Stress Management for Entrepreneurs

Sylvana Lewin, Tuesday July 10th 2018

Pursuing an entrepreneurial career is a rewarding path for many, who love the ability to be their own boss, the opportunity to innovate, and all the perks that come with the entrepreneurial lifestyle. However, being an entrepreneur also comes with its fair share of stressors.

Everyone experiences stress from time to time. While stress can be beneficial, exposing your body repetitively to undue amounts of stress can lead to long-lasting health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, anxiety, depression, and more. Every person has indicators of stress, and it’s important to become familiar with your own so you can take steps to prevent burn out. Some common stress signals are sweating, increased heart rate, headache, fatigue, and nausea. Symptoms can range from emotional to physical, to cognitive to behavioral.

Stress isn’t always avoidable, but there are steps that can be taken to make it much more manageable. From eating a healthier diet to practicing meditation, here are some techniques for stress management!

Healthy Eating

Stress has been linked to higher levels of cortisol, high blood pressure, and more. Certain foods have properties that help to battle these and some of the other ways stress can impact the body. Here are just a few foods you can add into your diet to help with stress and how they can help your body.

  • Avocados and Bananas - Rich in potassium, these are great for keeping blood pressure low.

  • Swiss Chard, Spinach, and Other Leafy Greens - Leafy greens are rich in minerals that help balance cortisol, the hormone that is linked with stress.

  • Fatty Fish - Fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are high in omega-3, which help manage adrenaline levels that can spike when stressed.

  • Nuts - Almonds and other nuts contain vitamins and zinc that boost your immune system to help fight the effects of stress.

  • Chocolate - This sweet treat is perfect in small amounts for combating stress. The sugar in chocolate causes the body to release serotonin.

Aside from the foods above, adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is always a good idea as they contain important nutrients to help keep our bodies going. If you’re looking for some tasty recipes to add these stress fighting foods to your life, try this grilled salmon recipe with avocado salsa or this chocolate chip banana bread!


When healthy, people should aim to exercise nearly every day. According to Harvard, rhythmic, repetitive motions such as walking, running, and swimming can elicit the relaxation response. Exercises such as yoga and pilates can also alleviate stress.

If you’re struggling to find a time to fit exercise into your schedule or simply don’t want to pay for a gym membership, there are alternatives. Simple adjustments like walking instead of driving or taking a taxi and taking the stairs instead of an elevator can add a little more movement to your day. If you’re looking for some ideas for workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home, the free Nike Training Club app offers over 100 guided workouts.

Breathing Exercises

There are a variety of breathing techniques you can try for some instant stress relief. It’s helpful to practice these a few times each day and make sure you are mindful of your breathing while practicing.

[caption id="attachment_7148" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Entrepreneurs at MEST practice belly breathing. Entrepreneurs at MEST practice belly breathing.[/caption]

Belly Breathing

  • Place your hands on your stomach and chest

  • Take a deep breath in through your nose, making sure the air expands into your stomach

  • Hold the breath in for 10 seconds

  • Breathe out slowly through pursed lips

Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Hold the right thumb over the right nostril

  • Inhale deeply through the left nostril

  • At peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger

  • Exhale through the right nostril

  • Continue pattern

Every person has different stress management techniques that work best for them. The above can help, but things like journaling, reading, spending time with friends, or simply taking a break can also be viable techniques. Stay self aware and learn which techniques work best for you so that the next time you start to sense yourself getting stressed, you can pull one of your favorite techniques out!