5 ways for small business owners to de-stress

Running your own business can be challenging and often a test of your patience. When workloads mount and your calendar begins to clutter, feeling stressed may can be inevitable.

The Health and Safety Executive says that stress currently affects one in five of the UK’s working population and is costing businesses more than one billion pounds annually as a result of stress-related absences and a drop in productivity.

To minimise the impact stress has on your life and career, here are five top tips to help you and your employees avoid burnout and ensure that you remain in control of your business and your health;

1. Determine the importance of your tasks

One of the most effective tasks to help you combat a healthier work-life balance is to take a look at your workload and prioritise.

Neil Shah from The Stress Management Society urges business owners to rank tasks in order of urgency and importance. By labeling each into one of the four following criterion, work that needs immediate attention or more focus will be first on the ‘to-do’ list, ultimately helping you manage time better and improving the company’s overall productivity.

Look at your work and consider which tasks falls into which category:

1. Do Now

… both urgent and important

2. Plan to Do

… important, but not urgent

3. Reject Diplomatically

… urgent, though not important

4. Resist and Cease

… neither high in urgency or importance


The top priority should always be those tasks that are both urgent and important. If a task, for example, is not important but urgently needed, deadlines could be renegotiated to ease the mind and offer space to complete others tasks first.

2. Start a culture of wellbeing

Business owners and managers have a responsibility to lead by example, meaning it is essential to have a great balance between work and life.

As a leader, your team will look up to you and often adopt similar work traits, so if you send emails to your employees at 10pm, you’re promoting bad habits. A culture of wellbeing starts at the top and needs to be filtered down to all levels.

Encourage staff to also take advantage of their lunch break, to step away from their desk and get fresh air. Taking regular breaks is not only great for staff morale and their wellbeing, but is said to improve mental acuity by 13%, which will have a positive effect on their creativity and productivity. You can find out more about the benefits of instilling a culture of wellbeing in your business in;

You can also consider incentives or employee perks such as a discounted gym membership, or after-working training programmes or active socials.

A great way to get your staff together is through charity fundraising like sponsored bike rides or fun runs.

3. Make time to socialise

When you’re busy it’s easy to work longer and longer hours, so set an alarm as a reminder to leave the office and not stay behind too late.

When you do decide to go home, leave any work-related issues at the door. Most business owners feel guilty if they are not overworking, but it’s more important to work shrewdly and not run yourself into the ground.

Give yourself plenty of time to plan in family activities or catch-ups with friends. Psychologist, Jonathan Alpert said in a recent business guide: “Those who define themselves by their careers are more prone to being impacted negatively by work stress.”

By making a point to wear other hats and indulge in healthy activities. You will be able to enjoy more aspects of life, become more balanced, and less impacted by stress.

4. Schedule in downtime

As you would add an important meeting to your calendar, it’s equally important to plan in time just for yourself in the working day.

Depending on the workload or the levels of stress you are under, anything from 10 minutes a day can help you recharge your mind, leaving you feeling relaxed and calm. In these ‘downtime’ sessions, avoid thinking of or doing work, and focus on your breathing or whitespace, which is closely linked to mindfulness.

Wellness expert, Joan Moran says being mindful, “will help you see possibilities and opportunities so you can prioritise with purpose.”

Practice observing your thoughts and anxieties without passing judgment-simply experience them. Focus on the present moment and nothing else.

5. Give your body and brain a magnesium boost with a bath

Taking a bath with products that contain high levels of magnesium can be a great way to make time for yourself and relax.

Already proven to be a useful mineral to the human body, experts have revealed that it’s great for the health of your brain, muscles, bone and hormones. More importantly, your adrenal health is directly affected by magnesium and is a simple way to reduce your levels of stress.

Chris Johnson, founder of On Target Living, says: “I recommend taking a bath once a week for 15 minutes in Epsom salts, as they are very high in magnesium, and will seep into their body and help to feel and become more relaxed.”

It’s even possible to use the salts in the shower by placing them in the basin and allowing the steam to dissolve the salts.

Stress affects everyone differently, and often when you’re running your own business, it’s easy to bypass important signs your body might send which indicates that you are stressed. That is why it is critical to ensure that you make time to take notice of your body, health and wellbeing and actively seek to become more aware of the break you need to take each day.

In realigning your focus and priorities, you will notice a more positive effect, not only on your career, but personal life too. By maintaining your levels of stress and selectively applying pressure when it’s needed, you can keep your own levels of productivity high but avoid burning out.

About the author

This guide has been written for ByteStart by Louise Fletcher, on behalf of Ultimate Travel Company – a UK based luxury travel company.

More help on ByteStart

For more ideas on how to get the most out of yourself, try some of these other ByteStart guides;

And for tips on how to get the best out of your staff;

Bytestart Limited info@ByteStart.co.uk

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