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Lead Your Team Personal Growth

25 Entrepreneurs Share Their Stress-Busting Secrets

25 Entrepreneurs Share Their Stress-Busting Secrets
Credit: NorSob/Shutterstock

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and no one understands that better than entrepreneurs. Running a business (or several!) is no easy feat, especially if you're responsible for every task all on your own. We asked entrepreneurs how they handle the stress of running their businesses, and here's what they had to share.

No. 1: "Juggling many moving parts has become my new normal, but there are days when it becomes extremely stressful. How do I handle it? List writing is huge for me. Once I write everything down — the old-fashioned way: in a journal! — I can take on one obstacle at a time. It gives me structure, semblance of what direction I'm headed and some sanity." – Emily Schmitz, founder, MedVoice PR

No. 2: "The one thing that truly keeps me sane is exercise. It's my time — even if it's just a 30-minute run — to disconnect from work, emails, calls and my to-do list, and zone out. Running clears my mind, and I schedule it as an appointment in my calendar, usually first thing in the a.m. If I can't de-stress, it makes managing the day-to-day [and the] clients and freelancers I have working for me even more challenging." – Robin Diamond, founder, Robin Diamond Public Relations

No. 3: "I manage stress by playing basketball and cooking. I find my life is totally saturated with digital work. A lot of my stress comes as a result of doing work that doesn't yield immediate results. Brand development, partnerships and community building all take place online or remotely. I find physical and tangible activities like cooking provide immense relief. It feels good to use my hands and creativity for something that feels real." – Max Joles, co-founder, MadebyAdventure

No. 4: "My husband and I own a wedding photography business, which means between client meetings, engagement sessions and wedding days, our schedule fills up very quickly! About a year into our business, I instituted Pajama Mondays. We do this almost every week, and it is a day that, no matter what, we don't leave the house. Some days, we get to take it as an off day, and some days are superproductive with editing, marketing, finances, etc. But either way, we stay in our pajamas and treat ourselves to a day of self-care with no expectations from the outside world." – Becki Smith, owner, Smith House Photography

No. 5: "I start my mornings about half an hour earlier to gather myself and regain focus by taking this extra time to meditate. That brief moment each day has become my sanctuary, the only time when business isn't on my mind. Taking the time to refresh the mind can do wonders, considering that most people wake up rushed and scramble to get to work, which often sets the tone for the rest of the day. This habit really helps me improve my mental and physical health." – Aron Susman, co-founder, TheSquareFoot

No. 6: "Being an online entrepreneur can mean spending hours in front of the computer and adopting a hermit-like life during the week. After trying exercising and meditation and seeing myself skipping out on those way too often, I decided to try walking my neighbor's dog daily. I do it for free, as this is not my job but my stress-buster. It worked. Knowing that there is a little [dog] waiting for me gives me the accountability I need to get out and exercise. Plus, she makes all the worries melt away for the time that we are together." – Vanessa Theiss, digital marketer and Facebook strategist

No. 7: "When I'm feeling overly stressed, I stop the madness and focus on a single task that is causing me to feel overwhelmed — preferably the smallest — until it's done. I also try to consciously stop myself from blowing things out of proportion. You may have a lot of things to get done, but they can easily be knocked out in chunks. Don't allow your mind to make mountains out of molehills." – Angie Nelson, owner, TheWorkAtHomeWife.com

No. 8: "A couple months ago, I started including fun things on my to-do lists, like grabbing drinks with friends, going to the gym, getting a manicure, etc. Putting those things on the same list as updating my expenses, submitting artwork to my screen printers or updating products on my website forces me to value them as much as I do real work and makes them a priority for me to accomplish. It's a little mind trick I play on myself, but it allows me to have a great work-life balance that I struggled with before!" – Maddy Sasso, president, Pinkly Perfect

No. 9: "I love doing CrossFit at 6 a.m. to reduce stress. I do this three mornings each week, and it has really helped me to focus on the business later in the day. My CrossFit time is a great way to get away from the daily pressures and just have fun!" – Keith Miller, co-owner, Pampered Pooch Playground

No. 10: "A lot of my stress originates from the office. Getting outside, getting fresh air and allowing myself 15 minutes of silence helps me breathe, understand why I'm feeling overwhelmed, and helps grant a sense of clarity that I can use to better understand and tackle the problem." – Jonathan LeRoux, CEO, TurtlePie Solutions

