, salespeople, electricians and overseas cable company customer service people, but after a while you just need to make them all go away if you’re going to relax. Be assertive, tell everyone when your door is closed to kindly leave you alone, then take half an hour and enjoy the greatest hits of Kenny G.
Go talk to other small business owners
You might think to yourself “What does that guy next door selling discount phone cards and $7 bags of potato chips have to tell me about business?” Absolutely nothing. And that’s the point. Discussing business with your neighboring businesses doesn’t always have to be about networking or sharing tips. It can just be a way of getting to know who’s around you and making small talk about something you have in common. And hey, play your cards right, it might net you like 800 free minutes of calling time to China.
Meet while you exercise
Even if you swing a golf club worse than Jack Nicholson when he’s cut off in traffic, that doesn’t excuse you from taking business meetings in recreational situations. Getting out in the fresh air – even doing something as simple as walking - will let you get work done while you exercise. And if the person you’re meeting with isn’t so keen on the whole talking-and-breathing thing, offer to meet them at their office and walk.
Make somebody else laugh
If you’re a funny person, taking the time to get some laughs out of someone else will not only relieve your stress, but theirs as well. If you’re not a funny person, well, there’s always that patch of black ice.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net