Work is stressful no matter how you look at it. If you’re an entrepreneur trying to get a business off the ground your stress level may range from high to very high depending on the day. As businesses become more relaxed and continue to keep an eye out for ways to help their employees relax, having a way to relieve stress at work is important. Below we’ve collected from stress relief tips from entrepreneurs and business owners alike.
Passive and active stress relief
For passive stress relief, I simply head to my backyard, climb into my hammock and stare at the oak tree that surrounds me. Ten minutes of breathing deeply and staring at leaves is a super stress reliever. The northern California climate fortunately enables me to do this most of the year. Active stress relief comes in the form of a dance-like exercise class called Zumba, where every song is a joyful, sweaty, cardiovascular celebration of the diverse sounds of many Latin cultures. A little samba, merengue, salsa or cumbia in my workday, even if my schedule allows for attending only half the class, wipes out stress like nothing else!
Thanks to Grace Tiscareno-Sato, Latinnovating
Using stretching videos to help relax at work
My partner and I started our company 9 years ago when one of his bodywork clients asked him to “video those stretches you show me so I can remember them between our sessions”. That comment plus our awareness about the number of preventable, unnecessary surgeries being done to relieve pain from workplace injuries kicked us in to gear! We started to develop stretching programs, based on myofascial release, in which we also included deep breathing segments. The deep breathing serves a dual purpose – to make sure the stretches are done at the pace necessary for injury prevention (confirmed in research studies) and to reduce stress throughout the work day. It is a delight to receive feedback from relieved users who make comments like, “PRSI Break changed my life!”, “I didn't have to have surgery!” and “Her (animated coach) voice is so calming it's like I'm meditating during the routines.” Our tag line is “The Break Your Body Needs”. Using our programs keeps users injury free and relaxed at work.
Thanks to Judith and Denny Young, PRSI Software Inc.
1 Minute motivation
The #1 strategy I teach CEOs is called “1 minute motivation” This short exercise serves to decrease pressure & helps enhance mental focus. As you transition from one task to the next, invest one minute in the following: 5 second affirmation statement which should fit what you need to feel in that present moment (for example: “I am a competent, confident leader” or“I’m energized and focused”) 15 second deep breath (inhale for 6, pause for 3, exhale for 6) 20 second visualization of a positive outcome (which should also fit what you need to feel in that moment or day). Ex 1: A success you experienced earlier that day. Ex. 2: Successfully performing the next task on your schedule. 15 second deep breath 5 second affirmation statement *If you are behind schedule or double booked, you can even cut the time in half and make it a 30- second exercise.
Thanks to John Brubaker, The Sport of Business, LLC
Related Post: Three Ways to Motivate Your Employees
Learning from athletes
Successful entrepreneurs and business owners are passionate, single-minded and driven. Their own personal identity is closely intertwined with that of their business. If you are thriving in the current economic conditions, then you are an elite entrepreneur. So, let’s learn from other elite performers, athletes. Three top tips that athletes used to reduce stress are: 1. Detach – Set a time each day when you are completely detached from the business. This means no work emails, phone calls, thinking about work, talking about work. Best results come if exercise is taken during the detached time. Research has shown that even those who would happily work 24/7 have better mood and performance if they have detached the evening before. 2. Action – Stress is a chemical reaction. Cortisol increases in the bloodstream which impacts cognition's (decision making, concentration), physiology (vision, blood pressure), and emotions (reactions). Action is needed in the moment to reduce cortisol levels if you want to be effective at work. Either do something physical, such as a brisk walk around the block, or do a breathing technique, such as breathe in for a count of 4 and breathe out for a count of 8. Breathing is covert. You can do it anywhere. 3. Recover – A typical elite athlete oscillates between strain and recovery all day. This is how they achieve peak performance. As an entrepreneur you have plenty of strain all day. But where is your recovery? Divide your day into 2 hour blocks. At the end of each 2 hours, have a recovery break. This is not a coffee talking about work. It is something that helps you to recover as your prepare for your next intense work session, e.g. walk in the sun for 5 minutes, talk about the weekend with colleagues, have a joke.
Thanks to Lyndal Hughes, Stiller Hughes Consulting
Building a momentum of peace
The most important thing to do is to build a momentum of peace. Stress is cumulative and so is peace. Make a list of activities that you personally find calming and centering. Make sure that some of them generate feeling in the body because this is intimately connected with your ability to surf the waves of life and process your experience efficiently. Then, take at least 30 seconds out of each hour to do these things. Also slip them into the downtimes of the day, such as those 20 second elevator rides. Calming activities can include stretching, gratitude, prayer, deep breathing, meditation, nature visualizations, devotional visualizations and many other things. This practice of “interweaving” will build a profound momentum of peace behind the scenes of the conscious mind. You may be aware of some immediate results such as a slightly calmer demeanor. However, most of it is unconsciousness. After a month or two, you'll experience profound results in the form of higher energy, higher motivation and a much greater sense of peace. Burnout becomes much less likely.
