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5 Tips on Dealing with CEO Stress


Everyone likes to admire the freedom which comes with being a businessman, but that freedom comes with different restrictions and responsibilities. Dale Carnegie talked about how a person may start a business in a field in which he enjoys, only to lose that enjoyment as he becomes overwhelmed by his responsibilities. With that enjoyment replaced by burnout, the business eventually fails.

Every businessman should worry about burnout caused by stress, and not just let that stress fester until it becomes too much. And while anyone can look up tips to relieve stress in general, here are a few specific which any entrepreneur should think about.

  1. Don’t do everything alone

The best businessmen are not supermen who handle everything by themselves. The best businessmen are those who know what they are best at and can trust others to handle different aspects of the business.

All too often, small business owners are convinced that they can run everything by themselves. A poll showed that only 30 percent of business owners have confidence in their delegation abilities. The other 70 percent of owners try to act as a one-man army, but this additional work serves to increase stress.

Learn to delegate your responsibilities. If you cannot afford to hire an employee, hire a virtual assistant who can screen your calls and do light administrative work for you. Try to focus your work on the aspects which you are the most skilled at.

Delegation is not just good for your own mental health. A business which is completely dependent on one person’s ability is always at risk of failure should something serious happen to him. By learning to pass on responsibilities, you will benefit the business in the long run as well as your own mental health.

  1. Exercise

Scientists and researcher have thoroughly documented the positive effects of exercise on stress relief. While stress relievers such as deep breathing and meditation work, exercise offers much of the mental focus and concentration of those activities while also releasing endorphins which increase your positive emotions.

Entrepreneurs can gain more than most with exercise. Practically every entrepreneur carries a competitive side which exercise can sate. Even solitary sports such as running or swimming carry a competitive aspect as you try to improve. The different environment of a gym or the outdoors is also a good contrast compared to being stuck in home or an office.

Being a businessman is an inherently mental occupation. Indulge in the physical to relieve the stress that comes with it.

  1. Make a thorough to-do list

Even if you are not a businessman yet, you have undoubtedly encountered a situation where there was so much work to do that you had no idea how to even get started. Being overwhelmed like that is paralyzing and depressing. In the worst case scenario, you may do nothing at all, convinced that you cannot make things better.

That sort of thinking is never healthy. Break down any big problem into smaller, manageable chunks. Set an amount of work which you can handle every day. Take some time to discuss your situation.

Erika Andersen with Forbes has some additional, useful tips to prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do. As noted above, avoid trying to do everything yourself and break your assignments up so that you know you can get a certain amount of work done every day.

  1. Act, not react

Stress happens as part of the day to day grind, but it truly manifests itself when a crisis occurs. When disaster hits, our instincts tell us to do something in response, even if it is nothing more than freaking out.

But it is your reason, not your instincts and emotion, which will make a successful business. Do not just try to do something when disaster hits. Take two to three minutes to calm down, breathe deeply, and get over what emotions you are feeling. Then reach a decision on what to do.  

These actions will lower your stress and ensure a sounder response.

  1. Work is work, and life is life

You have probably heard that an entrepreneur should be expected to work around 70 hours per week. And if you can truly, honestly pull that off with getting burned out, good for you.

But no matter how much you work, you have to set some time for yourself when you are not to be disturbed. Think of how the 9 to 5 worker can look forward to the weekend, knowing that there is a time where he can take a break and settle his own affairs. While your break period does not have to be for two straight days, always take a moment to set a period of personal space.

You may love your work, but you cannot let it consume everything about you. Setting a place and time for work and a separate for your other affairs will keep you more organized and reduce your stress.

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