April 1, 2014 | 5-minute read (817 words)
Previously published in Fox Small Business.
Managing stress is the $64,000 question for entrepreneurs. Below are some of the best ideas we've heard on how to handle it effectively.
What's your favorite strategy to manage stress while in the office?
"For me, stress builds up quickly when I'm not accomplishing as much as I should or could. That usually means I'm getting distracted by emails, phone calls, unnecessary meetings, or in-office visits. Luckily, this can be somewhat controlled if you just remove the distractions when you sit down to accomplish a task. Productivity will improve and as a result stress levels will tend to fall."
Phil Frost | Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Main Street ROI
"Everyone talks about closing your eyes, breathing deeply, going for a walk, etc. But in my experience, that just lets my mind wander back to the stressful subject/task. In times of high stress at our office, someone usually fires off a few trivia questions to the rest of us. It forces us to shift gears and use a different part of our brains. When we're done, we feel relaxed and more creative."
Matt Peters | Co-Founder & Creative Director, Pandemic Labs
Meditation and Yoga
"Meditation and yoga may sound like the antithesis of the entrepreneurial lifestyle (and a bit corny), but they’re actually complementary. You don’t need to tie yourself up into knots (risking office embarrassment and a trip to the ER!) to reap the rewards of this practice. Even just standing in mountain pose -- evenly balanced, eyes closed, steady breath -- can help reduce stress tremendously. "
David Ehrenberg | Founder and CEO, Early Growth Financial Services
"A couple of pages of writing always does wonders to create perspective and clear my head. Plus, the ability to decompress in this way only requires pen and pad which can be found almost anywhere. "
Lisa Nicole Bell | Founder/CEO, Inspired Life Media Group
Crank Up the Music
"When times get stressful, you need to move and let loose for at least 3 minutes. I love finding new music on Pandora or YouTube that gets me pumped up and allows me to forget about the to-do list for a few minutes. Some businesses (which will remain anonymous) even do Gangnam style dance parties!"
Kelly Azevedo | Founder, She's Got Systems
"All our team members have the option to work on a GeekDesk, a workstation that has the ability to change height for sitting or standing workers. Movement and change of position combat stress and break up the tension of a long work day."
Robert J. Moore | Co-Founder and CEO, RJMetrics
"Find a quiet place. Then take ten deep breaths. As you finish your last breath you will notice additional emotional tranquility, mental acuity, and physical energy. "
Kevon Saber | Cofounder, Fig
Schedule Your Breaks
"My favorite strategy to manage stress is to schedule breaks and take them. As a small business owner, it may seem effective to go at it 100% all day long, but this is no strategy for long-term success. Schedule breaks, at least three per day, and commit to taking them. As an entrepreneur, you have full ability to work 15 hours per day, but in the long term, you aren’t doing anyone any good."
Andrew Schrage | Co-Owner, Money Crashers Personal Finance
Create Small Distractions
"While big distractions should be removed from the workplace, taking a small break every so often is important. It's easy to get caught up and forget to ever look away from the computer monitor, so having a few small built in distractions to the day can be beneficial. Even something as small as issuing nerf guns and telling your team to shoot certain people when they walk through the door can help."
Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting
Monday Hot Yoga
"Members of our team attend a Monday night hot vinyasa yoga class that's out-of-this-world amazing. It's challenging, calming, and starts the week off right."
Derek Flanzraich | CEO and Founder, Greatist
Get Out of the Office
"Startups often work 15-hour days, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll grow tired of the people around you. Work from the park on nice days, or answer emails from a coffee shop. Be especially careful during winter months, when it’s possible to never see daylight."
Matt Wilson | Adventurer in Residence, Under30Experiences
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invitation-only organization comprised of hundreds of America’s most successful young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
Do you have more suggestions for managing stress? Tell us about it in the comments section below.