Take It Easy: Stress Relief Strategies for Busy Business Owners

Americans are some of the most stressed-out people in the world. A whopping 55% of Americans report high stress levels, compared to the global average of 35%. Many people have adopted a “busy is best” mindset, in which over-scheduling and over-working are glorified as productive, and anything less is lazy.  

caucasian woman with palm on her forehead looking at something
Stress can cause somatic symptoms and can lead to long-term mental health problems.

It’s no surprise that business owners also report higher than average stress levels. According to a Gallup poll, 45% of entrepreneurs report being stressed, and an additional 34% report having “worried a lot” about business-related issues.

Stress takes a toll on our bodies and our brains. We carry stress in our neck, back, shoulders, and jaw. This can result in tight, sore muscles, pinched nerves, and tension headaches. Stress can cause somatic symptoms like stomach aches, nausea, and even heart palpitations. Chronic stress can lead to long-term mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It is important, therefore, to find ways to manage your stress.

Take it easy

It’s important to be proactive when it comes to your mental well-being. Experts agree that getting enough sleep, exercising and eating right, and taking time off from work are great ways to help keep stress at bay. But if you do find yourself feeling overwhelmed, try these five strategies to help feel calmer and more in control.

Take a breath

Taking a few moments to focus on your breath can help reduce stress levels almost instantaneously. There are a variety of guided meditation and breathwork apps available, but you don’t really need any outside help to focus on your breath. Experts recommend the “square breathing” technique. Inhale for a count of 3, hold for a count of 3, exhale for a count of 3, hold for a count of 3, and repeat. As you follow this pattern, try to visualize a square being drawn. 

Change of pace

Sometimes a change of scenery is all we need. Physically removing yourself from a situation can help you gain the perspective you need. Leave the office: treat yourself to lunch out, take a walk, or go for a drive. Practice a deep breathing technique to re-center before returning to the office.

Fuel yourselfgrilled salmon with vegetables on a plqte.

It might sound basic, but eating a well-balanced meal can work wonders. Make sure you get a brain-fueling protein, a complex carbohydrate, and fresh fruits and veggies. Make sure you drink a full glass of water. Stay away from over-indulging in basic carbs, salty foods, sugary sodas, and coffee. If you need an extra boost of caffeine, try a cup of green tea. While you’re eating this meal, try to shut off your work phone for a few minutes and eat mindfully.  


As a business owner, it can be hard to put down your work and walk away. But sometimes it’s what you need to do. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes, put your phone on silent, commit to ignoring emails, and focus on something else. Being present in the moment can help settle the mind, regulate stress hormone levels, and bring a sense of renewed focus when you return to work.

Ask for helptwo set of hands holding white mugs on a table.

It can be helpful to identify a person with whom you feel safe talking about your emotions. That might be a partner, friend, counselor, sibling, or parent.  Having someone who is aware that you’re feeling overwhelmed and who can share their own stresses with you can help you feel less isolated in your struggles.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your work day, try some of these strategies to lower your stress levels throughout the day. They might seem simple, but they are reminders to take care of yourself. If you continue to experience uncontrollable feelings of stress, helplessness, or if you feel unsafe in any way, reach out to your primary care physician or text REASON to 741741 for free and confidential crisis support 24 hours a day. 

Vacations Are Good For More Than Your Soul

Stress can cause our bodies to become tired, causing them to become weak when fighting against an illness. When constantly dealing with stress, including constant stress at work, it takes a large toll on your health. Not only does your physical health deteriorate, but your mental health does as well. Physically you lose sleep and do not digest your food fully, while mentally you can become depressed, anxious, and lose memory over time. Stress can cause a person to become so irritable, that their social life will begin to decline.  In order to fight all of this stress consider booking a relaxing vacation for yourself. Even just one vacation a year can help your mental and physical stress levels.

Vacations are needed breaks for your health.
Getting away can have great benefits for your health.

Studies show that improvements in your psychological and physical wellbeing are caused by taking a vacation. According to a study, American employees only take about half their accrued vacation time. This can be because they think that have too much to do at work and do not have the time or finances to take a break. A vacation can be something as simple as a week off staying in your city connecting with friends and family or meditating and treating yourself.  There is no better reason to take a vacation than keeping yourself healthy. Some of the benefits of taking regular vacations are:

Better Sleep

When it is time to go to sleep, it may be hard to sleep because we have too much on our minds. We will replay our day, or think about work projects and deadlines, or chores that need to be done. It can become overwhelming and cause us to lose sleep. Loss of sleep can cause you to become less alert and lose memory, causing you to make mistakes. A vacation will help you to reset and get back to a more stable sleep pattern and essentially helping you become more focused.

Better Productivity

Sleep improved quality of life.
Taking time off to rest will increase productivy, mood, and physical health.

With better sleep comes better focus and productivity because time away produces a clearer mind and more ideas. Overworking can cause a person to burn out, especially when it comes to being productive and creative. Studies have shown that employees who go on vacations have higher performance ratings and are less likely to leave their job.  A vacation gives you the opportunity to come back refreshed with a more productive mindset and happier mentality.

Boosts Mental Health

Stress and lack of sleep take a toll on your overall well-being, making it harder to be productive not only at work but in life. Psychologically it takes a toll on you when you do not take a break to de-stress. Vacationers have a better mental health alongside a better mood. Happiness and generosity are shown to be higher amongst those who vacation regularly, and they also tend to value personal connections more than materialistic things. When we are anxious at work, it becomes harder to find solutions. Vacations lessen this stress and keep anxiety low.

Boosts Physical Health

Studies have shown that people who go on vacations are more likely to not only be happier, but healthier than those that did not go on vacations. Vacationers reported having less stress, and less physical issues; less complaints of headaches and backaches. Reports show that not going vacation at least once a year is associated with a higher risk of heart disease. This is because vacations offer the relaxation you need that in return lowers your blood pressure and stress levels. Anxiety and stress that builds up over time from work and life takes a toll on your physical and mental health. Too much stress can lead to higher blood pressure, and even a heart attack!

Vacations help us become our best selves, and be more productive not only in life but at work. There are so many benefits from vacations, especially for our health, that it is important to utilize them and take that time away to reset and refresh our minds and bodies.