Managing your stress - checklist

Stressed man sitting in his desk

Running a business is a big responsibility, and owners often suffer from stress. Read our hints on how to manage overwork and the associated health problems

  • Recognise physical symptoms of stress such as headaches and tension, upset stomach, continual tiredness or problems sleeping.
  • Acknowledge behavioural symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, excessive smoking or drinking or communication problems.
  • Understand work symptoms such as inability to focus, poor decision-making, loss of enthusiasm or feeling overloaded.
  • Identify any work causes such as unrealistic targets and deadlines, bad time management and overlong hours, or poor working relationships.
  • Identify any domestic contributors such as money or relationship problems, or bereavement.
  • Tackle any workplace causes of stress: for example, refuse additional work, delegate any tasks that can be outsourced and work to improve working relationships.
  • Break down big jobs into smaller, achievable tasks, and decide what to prioritise and recognise each step you achieve.
  • Try to resolve non-work issues. Can you arrange extra assistance with childcare and domestic chores? Consider whether it is possible to take time away from work to unwind and sort out relationship problems.
  • Try to accept causes you cannot change, and remind yourself of other, positive aspects to your life.
  • Accept your limitations and avoid taking stress out on others instead of dealing with the problem.
  • Get support: talk problems over with friends, join a group of others in a similar position, or get a business mentor.
  • Ask for help from work colleagues, family or friends. Admitting you are struggling is not a sign of weakness.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle: eat properly, take exercise or practise relaxation techniques.
  • Download and use apps designed to help alleviate stress.
  • Be active: physical activities and hobbies are far more relaxing and effective at relieving stress than watching television or worrying.
  • Take breaks during the working day; set aside 'quality time' at home, and plan (and take) long weekends and holidays.
  • Learn how you react to pressure and how you can best deal with stress. Work to avoid negative responses.

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