Thanks to Tom Von Deck
Having me-time and not being connected 24/7
I am not your average 20 hours a day kind of guy. My day typically starts at 6:30 am which enables me to catch some “me-time”. I spend that time to read the newspaper, spend candid time with family, exercise, and when I do that, I like to keep my mind solely on these activities, not mulling over work issues or strategizing. I think a calm and healthy start to the day might not necessarily lower work pressure, but sure helps me deal with it better. Once at work, I get to my emails, and spend the better part of first half taking relatively important decisions and the day usually pans out from there. I think connecting with the staff goes a long way in dealing with stress in the larger picture. That way, all our efforts are in sync with each other and work flow is pleasantly seamless. However, once I leave office, my email alerts are off. I am not a big fan of the “email culture” to stay connected 24/7. My philosophy is that if something is very urgent, the person would call me. The temptation was tough to fight being an entrepreneur, but once I got some people on board, I made some rules for myself. Is it working out for me? Absolutely!
Thanks to Anil Kumar, Great Sports Infra
Related Post: Tips to Maximize Your Time
Get out and move to relieve stress
The best method to relieve stress is to move—get out in the open air, walk briskly, breathe deep into your lungs, listen to the curl of birdsong, peer at the trunks of trees for their mysteries, note how light bounces off the ground. In other words, be in the moment, and not in the anticipation of an exaggerated problem to come, or an already-dead problem that’s passed. Moving your body through space can move it through time too—into the goodness of the moment.
Thanks to Tom Bentley, The Write Word
Switching out of narrow focus
Take a few minutes to switch out of narrow focus. We spend most of our time in narrow focus, honed in on what we want to accomplish, ignoring everything else. Narrow focus is great, but tiring and anxiety producing if sustained for long periods without a break. Come up for air and allow your focus to widen, take in all the sounds, smells, and textures of your surroundings. Imagine you are in a favorite place in nature and all the sounds, sights, and smells of the place, how you're not focused in on any one of them, but enjoying the space as a whole. Engage all your senses. Another exercise is to look at a familiar object and rather than focusing on it, focus on the space surrounding it. Allow the object to fade into the background. These activities break the cycle of narrow focus and allow a dip into wide focus, a shift from left brain to right brain. The right brain is where the state of flow and ease lives, creativity lives, where relief from stress is found. You will find enhanced productivity and fresh thinking, a great reward for such a small shift.
Thanks to Cynde Margritz, Peak Neurofitness, LLC
Stop hanging around negative people
Negative workplaces can be toxic and anything that adversely affects your mindset carries over to impact your physical and mental health! The two most important tips I share with my audiences and clients are: Be mindful of your negative self-talk. The inner dialogue and daily messages you send yourself can be your worst enemy. Taking control of your mind gives you control of your life. This is a process; I know how to do this, I teach others how to do this, and I still have to work on it because I'm just human! (Contact me for more specific daily tips.) Stop hanging around negative people. Don't try to change them or help them, just avoid, walk away, say NO! Negative people love audiences and somehow feel better if they can engage others in their negative rant. They also tend to gather where there is food or drink so don't linger in break areas or water cooler corners cause this is where they can capture your attention and ruin your day! And no one benefits from being grouped in with the negatives! Note that both of these involve becoming empowered to take charge of your own experience rather than blaming others or falling into the poor little me trap. Being personally responsible for the experiences of your life brings energy to everything you do.
Thanks to Darla Arni, Full Plate No Fork
Work on breathing
Check your heart rate, make a note of it and then take a deep breath. Be aware whether you lift your shoulders as you do – this means that you are shallow breathing. Learn to breathe with your belly – as you breathe in, belly goes out – allowing the lungs to inflate fully and as you breathe out, pull the belly in – allowing the lungs to get rid of stale air. Start with five of these in the morning after waking and five at night. When it starts to become a habit, then begin to do sets of five at times in the day that are convenient to you. For example: warming the car up, at a long set of traffic lights, in the supermarket queue…. After a few weeks, check your heart rate again, it will have reduced, just like your stress now you are breathing properly! For even more stress reduction book into a hypnotherapy session and take your mind on a holiday!!
Thanks to Meg Phillips, Bright Light Education
Keeping balance in life
When I lead stress management workshops for service professionals, I am surprised at the number of people who are so accustomed to a high-stress lifestyle that they do not recognize that the anxiety, fatigue, and frustration that they feel are abnormal. I believe that it is important for us to stop frequently during the day and note our stress levels, where we are feeling that stress within our bodies, the thoughts that are going through our minds, and the external factors that are adding to the stress in our lives. It's important to balance these stressors with positive thoughts, interactions, and activities. Even small things–like listening to a favorite comedian during the morning commute or paying for someone else's coffee at the Starbucks drive-thru–can help to relieve tension and make life more joyful.
Thanks to Hope Wilson, Wilson Business Growth Consultants
Related Post: 3 Tips for Entrepreneurs to Stay Healthy