Self-Care for Entrepreneurs: Lower Your Stress Levels Faster Than You Can Say...

stress less

“Wow! My stress levels are so much lower!”

No matter how much you love your biz, some things are unavoidable: taxes, inexplicably losing 1/6th of your socks in the dryer, and the waves of stress that strike at a moment’s notice.

In fact, the more you love what you do, the more stress can build up. You want to do a good job, to level up, and to leave your clients head over heels in love with you—which means even the most seasoned entrepreneur can find their proverbial (and physical) blood pressure on the rise.

But while stress is inevitable, it never (ever) needs to take over your life. Follow these five tips and maybe find your shoulders unknotting, your zen returning, and your motivation getting supercharged.

1 | Make a list first. Literally always.

For the small business owner, to-dos stack up so fast it’s almost funny. Almost. Even when they feel endless and overwhelming, getting back in control starts with jotting down everything on a list. It’s all about taking the racing thoughts on the inside, and externalizing them on the outside.

This is helpful for a few reasons:

  • Once the tasks are outside your brain, it may make space for you to finally think about something else. Say, for instance, which book you want to read next, or you can even lay on your floor and listen to music, like

  • The tasks and stressors may stop being this tornado of abstract things to do, and start being concrete goals that you can accomplish (instead of just constantly worrying about).

  • Seeing all your to-dos listed out, it may be so much easier to prioritize where your focus needs to go first. After awhile, you might be able to tell which tasks consistently get pushed to the bottom of your list. Those are the items on your list that you’ll want to look at cutting completely, or outsourcing to someone like a virtual assistant. (More on this later.)

Even for the big tasks that feel especially anxiety-inducing, getting them on paper may grant you the ability to find solutions for the trickiest-seeming situations. Whether you’re an old-school, pen-and-paper-person, or someone who works best with a great task management app, let lists lift the weight off your shoulders.

2 | Schedule in regular breaks like HR is watching.

Ah, breaks. You know they’re necessary, and yet somehow you’re still hitting the end of a workday and realizing that you haven’t looked up from your screen more than once. (Even then, it was to run to the bathroom between calls.)

Have you ever seen one of those late ‘90s HR training videos? They advise you to regularly stand up, stretch it out, look away from your computer screen, and let your mind rest between intervals of focus.

The lighting in those old videos might not be great (to say the least), but they make some good points.

For example, stretching and moving your body for a few minutes may increase circulation, boost creativity, and kick focus into high gear. It’s not only good for your relaxation goals, but your business goals, too.

One of the surefire ways to experiment with breaks is by . (It’ll take about 2 minutes to update them down the line, so don’t worry about perfecting them the first time. It’s simple to make them adapt to your preferences as you figure out what those preferences are.)

But letting your clients know about your scheduled time off is only half the battle. It’s all too easy to get sucked into an endless array of emails, and suddenly lose roughly 17 years out of your day. 

To hold yourself accountable to the much-needed breaks, play around with a timer on your phone or computer. The routine reminders may help you know when to take a step back and breathe. The goal is to hit your desk chair feeling refreshed and good to go. And maybe humming your favorite tune. 

3 | Identify your least productive time & block it off.

That’s right—your least productive, not your most productive. 

For some, it’s the post-lunch slump. Or maybe you’re not a morning person. Perhaps it’s that last half hour at the end of the day that’s always a struggle. 

Whenever it is, don’t force yourself to attempt high-level tasks when you’re feeling like a bowl of lukewarm porridge. You’ll want to save things like client strategy, creative work (like copywriting or graphic design), and client sessions for when you’re sharpest throughout the day.

During your brain’s resting period, batch some tasks that feel easy to you. That might mean categorizing expenses for the week, or dusting your desk area. There’s not a wrong choice when it comes to what actually reduces your stress.

Once you have an idea, make sure and This safeguards against clients booking while you’re giving your brain a bit of a (well-deserved) break. No one is at peak performance 24/7. When you make planned allowances for that, you’ll be surprised by how efficient you actually become.

4 | Enjoy the finer things in life.

This does not include investing in a decent chair if your work is desk-based, only because you should be doing that anyway. (Trust our bad backs that learned too late. It’s worth it.)

All desk chair humor rolled aside, it really is the little things that make a difference, particularly during a hectic work week. Think: a fancy mug to drink your fifth cup of coffee from, some healthy but delicious snacks, a small tube of expensive hand cream, or a quick spritz of facial mist if the AC is drying out your skin.

Heck, go all out and put a foot spa under your desk if you want. The important thing is to make your workspace somewhere that makes you feel great. Sneaky perk: When you feel really good, you’ll do really good work, too.

5 | Outsource your stress away.

You don’t have to do everything. In fact, as your business grows, maybe you shouldn’t be doing everything. The more time you free up by outsourcing the bits that aren’t your expertise, the more time you can spend doing what you want to be known for.

Asking for help can be hard, but it’s a heck of a lot easier when you have someone whose literal job it is—such as financial planners like Tuesday P. Brooks or copywriters like Errol De Jesus.

Ready for a little help with your schedule? Check out our Acuity Certified Experts. They’re independent contractors who exist to make your scheduling automation even easier. They should probably patent a term called the Take Things Off Your Plate Process, since that’s what they’re best at.

Work is important. But your mental health is priceless. 

When you don’t let anything come before your wellbeing, your business reaps the benefits in the background. Although, that’s not what’s most important here.

You are.

And you got into entrepreneurship for more flexibility, freedom, and cashflow. Even though times of stress are normal, they don’t have to be your status quo. If you’re feeling cranky, tense, and fuzzy, chances are it’s time to step back and breeeeeeeathe.

From the crew here at Acuity: You deserve to finally decompress. 

self-care, independent business owners, remote work, small business strategy, small business automation