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Tips for dealing with stress in uncertain times

By Samantha Garner | April 4, 2020

mental health for entrepreneurs

Being an entrepreneur can be stressful anyway, let alone during a time like our current COVID-19 pandemic. As a small business owner, you’re likely under a fair amount of stress and anxiety. Here are some ways you can help reduce your stress and anxiety in uncertain times.

Exercise

You don’t have to suddenly start an at-home weight-training routine if that’s not what you’re used to, but exercise is proven to reduce stress. Take a few minutes to do whatever movement works for you, whether it’s yoga, the treadmill in your basement, or going for a walk around the block if you can do so while maintaining social distancing. Check out our post on exercises you can do at your desk.

Try “box breathing”

Studies suggest that breathing deeply from your diaphragm, instead of shallowly from the top of your lungs, can calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system.

Box breathing, or square breathing, is a method of deep, focused breathing that can help you feel a little better almost right away. Check out Healthline’s site for tips on box breathing for beginners and experts alike.

Open up to someone

We’re all experiencing stress, but the good thing about that is we can all relate to each other. Don’t feel you have to go through this alone, or that you shouldn’t feel stressed because others have it worse. This is an unprecedented time, and there is no one “right” way to behave. So, with that said, call, text, or video chat with a friend or loved one who you can trust. Even the act of talking about your feelings can help to relieve them.

Reduce your exposure to media

With our 24-hour news cycle, endless social media outlets, and the rapidly-changing nature of the pandemic, it can feel like you have to be plugged in at all times. However, this can lead to feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. It’s important to stay informed, but don’t feel you have to have your eyes on the news at all times. Let yourself check in now and then, and then move on to something else.

Allow yourself to do things you enjoy

Letting yourself unwind and enjoy a pleasurable activity without guilt can go miles in reducing your stress and anxiety. In fact, activities such as colouring and watching comedies can be good for your mental health – so they’re not frivolous at all!

Most importantly – be gentle with yourself. We’re all feeling unsettled and confused right now, and nobody expects you to be perfect. These aren’t normal times, so don’t expect your life to be exactly the way it used to be. Stay informed and follow the guidelines given for flattening the curve, but take the time to check in with yourself and make your mental health a priority.

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