August 15th is Relaxation Day. If we asked you to picture the life of an entrepreneur, it is doubtful that you would picture relaxation. Small business owners live by the hustle. They know that their hard work directly translates to the success of their business. As a result, entrepreneurs feel pressure to never take a break.

In reality, relaxation is an essential component of high performance as a business owner. Burnout is real, and can be detrimental to your business’s operations. At 3 Steps to Start Up, our collective experience has proven that relaxation enhances business performance!

We have all lived through the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship, and may have experienced or come dangerously close to “burnout.” According to webMD, “burnout is a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling swamped.” That’s right, it’s considered a legitimate medical condition. This may surprise business owners because of how common they experience extreme stress. Regardless, the consequences of burnout are equally extreme:

  • It can lead to you making silly but costly mistakes, like missing important deadlines or making accounting errors.
  • Your overwhelmed mental state may lead you to treat partners or employees poorly, leading to the loss of valuable team members.
  • Your attitude may trickle down to those working around you.
  • Burnout is a serious mental health issue and can lead to deep depression or other medical conditions.

Burnout can set in quickly during a particularly busy period of work. However, it doesn’t leave quite as quickly: if burnout takes hold, the consequences may not be brief. Experts say that “once a phase of stress or overwork has turned into burnout, it takes at least 11 weeks to recover from it.” Many individuals take years to fully recover and function at 100% again. Small business owners don’t have time for that type of recovery. Avoiding burnout before it starts is key!

This brings us back to relaxation. Relaxation is a helpful tool that many overlook. After all, who would ever think, “I need to just stop and relax,” when they have a miles-long to-do list? Your mind and body need to recharge in order for your performance to soar. Here are 6 relaxation-inspired techniques for success in your workplace and lifestyle:

  • Meditation

Meditation is a quick ritual you can incorporate into your daily routine. This is just one video out of thousands available online. Curating a library of meditative videos can help guide you into a lifestyle where you prioritize small periods of relaxation daily. There are meditations for all occasions – some for after a stressful work day; some for managing a tough deadline. You don’t need to use a video, either. There are podcasts built around this need as well. Yoga is a powerful tool for stress-relief, too!

  • Create a Culture that Values Balance

Work-life balance is different for everyone. As an employer, you should be mindful that valuing rest is beneficial for all. Burnout leads to more absenteeism among employees. Worse, a cutthroat high-pressure work environment leads to more turnover. Both of these issues are productivity killers, so creating a positive culture that values relaxation (at times) motivates employees to stay with the company and invest in its success. The effect is cumulative: it allows you to spend less time micro-managing and have more balance in your own life.

  • Stop Procrastinating

Procrastinating may seem like you’re spending time relaxing instead of tackling your checklist now, but in reality, procrastination is depriving you of your relaxation time later while you continue to stress over the to-dos looming in the meantime. Reframe putting tasks off as punishing “later you” and taking away truly “free” time. Even if you avoid tasks now, they still exist to stress you out until they are completed.

  • Say “No” Sometimes

As an entrepreneur, you know that your business’s success is partly owed to taking chances and saying “yes.” However, its success (and your success) also depends on your ability to say no to excess work that you may not be able to handle. Saying yes to too much can eliminate any time you have to relax and recharge.

  • Rethink Your Digital Boundaries

With email and phone available 24/7, entrepreneurs have tools to do business during every moment of the day. But should they? Lots of burnout comes from the constant barrage of work, even during times entrepreneurs should be resting. Consider having “offline hours” for your devices. Most phones have “do not disturb” modes that can be activated on a schedule. Have a strict “no weekends” policy if you think that would be helpful. Regardless, define digital boundaries and stick to them.

Taking a physical break is necessary for all business owners, even if they feel that they “don’t have time.” Vacations can be incredibly motivating. Approaching a vacation, you will feel a push to complete and wrap-up tasks. Then, when you return, you will be motivated to get back into the swing of things with a clear mind. One final tip – when you go on vacation, make sure it’s a true vacation, free of work stress. Set an “out of office” notification and designate someone to contact for immediate needs. Even if you are hundreds of miles away, your phone can connect you to the stresses of work, so cut that cord!


Regardless of your relaxation strategies, never forget that you are not alone! As a network of entrepreneurs, 3 Steps to Start Up is here to support your success in business. We know that in order to continue West Virginia’s economic climb, entrepreneurs need the knowledge and resources we can provide. Contact us today for support in starting or growing your small business!

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