8 Useful Tips for Stressed-Out Entrepreneurs

Keith Krach
November 4, 2016

There are many reasons why people are drawn to a career as an entrepreneur. Some value the flexibility that comes with being your own boss, while others value the freedom of being able to incorporate creativity and personal passions into their work. A report released in 2013 by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor indicated that entrepreneurs also feel higher levels of contentment with their lives than those who do not run their own businesses.

Entrepreneurs feel this satisfaction in spite of the fact that recent studies show they experience higher levels of stress than other types of workers. According to Gallup, which released these findings in 2012, entrepreneurs across all demographics were slightly more likely than others to say that they felt stressed for a large portion of the previous day, and they were significantly more likely to confirm experiencing worry for much of the previous day.

With the long hours, sizable financial investments, and high degree of personal responsibility required of them, entrepreneurs can easily find themselves overwhelmed in the workplace. The following are eight tips for entrepreneurs who want to reduce and manage stress levels at work:

Recognize the physical symptoms.

The first step in efficiently managing stress is learning to identify its presence as quickly as possible. The sooner that you recognize that you are experiencing high levels of stress, the quicker that you can take steps to reduce it before it becomes overwhelming. While different people may have varying responses to stress, some of the more common immediate physical symptoms include rapid heartbeat, back pain, irregular breathing, sweating, and headaches

Take regular breaks.

An excessive amount of responsibility and the pressure to deliver results can push entrepreneurs to work well over the standard 40-hour work week. Many people who work under these conditions also forget to step away from their desks, which can increase stress levels and also may hinder productivity. Making an effort to take small breaks over the course of the day can help you reduce the effects of stress, especially when you combine it with participation in a relaxing activity, like meditation or a short walk outdoors.

Stay healthy outside of work.

Though it may be the last thing that you want to spend free time on, making an effort to incorporate exercise into a daily routine can have a significant impact on your stress levels both in and out of the office. Regular exercise, even of the moderate variety, can loosen and relax your muscles, reduce tension, and elevate endorphins in your body. When your body feels relaxed and healthy, these effects extend to the mind as well. Some studies also show that exercise is positively correlated with increased productivity and better collaborative skills in the office.

Address stressors as quickly as possible.

Though it isn’t always possible to immediately resolve the factors that are contributing to your stress levels, you should immediately tackle anything that you can address right away. The longer stress lingers, the harder it will be to deal with the effects of its presence. If you cannot handle stressors right away, you should at least take the time to establish a plan of action for dealing with the situation when the opportunity arises.

Learn to delegate responsibilities.

In order to successfully establish a business, entrepreneurs often take on far more responsibilities in the early phases of a startup than are sustainable over the long term. Once the company has reached a certain point, however, those who do not learn to delegate some of these tasks to other employees may find themselves faced with frustration, overwhelming levels of stress, and burnout. To avoid the stress that comes with not having enough time or energy to get things accomplished every day, you should rely on well-qualified team members to take up some of the responsibilities that you do not necessarily need to manage yourself.

Find a talented mentor.

Often, only people who have had similar experiences can understand the emotions and situations that are part of the professional life of an entrepreneur. As such, finding a business mentor to learn from and discuss industry-related issues with can help you develop more effective problem-solving skills and gain new perspectives. In fact, a 2011 study showed that having a mentor can not only lead to reduced stress levels, but it may also help you stay motivated and avoid burnout.

Be prepared with stress-response techniques.

No matter how many steps you take to avoid it, you will inevitably encounter some form of stress as an entrepreneur. Learning which stress-response techniques are the most beneficial for you can help reduce stress more quickly when it does arrive. Some people find that a brief meditation or mindfulness exercise is the most effective way to bring their stress levels down to a manageable level, while others prefer to engage in a quick mental exercise, such as a short logic or word puzzle. Others watch brief humorous videos online. If you are an entrepreneur, you should learn which stress relief tactics work best for you, and rely on these when you find yourself most in need of relaxation.

Recognize the benefits of feeling stress.Ultimately, stress is your body’s motivational tool. In small doses, it can be extremely beneficial, boosting your performance in the workplace and stimulating the growth of a company. The important thing for you to recognize is that not all stress is negative. In

Keith Krach

Keith Krach is Chairman of DocuSign, The Global Standard for Digital Transaction Management.