Being your own boss is exciting and can be rewarding but sometimes you need to take a step back. When your days are filled with managing your team, tracking the competition, monitoring sales and strategizing for the future, it’s difficult to find time to focus on yourself.
While over 75 percent of small business owners experience burnout, there are things you can do to destress during working hours. Here are some relaxation tips for finding alone time and peace.
Soyen Shaku, a Japanese Zen Master Buddhist priest, is credited with bringing some of the first organized meditation and relaxation techniques to America in the late 1800s. Shaku taught that it is important to live and work from the “inside out,” meaning that while you can’t control things that happen around you, you can control how you perceive and react to them.
Often while working, you’ll be faced with challenging situations that cause you to feel pressure and stress. These tips will help you take a few minutes to mindfully escape the workplace and be more relaxed and fully present when you return.
Take a 10-minute break.
While your days are full, everyone has 10 minutes to spare – use this to your advantage. Stand up and go for a walk around the office. Better yet, go outside and enjoy some fresh air. Walking is a great way to stretch your legs, exercise and decompress. It also boosts endorphins, a hormone that can improve your mood and self-esteem.
Standup desks have also become popular and can promote better circulation and increase energy levels. Even if you are seated for most of the day, desk yoga poses can help you gain strength and flexibility all while taking a well-deserved break. If you can’t leave your desk area, reading about something you enjoy or looking out the window for a few minutes can provide a relaxing distraction. There’s a lot you can do in 10 minutes.
Meditate with technology.
Technology is probably a big part of your work life and it can help you relax, too. Put a desktop background on your computer screen with a photo that makes you happy, like your family or a vacation destination. Do the same with your smartphone. Constant reminders of the things you love and enjoy most promote a feeling of calmness.
Take time to meditate. Online apps like Calm, Headspace and Buddhify guide you through a meditation session in minutes. Put in your earbuds and mindfully focus on the techniques presented to you. Meditation promotes relaxation and helps you to be fully present while working.
Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates investment firm encourages his team to participate in meditation classes and online apps to better cope with the high-pressure Wall Street environment. “It’s the greatest gift I could give anyone,” says Dalio. “It brings about equanimity, creativity and peace.”
Stay in touch.
Throughout your day, make time to connect with those around you. Take a coffee or tea break. Call your spouse or a friend and find out how their day is going. Touching base with others you care about helps you escape your working mindset for a few moments and nurture important relationships.
Staying in touch with family, friends and coworkers also gives you perspective and enhances your focus when you return to your work tasks. There are also health benefits. Positive interactions with others promote the release of oxytocin, a hormone that decreases stress. Being more social while working can also lead to better productivity, higher quality work and increased employee engagement.
People who seek human interaction are typically happier and more optimistic. “The most successful entrepreneurs I know are optimistic,” says Flickr CEO Caterina Fake. “It’s part of the job description.”
Manage your emails.
It can feel overwhelming and never-ending. There are about 125 billion emails sent worldwide each day and the average office worker receives 200 emails a day and spends nearly three hours reviewing them. Constantly sending and receiving emails can be a major source of stress throughout your day.
Remember that you don’t have to respond to every email the minute you receive it. Let the emails accumulate for a few hours then schedule specific segments of your day to review and respond to these messages. Managing your emails will increase your productivity and efficiency while lessening your stress.
Time is of the essence in the workplace. Use it wisely. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” said Apple founder and technology legend Steve Jobs.
Spending time focused on your small business is mandatory for success but feeling stressed is optional. Following these tips will help you avoid burnout, feel more relaxed and create a productive work atmosphere.
Remember to take a few moments each day to refocus and relax and encourage your employees to do the same. It will do wonders for your personal and work wellbeing.