9 optimal ways small business owners can cope with stress and anxiety

In previous articles we looked at some ways in which small business owners can deal with stress and anxiety. Here we are continuing to look at this topic, in order to help small business owners such as: hairstylists, barbers, nail technicians, personal trainers, dentists, pet groomers, lash artists, massage therapists, and other small business owners, deal better with the anxiety and stress in their personal and business lives. Appointfix scheduling app relieves the scheduling appointments stress for all of our users.

We’re thrilled to hear our clients’ success stories of how their small business efficiency improved, as well as their profit numbers, after starting to use Appointfix scheduling app. How can you as a small business owner win over stress and anxiety on a daily basis? There are a few different ways to attack this issue in order to conquer it.

1. The narrative in your head

When you’re in a dark valley, either personally, professionally or both, it’s easy to be intimidated by the shadows. You might feel it’s so hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. What you should do then, is to remember that the sadness and stress shall pass. They are not permanent. So if you’re going to a tough season, do not trust your feelings. Also pay very careful attention to the narrative in your head. You need to take control over your thoughts, otherwise they would control you. 

According to Harvard Health, women are twice as likely as men to be affected by anxiety disorder, which is characterized by at least 6 months of excessive, unrealistic worry over everyday problems. If you’re a small business owner woman, the challenges you face daily are multiple, and sometimes they feel overwhelming. Those are the moments when the voice in your head can tell you all kinds of lies. Things like you’re “not good enough”, “not talented enough”, or you’re “not a good entrepreneur”, or “not a good wife”, “not a good mom”, etc. Learn how to tame that voice and control your thoughts. Do not buy any of the lies. Don’t tell yourself lies! Pretty please.

2. The Beauty Queen and how to control your thoughts 

As studies claim, women are more prone to believing they are “less than” or that they are “not (beautiful, smart, good, ambitious, brave, etc.) enough”. Would you like an example? There are two coming to my mind right now, and I’m sure you have plenty as well. 

The first one is what a relative told me after he got married. He has a beautiful wife, and he said “I just wish she would see and know how beautiful she is.” Why? Because she was doubting it all the time. That’s what women tend to do at times. They doubt themselves, even if there are a million people out there seeing and telling them the contrary. As long as they have a bad narrative in their minds, there’s not much others can do. 

The second example is from the eighth grade, in a summer camp. One of the girls in my dorm room won the “Miss Summer Camp” title, being elected as the most beautiful girl, out of about 200 people. She got her crown at the Beauty Pageant festivities and won a great prize. The next morning she couldn’t find her earrings, as she misplaced them the night before. 

Without her favorite earrings she would not get out of the room. And she didn’t get out the whole morning, because she said “she was so ugly”. Whaaaat!?! You might ask, with a face palm… She was the most beautiful girl, who got a crown and a prize the night before. But the smallest thing like misplacing her favorite earrings, makes her feel “so ugly” the very next morning. Hundreds of people voted for her, admiring her stunning beauty, but nobody could change the narrative in her mind. 

Speaking of which, what is the narrative in your mind? Do you tell yourself you are going to make it, that you are kind, hard working, beautiful and strong enough? Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you’ve got what it takes! 

Tame that negative voice inside your head, and train your thoughts to think healthy and lovingly about yourself. In the next point you can see how you can do that most practically.

3. How would you encourage the person you love the most?

Someone once said: “talk to yourself as you would talk to your best friend, or the person you care the most in the world, the same way you’d encourage the friend/family member you love the most”. 

Would you ever tell the person you love most in the world, things like “you’re not good enough”, “you have no friends”, “nobody loves you” or “you’re ugly, stupid, incapable, etc.”? You would never say that to the people you love! Or to anyone else for that matter. 

Why then, would you tell them to yourself? Tame that accusing voice in your mind, stop the lies and start telling yourself the truth. You are the first person you should love, in order to love everyone else in your life. So speak kindly and lovingly to yourself. This way you can speak life and truth over yourself.

4. Set realistic goals

Getting even more practical, a good way to deal with stress and anxiety is to set realistic goals both at work, as well as at home. As a small business owner, it might be hard for you to lower your expectations. But that is wise to do when going to a more difficult season. Your ambition might tell you to reach impossible targets as usual, while wisdom is trying to tell you to slow down a little. 

When going to a rough season, don’t measure your results keeping the bar up high. Lower your expectations and set more realistic goals. Maybe you don’t need to have as many clients or to increase sales as much this month and the next. It is ok to take it easy and slow down sometimes in order to regroup, and do a better job later. After a time of rest, you can be back in the game at full speed.

