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7 Ways for Small Business Owners to De-stress (That You Should Try)

Georgia McIntyre

Georgia McIntyre

Director of Content Marketing at Fundera
Georgia McIntyre is the director of content marketing at Fundera. She has written extensively about small business finance, specializing in business lending, credit cards, and accounting solutions. Georgia has a bachelor's degree in economics from Colgate University. Email:
Georgia McIntyre
Editorial Note: Fundera exists to help you make better business decisions. That’s why we make sure our editorial integrity isn’t influenced by our own business. The opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations in this article are those of our editorial team alone.

Stress is a reality for everyone. But as an entrepreneur running a small business, you have your fair share of stress to deal with every day.

From finding new customers, managing your current customers, financing a business, keeping your employees happy, paying your small business taxes…. The list of daily stressors can go on and on.

But as the owner and lifeblood of your business, all you can do is bottle up your stress and forge ahead, right?

Well, a lot of entrepreneurs have a hard time stepping away and keeping their mind off their business. But taking time to clear your head of the day-to-day worries of running a business is just as important as the times you need to be plugged into your business.

So to help you prioritize this part of your day, we’ve put together 7 of the best ways for small business owners to de-stress.

Recognize What Stresses You, and Don’t Try to Tough It Out

A few things in particular might always stress you out. Maybe it’s a certain meeting each week, some tasks you need to get done at the end of the day, or the time of month you have to pay your bills.

If you know that something stresses you out, you’re better prepared to deal with it when it comes along.  

And when stressors do come your way, don’t try to tough them out and move on. Stress has a direct impact on—of course—your mindset, but also on your health. If you let it build up without taking the necessary steps to de-stress, your well-being could face serious implications. And as the primary caretaker of your business, you need to keep your mental state in tip-top shape.

So, when those stressful moments roll around, here are a few ways you can clear your mind.

1. Make Your Schedule Yours

There are a lot of reasons to quit your 9-to-5 job to fulfill your entrepreneurial dreams and start your own business.

One of them is to take control of your workday and not punch in during a set schedule of working hours. But when you’re just starting your business, it’s easy to lose control of your schedule.

Try to remember that you are your own boss now. And if there’s something about your schedule that stresses you out every day, then change it! If you find yourself leaving your office at 6:30 every night—but would be much happier leaving at 5:30 to get home and relax—then make that change in your schedule.

Or, if your clients and partners are always filling up your schedule during your most productive part of your day, block out time on your schedule that is off-limits for everyone.

If the way your day is structured is a main cause of daily stress, then take your schedule back into your hands. Build your days around the times when you’re most ready and willing to work, and block off time that you don’t want to be plugged in.

2. Prioritize “You” Time

Now, this is the most cliché of de-stressing techniques—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important one.

Whatever non-work related activity you do that clears your mind and removes stress, prioritize it. This time in your day or weekends should be just as important as the time you spend running your small business.

“You” time can be anything. Maybe you take 30 minutes out of your day to meditate. Getting your Zen on once a day has a lot of proven health benefits—and it could be just what you need to bring some clarity to your mind. Or, if you prefer exercising as a way to de-stress, then take an hour during your day to release some endorphins.

It might be hard to take a significant chunk out of your day to leave the office and do what you need to do to de-stress. But when you can, you’ll probably find that you’re much more focused and productive during the hours you are working.

3. Learn to Say “No”

When you’re a small business owner, it’s much easier to say “yes” than it is to say “no.”

You’re trying to help your business reach new heights. So whether it’s pleasing a customer, bringing more on, helping out your partners and employees, or picking up all the tasks that need to get done, it’s easy to say “yes” when it means you’re helping your business grow.

But if you pile too much on your plate, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed by everything you have to do. And if you can’t put enough focus into each new project, then your business will be worse off in the long run. On top of that, you’ll be more stressed if you’re not getting everything done to your standards. It’s an ongoing cycle.

If you can learn to say “no” to the things you don’t really need to do, both your stress levels and your business will be better off in the long run. By saying “no” more often, you’ll have more time and energy to execute on the things you said “yes” to.

4. Get Comfortable Delegating Tasks

Another way to take things off your plate and de-stress is to learn how to delegate. Of course, you can’t say “no” to everyone all the time. Things need to get done for your business in order for it to run smoothly. But that doesn’t mean that everything needs to be done by you.

Overwhelming yourself with projects and jobs is a common way to get stressed. But if you can hand those jobs over to your employees, your mindset and energy levels will be much better off.

As a small business owner, your business is your baby. You’ve grown it from the ground up, doing everything yourself. It might be hard to hand your projects over to other people. But you’ve hired competent employees, so now it’s time to put your trust in them to do the jobs well. And if you are going about it solo, consider outsourcing work that other people can do for you.

5. Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself both physically and mentally is one of the easiest ways to maintain your stress levels.

You might not realize it, but staying healthy has a huge boost on your energy levels and your mental state. So, do your best to maintain a healthy diet, drink lots of water, get a good amount of sleep, and be active.

It’s a simple step to de-stressing. But you’ll find that when you’re in great physical and mental shape, you’re much more prepared to deal with stress when it comes around.

6. Put Some Structure In Place

Running a small business is chaotic. As an owner of a business, you’re wearing so many different hats and building the future of your company. And that future isn’t always a predictable one.

So where possible, try to put some systems and order in place. That might be setting a structure to how you schedule meetings, when you reach out to clients, or start new campaigns.

With some structure laid out, you won’t have to worry about reinventing the wheel every time you move your business forward. And for people who thrive in systems and benefit from organization, putting structure into the business might help remove clutter and unnecessary stress from their mind.

Plus, when you put systems in place, it’s much easier to delegate tasks and monitor progress. And when it’s easier to keep a tab on what’s going on in your business, you’ll save yourself time and headaches.

7. Unplug During Your Off-Time

As a small business owner, you’re always hearing about “work-life balance.”

Is this really an achievable concept for the busy entrepreneur?

It is—and it’s one that should be prioritized. Many entrepreneurs treat their businesses as their lives, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  

When you’re at work, be at work. And when you’re home, be fully at home. You might struggle to peel your eyes from your email feed at night, but it’s crucial for maintaining your mindset. Tackle those emails and phone calls when you get back to work in the morning, and enjoy your time off now. If you consciously unplug from your work while you’re out of the office or not on-site, you’ll find that your stress will melt away.


Take a deep breath, small business owner. Stress can easily be dealt with if you take the time to identify what stresses you out and actively combat it.

When stress builds up, you’ll feel like the whole world is on your shoulder—or at least, your business is. But in the end, things will better and your business will forge on. It’s all about maintaining a positive mindset and keeping a perspective on things.

What’s your go-to way to de-stress? Tell us in the comments!

Georgia McIntyre

Georgia McIntyre

Director of Content Marketing at Fundera
Georgia McIntyre is the director of content marketing at Fundera. She has written extensively about small business finance, specializing in business lending, credit cards, and accounting solutions. Georgia has a bachelor's degree in economics from Colgate University. Email:
Georgia McIntyre