No. 11: "Spending more time with family — cooking for them and playing with my 18-month-old son — goes a very long way to deal with my stress. It helps me erase the negative thoughts that the stress leads to, even if it's temporary." – Gennady Borukhovich, co-founder and CTO, FarFaria [See Related Story: 16 Entrepreneurs Share Their Definitions of Success]

No. 12: "Three years ago, I knew that I needed something to alleviate stress, and although I run marathons and do triathlons, they sometimes created more stress. So, I took up surfing at the age of 40! I love that it takes me completely away from everything, and it has taught me patience, humility and perseverance. I might never be a great surfer, but surfing has definitely changed my business life!" – Alexia Bregman, CEO and chief marketing officer, Vuka

No. 13: "I love going to a movie by myself. It takes my mind off of work for a few hours, and I get excited to check my emails after the movie — maybe I made some sales!" – Amy Chandler, creator, The Cibo

No. 14: "I need a good playlist on Spotify or Apple Music to tackle stress. Good music is my vice. It allows me to step outside of my current stress, reanalyze the entire situation and tackle the issue head-on." – Phillip Singleton, lobbyist and founder and CEO, Singleton Consulting

No. 15: "For me, the best way to quickly and almost instantaneously alleviate stress is to go for a long drive on the highway while listening to a good audio book. It's kind of hypnotic, which takes away from stressful thoughts, and also motivates me and helps me problem solve at the same time." – Greg Loukas, president and founder, Brain Forza

No. 16: "I deal with stress by driving to visit my baby nieces. I find they are the only thing that knock me out of my stress. Since I don't have kids, I need them to remind me that the things I'm stressing about are probably moronic. I also won't touch my work when I'm around them because I don't want to set a bad example, and I want to be totally present when I get to see them." – Marcie Rogo, co-founder, Stitch

No. 17: "When I'm feeling stressed, I'll go do a Muay Thai — kickboxing — session. It requires so much energy and concentration, it's impossible to keep thinking about work. And you're so completely exhausted by the end of it, you simply forget what you were stressed about to begin with." – Travis Bennett, founder and managing director, Studio Digita

No. 18: "I go back to things I enjoyed before business became a pressing concern. I will turn off the phone, grab a drink and watch a basketball game — sometimes, [I] even go to an actual game, if I can get tickets. Spending some time with something I really enjoy at a personal level helps to put things in perspective — and after a game and a good night's sleep, the energy and ideas are really cranking for the best." – Terence Channon, managing director and founder, SaltMines Group

No. 19: "Sometimes when I'm stressed, I'll take a break from work and find a funny video or website to make me laugh. I've found that it's really hard to be stressed and laughing at the same time. So once I can get myself laughing from something silly on the internet, I immediately start to feel much better." – Tom Casano, founder, Life Coach Spotter

No. 20: "I handle stress by clearing my inbox. No matter what I'm stressed about, if I can take care of cleaning up and organizing my email inbox a little bit, it always really helps me feel better. If I can stop whatever I'm doing or whatever I'm worried about for even 20 minutes and get a little organized, it always makes me feel more relaxed and like I have less on my plate." – Stefanie Parks, founder, DermWarehouse

No. 21: "When experiencing a lot of stress at work, it's always nice to escape. I captain a boat, and when I can, I go out on the water. I become totally consumed by the beauty and challenge of navigating the water, and it's a great way for me to handle my stress and relax." – Linda Passant, CEO, The Halo Group

No. 22: "I handle stress by talking about it out loud, sometimes even to myself. Working out a problem verbally helps me see the issues better, and sometimes, I realize it's not such a problem after all." – Robert von Geoben, founder, Green Toys

No. 23: "I have found that the greatest way to relieve the stress is to shut everything down for 30 minutes. I've learned that my business will not collapse in 30 minutes. In that 30 minutes, I may meditate or take a walk, or listen to some calming music. But regardless, I do not take a single call or check text messages or emails." – Lisa Cash Hanson, CEO, Snuggwugg

No. 24: "I'm a firm believer that the morning routine starts the night before. If I can get to sleep before 11 p.m., everything seems to go smoothly the next day. If it's a 2 a.m. night, the next morning — and basically the entire next day — is shot." – Allan Staker, founder, Brain Chase

No. 25: "The thing I do on a daily basis that guarantees me a healthier and less stressful day is practicing gratitude. It really is as simple as that. I close my eyes, and I think over what I have been lucky enough to get in my life. I remember where I am and who I have in my life. I remember what I was able to accomplish and that I want to continue that growth." – Roberta Perry, president and owner, ScrubzBody