How to manage stress when running a business

Updated: 24th November 2021

How company directors and business owners can reduce workplace stress

Unfortunately stress is part and parcel of life, even more so when running a business. In small doses stress can actually be beneficial for your productivity and creativity; it can give you the energy you need to perform at your highest level, keep motivation up, and push you to meet deadlines.

However, if left unmanaged stress can lead to burnout and have serious knock-on effects on your overall health and wellbeing. As a company director, it is likely you will face more stress than most while at work; you should therefore be aware of the impending signs of stress and take steps to mitigate potentially stressful situations as much as possible. Here are our top tips to reducing stress and help you thrive in the workplace:

1.      Don’t bottle it up – The best way to ease any stress you are experiencing is to talk to someone. The old adage ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ really does ring true here. Share your concerns with any co-workers you feel comfortable around; you may be surprised at how they react and they may even be able to help lighten the load.

2.      Look after your physical health – Eat well and make the time to exercise. Even something as small as a 20 minute walk during your lunch break can do wonders for clearing your head and re-energising you for the afternoon. Eating small healthy meals throughout the day rather than reaching for high sugar, high fat snacks is not only much better for your health, but it also helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels, energy, and mood throughout the day.

3.      Get your 8 hours – Do not underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is the body’s opportunity to rejuvenate, replenish, and recover from the day’s activities. Lack of sleep has been proven to increase stress levels, however, this can often be a vicious cycle as stress makes it more likely for individuals to suffer from insomnia. If you do struggle getting your eight hours a night try sticking to a schedule by going to bed and getting up at the same time each night. You should find your body learns to adapt to this new rhythm. 

4.      Be clear with your work-life balance – Having boundaries between your home and work life is vitally important for everyone; however, as a company director you are more likely to take work home with you than most. While this may sometimes be unavoidable, it is highly recommended that you give yourself some time where you can switch off from work and enjoy your downtime. You should think of this on a daily, weekly, and also a yearly level.  Taking the time to recharge your batteries, whether this is in the evening or at the weekend is just as important as taking a longer break once or twice a year.

5.      Organise and prioritise – Ensure your tasks are prioritised and you have a plan in place so you know what to tackle when you arrive in the office. It often helps to write down a ‘to-do’ list to ensure you are concentrating on the important things rather than getting bogged down in less crucial matters. Sometimes just the act of writing down what you have to do helps take a weight off your mind and helps you focus on the things that really matter and will make a difference to your business.

6.      Consider taking on some additional support – If you are in the position to take on an employee, or an additional employee, this is well worth considering if your workload is stretching you to breaking point. One of the benefits of running your own company is the ability to make these sort of key decisions rather than being forced to work with the resources given to you by an employer. Of course being able to do this will depend on whether you have the necessary finances to fund an additional salary and whether you feel comfortable handing over some of your responsibilities to someone else.

If you are the director of a limited company whose financial issues are causing you stress, you should make it a priority to speak to an expert who can help. Left alone financial problems have a habit of getting worse and spiralling out of control. Real Business Rescue can provide help and advice to company directors and sole traders on a whole range of business issues. Whether you are feeling pressure from HMRC, unable to pay your suppliers on time, or are worried about falling sales, we can help. Call us today to arrange a free no-obligation consultation with one of our insolvency experts. Real Business Rescue provide director advice online, over the phone, or in-person at one of our 100 UK offices or a place of your convenience.

Keith Tully


0800 644 6080
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