Eileen Lichtenstein in Newsday

Manage Stress to Help Your Business Thrive

From newsday.com, April 19, 2011 By Jamie Herzlich
Herzlich writes the Small Business column in Newsday.

You're running your business day after day, week after week. All the important decisions fall on your shoulders and there never seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.

It's no wonder you might be feeling a bit stressed. The challenge is learning how to deal with it so it doesn't impact your health or take over your life, say experts.

"Stress typically leads to burnout, sickness, unhappiness and reduced productivity," says work-life/career coach Sharon Teitelbaum author of "Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued". "You need to manage your stress levels in order to thrive."

There are several ways to do this and here are just a few:

Cut a deal with your inner perfectionist: Entrepreneurs feel like they have to do everything fabulously, says Teitelbaum of Watertown, Mass. Oftentimes they become a slave to their high standards in every part of their lives, she says. "Find a place in your life where you can lower a standard without serious consequences," she says. Perhaps, it means outsourcing less-critical tasks.

Acknowledge yourself: Business owners/managers can be their own worst critics, says Teitelbaum. Acknowledge your own good work so you're not always focusing on the negative. It doesn't have to be momentous achievements, even something like handling a difficult conversation with a customer, she notes.

Take time off: Designate clear time off and stick to it. Turn off your BlackBerry and adhere to some downtime. "You can return to work refreshed," says Teitelbaum.

Reduce distractions: If you keep getting sidetracked or distracted, you'll feel like you're accomplishing nothing and get more stressed, explains Eileen Lichtenstein, chief executive of Balance & Power Inc. in Baldwin, a work-life peak performance success coach. Force yourself to not check email every two seconds or, if working from home, don't start doing chores, she says.

Optimize peak performance times: Understand when your personal energy is at its peak, says Lichtenstein, author of "SOAR! with Resilience™ (Balance & Power Press; $19.99). Plan your work accordingly, she says. For instance, if you're working on Excel spreadsheets, you might not save that for the evening when your eyes have been straining all day.

Change scenery: Take a quick walk outside or set up your computer in a shady spot outdoors, says Lichtenstein. "It's extremely peaceful," she says.

Delegate: You don't need to do everything yourself, says Rosalie Moscoe, owner of Health inHarmony.com in Toronto and author of "Frazzled, Hurried Woman! Your Stress Relief Guide to Thriving . . . Not Merely Surviving" (Create Space; $18.95). Focus on tasks you can really add value to and delegate some of the other more mundane tasks, says Moscoe, who did this herself after spending too much time designing booklet covers for her speaking engagements. "You've got to get people to help you," says Moscoe, who now has a student do that task for her so she can work on more pressing activities.

Eat right: Don't skip meals or eat junk food, but instead choose high-energy foods with protein like eggs and fish, says Moscoe. "That's brain food," she says.

Get physical: Do something physical and get your body moving, says Moscoe. It will get your blood flowing and you'll feel energized, she says. That's what Katherine Heaviside, president of Epoch 5 Public Relations in Huntington, does each morning before her work day begins. "I run five to six days a week," says Heaviside. "I find when I run, by the end of it, I'm thinking more clearly." She even leaves her cellphone behind. "There's a sense of aloneness I really treasure," notes Heaviside.

Fast Fact:

Entrepreneurs certainly do lead busy lives. A survey last year by U.S. Bancorp of more than 2,700 small business owners found that 65 percent say they are almost always on the go.

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