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How To Manage Stress As A Small Business Owner


Hey, Hot Mess fans, I’m Melanie, and I work on the marketing side of things here at Hot Mess! I’m an administrator; it’s what I do without even thinking about it.

So a hectic week for me includes many small jobs that need to be tracked and implemented. A hectic week for me means my bucket is full because I am doing all the little tasks I love to do.

But don’t ask me “like” ever ask me to “people.” Talking to strangers on the phone or zoom calls means I need a nap, as my bucket is very empty!

We all have those tasks that fill our bucket and those tasks that empty our bucket or cause us stress! Learning about yourself and what fills or empties your bucket is an essential part of running your business.

As small business owners, we wear all the hats until we’ve grown our business and can subcontract or employ someone else to wear the hat you hate the most. Or the hat that empties your bucket the quickest.

So today, I wanna chat with those small boutique owners who are still wearing all the hats and feel super burnt out! Or close to burnt out!

⭐Firstly, well done on all you’ve done - you’re a ROCK STAR!⭐

Running your own business is not for sissies; it takes a whole lot of guts and determination to get to where you are now! The pandemic definitely has not helped things!

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So what can you do to prevent yourself from burning out while you juggle your business and your family, your physical and mental health? Here are my top places to focus on:

Start with a list of all the things you need to do!

I know that sounds so very overwhelming, but really it’s super helpful in the long run; writing things down means that they aren’t running around in your head all day.

Prioritize your list!

Set out the things that will earn you money, do those first. Sort the big tasks into time blocks and do one bit of that big task every day. Here in South Africa, we call it “eating an elephant one bite at a time.” Do one thing every day that causes you stress (only one!).

Over time as you repeat that one thing that causes the stress, it becomes less stressful; you won’t love to do it. But it won’t be as painful as that first time you did it!

Take regular breaks

Now this one I am super bad at! So I listen to podcasts while I work or teachings or training, and when that episode is over, I get up and stretch and go and grab a snack or a coffee. You just need 5 minutes to reset! You will find you are productive for longer, and the day tends to go faster too. However, that’s not always a great thing!

Get regular exercise

It sounds so very simple, but we all overlook this until we discover that we have stress eaten ourselves into the next size clothes! Then we all look at the latest fad diet, and then we yoyo to diet until we end up physically sick. That’s not the way.

Schedule into your calendar 20 minutes three times a week and go and do something you love to do. I have a running app on my phone at the moment, it’s free, and there are dozens of them out there. Try a couple of different ones or join a gym or dance class! But do something to get your body moving for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times a week.

Mental Check-in

We are all uniquely different, so what works for me won’t necessarily work for you.

But one thing that we all need to do is have a buddy with who we can “check-in”! Someone you feel like you can chat to and be heard, someone who can call you on your stuff and push you to get help if it gets really bad.

Activities that can help your mental health include gardening, meditative breathing, or even just sitting in the sun with a good book. Eating enough healthy fat and protein is very underrated and actually an obvious solution to managing our stress!

Think about it, when you feel stressed, you want to do one of two things, sleep or eat! Now, if you choose healthy nuts, fruits and seeds, you will benefit in two ways. Your body will get all the phytonutrients it needs to keep going, and you might even lose a pound or two.

And finally, why are gardening and sitting in the sun such powerful tools? Did you know that the onset of seasonal depression has been linked to not spending enough time outdoors in the sun? Either because it’s the middle of winter and you stay in an area that has little to no daytime sun or because it’s warmer inside in your blanket by the fireplace.

Pre-cook meals

After a full day of work, coming home or switching off the computer and heading to the kitchen to come up with a meal plan has me just wanting to run away on tough days!

Then more often than not, on those tough days, it’s only to arrive at the kitchen and discover that the easy meal you thought you could make, you don’t have all the ingredients on hand.

On those days, then order in! If you can, of course, if you can’t because the pandemic has left you counting every penny. In that case, grab your pre-cooked meal out of the freezer and heat and serve!

It takes a little planning and a little help from your spouse if you have kiddos. But it’s so very worth it, on nights where you feel like curling up into a ball and just giving up on life!

(PS, also, that’s an indicator you skipped your check-in chat!)

In a nutshell, pre-make three meals for your week.

    • Choose two family favorites and one you have been dying to try.
    • Make a list of all the ingredients you need.
    • Check your pantry cross off what you have - send the spouse to the store to purchase the rest! Or use the local grocery store’s app and get it delivered.

Do not, and I can’t stress this enough, go to the store with the kiddos! This grocery trip is the ultimate quick in and out!


  • Schedule playdates for the kiddos or have your spouse take them to the park.
  • Prep each meal and cook them.
  • Let them cool, and place them in freezable (preferably oven or microwave proof) as well containers and freeze until needed.
  • Do this once a week.

With the kiddos and spouse out of the house, you might discover this time alone, and prep for your family fills your bucket again!

If you read this far in your hectic schedule - Thank you! I hope you can implement one or two of my tips and actually find some sanity in the business of life!

Until we meet again, have a fabulous day, and don’t forget to check out the amazing resources we have here at Hot Mess to get you and keep you on top of your tasks and running a successful boutique!

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