How to deal with stress

Manage your own stress


Owner-managers and self-employed people need to learn to spot the signs of their own stress and take steps to tackle it.

Signs that you might be experiencing stress yourself could include:

  • poor judgement and indecisiveness
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • a lack of assertiveness
  • irritability, aggressiveness, depression or loss of sense of humour
  • physical symptoms such as breathlessness, headaches, chest pains, nausea, sleeplessness, high blood pressure and constant tiredness

Stress can be worse if you work alone. If you have no one to confide in, it can be easy for things to get out of hand.

This can be a particular problem for owner-managers who don't have the support of a management team. They may feel under pressure to work through periods of stress to ensure the continuity of the business. Although employees expect the managing director to know what to do in a given situation, you may in fact need help yourself.

In addition, business owners often have significant capital invested in the business, putting added pressure on key decisions.

One way of dealing with this is to network with people running businesses of a similar size to talk through each other's problems.

You might even bring in a mentor to help you cope with the pressures of running your business.

How to cope with stress

If you are suffering from stress, you need to try to:

  • identify and tackle the underlying causes
  • practise relaxation techniques
  • improve your diet and cut back where appropriate on smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • do regular exercise
  • avoid regularly working long hours if at all possible
  • make sure you take holidays

Find out about managing your own stress levels.