Stress-Busters to Help You Navigate Your Day

A certain amount of stress is inevitable for small-business owners—a client cancels an order, a supplier raises prices or an employee walks out, for example.

The strain of dealing with these types of challenges can affect you mentally, physically and emotionally. Learning how to manage that stress may be critical to your future success.

1. Call a friend or family member.

Most of us have at least one person in our lives who can bring a smile to our faces the minute we hear their voice. In an era of increasing online communication, who wouldn't love a spontaneous phone call?

2. Exercise.

Brief physical activity in the midst of a stressful time can help you unwind. Take 20 minutes and go for a walk, run, bicycle ride or some other activity you enjoy. Getting out of the office gives you a chance to clear your head and boost your health.

3. Listen to music.

Songs can create an emotional response in people, so create a playlist of songs that make you feel good. It could be classical music or hard rock, hip-hop or jazz. Whatever your style, choose and listen to music that you enjoy.

4. Look at old photos.

Those pictures on your desk aren’t just décor. When you’re feeling stressed, pick them up and take a minute to think about the moment or the people captured in the image. Better yet, flip through an old album of photos. Thinking of a happier time can boost your mood.

5. Book a vacation.

Getting out of town can help reduce your stress. The biggest mental benefits often come from what’s called “vacation anticipation”—the time spent planning a trip and then looking forward to it. It might also help to take several short breaks throughout the year than one big trip. By taking more, shorter vacations, you’ll get multiple planning/anticipation cycles.

6. Try aromatherapy.

While scientific research on this subject is still limited, many people believe that certain scents can have a positive impact on their mood. Options include simple solutions like air fresheners and candles to computerized scent machines. Some of the most popular scents for mood-elevating aromatherapy include lavender, lemon, vanilla and peppermint.

7. De-clutter.

Clearing out the clutter includes both your physical and your digital work spaces. Getting rid of excess papers, emails, files and more can also clear your mind to help you tackle problems more effectively. While you're at it, back up what you save. (Nothing's more stressful than a computer crash when you don’t have a backup.)

8. Eat well.

A balanced diet can help you feel more alert, energetic and focused when dealing with a stressful situation. Steer clear of sugar, caffeine and processed foods—they may provide a short-term boost, but after the spike, you'll probably feel even worse.

De-stressing doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming. Using any of these quick tips can help lower stress levels and put you back on track.

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