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A Small Business Owner's Guide to Stress Management

Updated on October 12, 2018
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Haley is a Business Admin and Entrepreneurial Studies Graduate who enjoys reading and writing on business-related subjects.

There is a lot of pressure that comes with being a small business owner such as finances, growth and customer satisfaction. Dealing with these pressures on a day-to-day basis can lead to stress, and after a long time, this stress can manifest itself into physical pains and aches. Physical symptoms of stress present themselves in the wildest ways but some common ones include headaches, jaw pain, and back tension. Learning how stress affects your body and how to manage it is important. Fortunately, with help from healthy relationships, guidebooks, exercise, and a good diet, stress management is easier than it seems.


Weight gain

People manage stress in different ways, and one common option is overeating. Physically, stress causes the body’s level of cortisol to increase. Cortisol is a hormone that causes people to eat and retain calories that they have consumed. A study of college students found that 81 percent had some appetite change when they were stressed, and of those, 61 percent say they had an increase in appetite.

One way to avoid the weight gain associated with stress is by reducing the temptation to eat unhealthy foods. Keep snacks around such as dried fruits and granola and forget the number to the nearest restaurant that delivers.



Headaches are another common symptom of stress. Roughly 45 million people experience a headache each day. Studies show that increased stress is linked to a higher number of headaches per month. Stress tends to make pre-existing headaches worse, especially for people with migraines.

There are many reasons why stress leads to a headache. It can cause increased body tension, lack of sleep, increased alcohol consumption and dehydration. Help prevent a stress-induced headache by keeping hydrated and incorporating breathing exercises to relieve muscle tension.


Digestive problems

No one wants to talk about it, but stress can cause both diarrhea and constipation. People with irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease are especially prone to these symptoms during times of stress. Other symptoms include stomach pain and bloating.

One reason for the digestive issues is that the colon is linked to the nervous system. Another reason is due to changes in diet and dehydration. Some digestive issues go away on their own when the stress passes. But people should be proactive and focus on eating healthy foods that include a heavier portion of vegetables and fruits.



One of the most visible signs of stress is the blemishes that can appear on the face. The reasoning is simple, as people who are more stressed tend to touch their faces more often. This leads to the spread of bacteria that ends up clogging pores. Some people with stress also tend to sweat more, which leads to acne.

The best way to treat acne flare-ups caused by stress is with products made using sodium sulfacetamide. A sulfur face wash solution that has green tea (an antioxidant) and aloe (anti-inflammatory properties) will deeply clean the pores and manage any blotchiness or red patches. If the acne persists, it may be time to visit the doctor for stronger prescription options.


Lowered immunity

If left unchecked, stress days can turn into sick days. This is because stress puts pressure on the immune system and makes people prone to infections. A study conducted over a six-month period found people with high stress had 70 percent more respiratory infections than the group with low stress. Those people also had 60 percent more days of symptoms than the low-stress group.

One way to protect against sickness is by taking daily vitamins to boost the immune system. If symptoms of a cold are already there, try to find an over-the-counter medication to help the body fight it faster. There are other supplements available such as Emergen-C that is packed with Vitamin C to help the immune system fight back.


Body pain

Stress can manifest itself into a variety of body pains from the jaw to the shoulders, neck and back area. A lot of this is due to the tension people hold in their bodies during times of stress. Tension causes people to clench their jaw, grind their teeth and hunch over while sitting or standing.

The best way to manage body pain is by massages and daily stretches. Consider adding simple yoga stretches to the daily routine in the morning or at night before bed. Other ways to reduce physical pain is through a calming bath or sweating it out in a sauna. Surprisingly, physical exercise is great for managing body tension too.

Everyone has periods of stress, but it’s especially important for a small business owner to take it seriously. Not only does stress affect your health, but it can also harm the health of the business. Help reduce stress by writing things down and keeping organized. This can help you pinpoint what is causing you to feel pressure in the first place and figure out ways to solve it. Good health is also key. A combination of proper diet and even a short walk every day can do wonders for the body.

Finally, make sure to take a break.


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