I’m not a fan of stress. I don’t enjoy it. I haven’t actually met anyone who did. Some people say they strive on stress, but I don’t think that means the same thing as enjoying it. It takes a toll on your body, your energy and the people around you.

Starting and running a business is tough! It’s stressful and it’s full time. But don’t forget to take the time for yourself. You may not include massages or time on your mountain bike as business expenses, but in the long run they can be as important to your business as your computer or paperclips.

Over the years I’ve collected little pieces of advice from various sources that helped me get through particularly stress filled times. So take a deep breath… no really. Take a breath right now… ahhhh. Now read on.

1. Move. Standing up, stretching and walking around wakes you up and gets your blood and oxygen working and flowing. Try never to sit at your desk for long stretches of time. Even if it’s just a couple circles around the cubical maze, take time to move your body.

2. Put the big rocks first. I love this one. When you map out your day with your to-do lists and schedules, figure out what your big and important projects are and work on those first, all the “sand” and “little rocks” will fit in around those and you’ll find you accomplish things a lot faster. I know when I started thinking of my day in these terms, I felt a lot more relaxed in how I got my day situated and done.

3. Accomplish something. I love marking things off as complete. Nothing makes me feel success quite like accomplishing a whole list of ‘things to do’. Even when it’s small stuff. It’s still important. If I could throw a party for myself at the end of each day for all the great things I accomplished that day, I really would. And I’d invite all of you, and we’d have cake.

4. Play. Remember when you were little and the best part of your day was jumping into a huge vat of brightly colored squishy balls? Or jumping up and down on your toes because it made your pigtails go up and down? When did we stop doing that? Why did we stop playing hopscotch or jump rope. I want recess! When you leave the office, leave the office. Don’t bring it home with you. Home is for playing with the dog, weeding the flower garden, cooking a masterpiece, building the rest of that fence you only half finished before winter set in. Balance is a beautiful and healthy thing.

5. Enjoy Life. This is it. You only get this one shot. Make it count. And keep in mind that it’s generally not as bad as you first think. Stop, take a break, come back to it and you’ll figure it out. I promise.

‘Chelle Parmele
Social Media Zen Marketing Master
Palo Alto Software