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Small-Business Owners Are Stressed and Struggling to Unplug, Data Shows

Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

It's not easy being a small-business owner. After all, you're the one responsible for all of the major decisions, and you're the person whose reputation and finances are on the line. But new data shows that small-business owners may not be doing a good enough job of coping with the stress that comes along with running a company.

Small-business owners spend 17 full days a year worrying about business-related issues outside work, according to a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of GoDaddy. Meanwhile, 51% of small-business owners admit that they have trouble switching off from work during periods when they're not supposed to be focusing on company-related tasks.

Two men at laptop in workshop

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Of course, it's not like small-business owners aren't trying to get a break. Rather, it's that those efforts are often thwarted. Case in point: A good 41% say they often get pulled into business matters when trying to unplug.

If you're a small-business owner who's feeling overworked and overly stressed, there are steps you can take to ease some of that tension and achieve a better work-life balance. Here are a few to start with.

1. Schedule breaks during the week

Anyone who works full-time needs a chance to unplug, and small-business owners are no exception. If you're having trouble doing so, schedule time for breaks on your calendar and physically separate yourself from all electronic devices that might kill your shot at some peace and quiet. Go for a 30-minute walk every other day where you leave your phone behind, or take one afternoon off a week to do an activity you enjoy. The key is to make time for those breaks so you're less likely to skip them when work matters pop up.

2. Go on vacation

When you spend the bulk of your waking hours working, there comes a point when you need an extended break. That's why it's important to schedule vacations during the year. If you can't remember the last time you took one, book a trip during your company's slowest period, and get away for several days in a row. Doing so will help you recharge so you're able to better cope with stress.

3. Learn to outsource

Even if you're the most dedicated small-business owner out there, you really can't do it all. A good way to buy yourself more downtime and ease your stress is to identify the tasks that take up large chunks of your time, and outsource as many as you reasonably can. That could mean hiring a bookkeeper, retaining a marketer, and even bringing someone in twice a week for mindless clerical work that needs to get done.

4. Practice self-care

If you've been struggling to shake your job-related worries, it could be that you need to change up your routine. To this end, try incorporating some stress-relief activities into your week, like exercise, meditation, aromatherapy, or even a warm bath at the end of a long day. By taking steps to help your body physically, you might find that your outlook follows suit in a positive way.

If you've been working and stressing constantly, it's time to break that cycle before it causes you to burn out completely. Take steps to reduce your stress and force yourself to unplug -- because if you continue struggling on a personal level, your business might start to suffer as well.

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