5. Exercise regularly, eat healthy and rest 

According to the specialists “anxiety disorders can be treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.” If you feel really down for a prolonged period of time and don’t know what to do, a medical examination might be the right thing for you. Go have a checkup, in order to make sure there are no physical conditions that could be causing anxiety. Finding out the cause and treating the problem can help you feel great again. 

Even if anxiety disorders are common, small business owners avoid talking about their worries, thinking that others will judge them or will not understand. Sometimes they feel embarrassed or ashamed, other times they blame themselves or consider it to be a sign of personal weakness. That is not the case. And if we’re talking about an anxiety disorder, therapists and mental health professionals can look at the symptoms, diagnose the disorder and help the person manage and deal with stress.

For the majority of small business owners out there though, there’s no need for treatment. It’s all about changing a few patterns like: controlling your thoughts, changing the narrative in your head, together with exercising, eating healthy and resting. All of these can help substantially. They can come to your rescue and help you navigate well through any stormy season of life. Remember though that storms come and go, they are never permanent. So be encouraged, brace yourself and keep being strong!

6. Meditate

There are many out there who encourage people to meditate if they are going through a tough season. This can be a deeply religious thing, or simply a breathing exercise. There’s plenty of such exercises you can look online. For religious people, praying helps relieve tension and increases peace. Different religions experience it in various ways. People’s devotion to God help them navigate stormy seasons a little easier. 

For Christians, the words of the great teacher Jesus Christ, bring comfort: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, not about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap, not gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than them? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Mathew 6:25)

It’s interesting to look at the birds and learn from them not to stress so much. If we think about it, it really makes sense. Because which one of us by being anxious can bring more clients to our business? Or which of us can increase sales exponentially by being anxious and worrying? Is there anything we can do just by worrying? And if not… Why do we keep worrying so much?

In a conversation with a group of people who were worried and stressed about different personal and professional challenges, a verse from the Bible was mentioned.“Cast all your anxieties on the Lord, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The idea was to give God in prayer what is too big for you to carry, knowing how deeply He cares for people. If prayer and meditation are your thing, you can benefit from more peace of mind.  

7. The Little Prince and the pills 

As a small business owner you usually want everything to be fast. Life is busy, you are busy, things are hectic and you simply don’t have time. By the way, if you’re dealing with anxiety and stress, then energy drinks and alcohol should be the first ones off of your shopping list. They don’t help. On the contrary. So don’t use them in order to work even more in a day, or to feel more alert. 

Slow down… Take a break…

Take many breaks. And as much as possible, try to plan a real vacation every year. Even more than one holiday and as many getaways as you can. 

This short paragraph from the Little Prince is a personal favorite as it has a great lesson in it about slowing down and really enjoying life: “Good morning” said the little prince. “Good morning”, said the merchant. This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need for anything to drink. “Why are you selling those?” asked the little prince. “Because they save a tremendous amount of time,” said the merchant. “Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty-three minutes every week.” 

“And what do I do with those fifty-three minutes?” “Anything you like…” “As for me” said the little prince to himself, “if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince)

8. Don’t open the umbrella if it doesn’t rain 

When you worry and are anxious, it’s like walking on the streets with an open umbrella all the time. Someone made this comparison, and it seems so practical and visual. You walk with the open umbrella on top of your head, even if there’s no rain at all. Even if the rain comes very rarely. You just keep your umbrella open every single day, every time you get out of the house. So stop worrying and close that umbrella. You can open it when the rain comes and there’s a real reason for it. But don’t walk through life with your umbrella open, as it keeps you busy for no reason. That’s how much good worry and anxiety can do for you.

9. Appointfix can help

As mentioned in a previous article, Appointfix app who is your business friend. And Appointfix great team of people are here to make your life easier. Appointfix software makes sure your clients get their automated appointment reminders and they don’t miss their appointments. That’s how we take the stress and anxiety off of your plate. This way you can focus on what you do best as a hairstylist, barber, personal trainer, massage therapist, dentist, pet groomer, etc. We cannot help with all aspects of your small business, but we can definitely take off of your shoulders the worry of managing your clients’ appointments. Do you want to see how that works? Download Appointfix now on Google Play or the App Store!  

After looking at these different ways of overcoming anxiety, think about how you can stress less and enjoy life more. It’s absolutely normal to worry when life gets crazy, finances are low, and things are hectic. Just don’t let those worries overwhelm you. They can’t run your life. You’re the boss and you can learn to control your thoughts and pay attention to the narrative in your mind. Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and author of more than seventy books, summarizes it nicely when saying: “set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.” So let there be peace! 

Emilia is Marketing Director at Appointfix, an app helping professionals and small businesses easily schedule appointments and reduce client no-shows using automated text reminders. Feel free to drop her an email at emilia.pustan@appointfix.com.