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Top 10 stress management tips for leaders

3-minute read

Being aware of personal stress is an important step in managing and mitigating the negative effects, says Michael Campbell, a researcher at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), a non-profit global provider of executive education. Once people figure out what's stressing them out, he says, they can take steps to better manage the situation.

Here are 10 stress management strategies for entrepreneurs recommended by experts.

1. Pay attention to your body's stress signals

Typical signals of stress include sweating and an increased heart rate. It's important to recognize these signals and get them under control. This could involve simple, deep-breathing exercises.

2. Deal with the stress head on

Rather than procrastinate, think about what is causing the emotional reaction and get a handle on it. Deal with the cause of stress right away, whether it's a phone call from an angry client or making a difficult business decision.

3. Take systematic breaks

When you feel stress coming on, get up and do something else such as taking a brief walk or going outside. This short break can give you a different perspective on a stressful situation and at least provide short-term relief from the physical effects of stress.

4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Getting 30 minutes of rigorous exercise at least three times a week can help you reduce stress. Good eating habits such as including more fruits and vegetables in your diet can give you more energy and help you handle stress better.

5. Try to achieve work/life balance

Although today's business environment can be demanding, it's crucial to take time for other activities outside of the office such as family events, hobbies and sports. This is when you recharge your batteries.

6. Keep perfectionism in check

Offering a quality product and service doesn't mean obsessing about it. Know when to get a task off your desk and focus on doing your best in a competitive environment.

7. Delegate to reduce your workload

Accept that you can't do it all. Rather than micro-managing, pay special attention to delegating responsibility to employees and leaving them alone to do the job. Sharing the load can relieve stress.

8. Find people you trust and confide in them

Talking to others about business issues can help you find solutions to deal with challenges. Entrepreneurs can also network with other people in their industries to see how they are handling similar issues.

9. Get your business’s financial situation under control

Cash flow is a major source of anxiety for entrepreneurs. Find ways to better monitor your revenues and expenses. Also, find ways to improve productivity and ultimately your company's financial health.

10. Commit to vacation time

Give yourself time off to relax, particularly during challenging periods. For example, turn your phone off when you're on a holiday. Postponing a vacation may have short-term benefits for your business but in the long run, your health could suffer and cause greater problems down the road.