Beating Burnout: Stress Management for Business Owners

Last update on Mar, 24, 2021

In any work environment, some level of stress is to be expected. But at a certain point that stress can become a serious, debilitating issue. Excessive work-related stress can occur for a number of reasons: an influx of business, work spilling into home, concerns about job security, issues with a colleague, etc.

Whatever the cause, it’s critical that you manage your stress before it affects your health and wellbeing. 

Dangers of work-related stress

Prolonged, acute stress has been associated with reduction in mental and physical health, including the following conditions:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Loss of memory
  • Inability to sleep
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Susceptibility to illness

Additionally, extreme pressure results in burnout, which can lead to a dip in job performance, cynicism in relation to your job, and loss of motivation. 

Tips for mitigating stress

The worse stress becomes, the harder it is to alleviate. Stop work pressure before it runs into other areas of your life. 

Plan and prioritize

Going into your day blindly will only lead to chaos. First thing in the morning, look at the day’s schedule and create a to-do list, planning in terms of priorities. Ask yourself what tasks are more timely or important and what tasks will require more time and brainpower. Get those responsibilities done right away or at the time you feel most productive. Saving bigger, more time-consuming jobs for the end of the day can leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

Delegate

There’s no reason you need to take on everything yourself. After all, you’ve taken the time and care to hire reliable employees that will support your business operations. Pass tasks along to others in the office when you can. Organizing patient files, contacting patients for appointment reminders, billing, and other administrative responsibilities can be shared across your team so no single person is bogged down.

If your budget allows, you can also outsource certain work, like cleaning or accounting, to third parties. Having certain work taken off your plate may be worth the added financial cost.  

Create a relaxing environment

You know the saying, “a cluttered space is a cluttered mind.” Stacks of paper, food wrappers and empty coffee cups, a full trash can, and other items scattered across your desk and/or office will only add to your stress. Take a few minutes out of each day to reorganize and clean up your space to create an environment conducive to concentration. 

Choose tools wisely

Over time you may decide to implement new systems meant for automating certain processes and improving operational efficiency. Some of these programs will live up to their promise and save time, while others will take more time and energy on your part than they’re worth. Since the cost of most software solutions can run in the thousands of dollars or more, do your due diligence while vetting them to ensure you get the return on your investment.

Take breaks

You might think working nonstop will make you more productive – and it could, in the short term – but in the end you will hit a wall. Physical and mental exhaustion are productivity killers, and you will find yourself struck by a serious case of burnout. Whether it’s a 30-minute lunch break or an afternoon walk outside, block out some time on your calendar each day that allows you to step away and recharge. 

Connect with others

Although maintaining relationships may feel like just one other thing to do on your list, it’s important to turn to those close to you when you’re experiencing stress. Whether it’s a phone call to a friend or family member or coffee with a business mentor or industry peer, stay connected and keep your relationships a top priority.

Practice self-care

Many times, extreme stress prevents people from taking care of themselves as they normally would.  Like taking breaks, it may seem counterproductive, but finding time away from work to do things you enjoy can be an attitude changer that restores energy and reinvigorates you to get back to work. Follow other self-care behaviors like getting enough sleep, being mindful of caffeine intake, and eating well.

Focus on what’s going right

Instead of spinning your brain thinking about the downside of things, shift your attention to the good. Write out your successes and put the list where you can see it as a daily reminder. Not only does keeping your mind on the bright side have positive effects, but you’ll also likely find that more is going well than isn’t!

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