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9 Strategies to Reduce Stress and Build Resilience as a Small Business Owner

Small business owners are often overwhelmed with work-related stress, however, there are a number of strategies that can help build resilience and reduce anxiety. From deep breathing exercises to setting boundaries, these 9 strategies can help small business owners overcome  stress and stay productive

Table of Contents:

9 Strategies to Reduce Stress and Build Resilience as a Small Business Owner

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a great way to reduce stress as a small business owner. Breathing exercises can help reduce stress and tension by calming the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our "flight or fight" response. To practice deep breathing, find a comfortable, quiet place to sit and focus on your inhaling and exhaling. Concentrate on the sensations you feel in your abdomen as you breathe in and out.

Deep breaths can signal your body to relax and release stored tension. Studies show that breathing exercises may also improve heart rate variability, cardiovascular ability, and cognitive functioning. Over time, regular practice of deep breathing can help people identify feelings of stress at the beginning of it and stay in control of their emotions.
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Setting Boundaries

Set boundaries in your work and personal life. knowing when to switch off from work and creating a meaningful balance between work and home life is essential. A common error small business owners make is working late nights and early mornings, with no clear distinction between starting and stopping times. Setting boundaries for when it is okay to begin and end work can help manage stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, make it a rule to avoid checking emails after working hours and on weekends. Set time aside to take a break, enjoy time with family, and de-stress. Taking time away from work can help recharge, have a better focus on work, and enhance productivity. This is the foundation of building resilience.

Organize Your Day

Organizing your day is an important strategy to reduce stress and build resilience as a small business owner. Start your day by making a priority list of the tasks that need to be accomplished. This will help you stay focused on the most important tasks and reduce the stress of feeling overwhelmed. Set realistic deadlines and create a timeline to accomplish each task. Lastly, do not forget to add some free time. Taking short breaks throughout the day will help refresh your mind and provide more energy to complete the tasks. Taking care of yourself is essential to managing stress levels.

Delegate and Outsource

Delegating work and outsourcing tasks to experts are two effective strategies for reducing stress and improving resilience as a small business owner. Delegation can help entrepreneurs take on more projects than they can handle independently and help build an effective team of capable employees. Meanwhile, outsourcing can help business owners focus their energies on more important tasks and save money on products and services that would otherwise be too expensive to hire. With careful selection and execution of delegation and outsourcing, small business owners can more efficiently accomplish their goals and reduce stress in the workplace.

When delegating, it’s important to ensure that the person delegated to an assignment is qualified for it and that the task is clear and specific.  With outsourcing, it’s important to find reliable providers and to recognize that, at times, there may be some risks. By considering potential pitfalls when making decisions and communicating expectations clearly, small business owners can mitigate their risk and boost their resilience.

Focus on Accomplishments

Small business owners face stress and emotional fatigue on a daily basis. To manage stress, it is important to focus on accomplishments. This involves setting goals, tracking progress, and celebrating successes. Being aware of the progress that has been made and celebrating even small successes helps boost morale and motivation. Even when the business is not meeting expected goals, it is important to stay positive and focus on the successes that have been achieved. This will give you as a business owner more energy and enthusiasm to come up with new solutions and approaches to reach your desired outcome.

Practice Self-Care

Practicing self-care is an essential part of managing stress levels and becoming a more resilient small business owner. Taking the time to prioritize mental and physical wellness can help you stay connected to your values, purpose, and motivation. Self-care practices can include anything from taking a walk and meditating, to simply taking a break throughout the day. Additionally, building healthy habits such as regular exercise and a nutritious diet can help you stay energized and productive. By making your mental health a priority, you can better endure the stresses of owning a small business while maintaining a positive outlook.

Stick to Your Schedule

Having a clear schedule and sticking to it is one of the best ways for small business owners to reduce their stress levels and build resilience. When planning out what you need to get done and by when helps to keep you from getting overwhelmed by multiple tasks or forgetting to complete an important list item. Making time for yourself and your mental health is important; plan breaks throughout the day and stick to them, and make sure to create enough time for a relaxing evening, especially when you’ve had a busy or stressful day. Having a regular bedtime routine also helps to reduce stress levels and keep energy levels high throughout the day.

Take Breaks

Taking breaks is an important part of reducing stress and building resilience as a small business owner. Short breaks throughout the day can help you to refocus and re-energize. When you take breaks, use that time to clear your mind and relax. Take a walk, do some stretching, or simply take a few deep breaths. It's also important to schedule regular breaks away from work throughout the week. Use this time to pursue interests or activities that bring you pleasure and joy. Setting aside personal time for yourself will help reduce your stress levels and prevent burnout.

Mindful breaks can also help reduce stress and combat rumination. Mindfulness practices can help you to stay in the present moment and increase your self-awareness. Take a break during your workday to practice mindful breathing or engage in a mindfulness exercise.

By taking breaks throughout the day and scheduling more extended breaks away from work, you can give yourself the time and space you need to relax and refocus.

Connect with Others

As a small business owner, it is important to maintain a support system, especially during stressful and uncertain times. Having a strong support network of family, friends, and colleagues is essential for reducing stress and staying resilient. Consider reaching out to others who are facing similar challenges and share coping strategies.

Connect with mentors, coaches, or counselors who can offer helpful and unbiased advice. Make sure to take time to socialize and have fun and engage in activities that help you clear your mind. Taking the time to connect with others also helps to form meaningful relationships that contribute to your overall mental health.


Stress can be a roadblock to success for small business owners, but by using a few strategies and dedication, stress can be managed and resilience can be built. Deep breathing exercises, setting boundaries, organizing the day, and delegating tasks are just a few strategies small business owners can use to reduce stress and improve productivity.
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