Learn How to Deal with Feeling Overwhelmed

A recent report[1] of 3,000 U.S. small business owners found high rates of stress among those surveyed, with 45 percent indicating that they feel trapped in their businesses. The survey, conducted by tech firm Latenode, found that the biggest challenges for small business entrepreneurs include:

  • Time management (39 percent)
  • Financial constraints (25 percent)
  • Balancing work and personal life (19 percent)
  • Customer retention (15 percent)

You cannot just walk away

But even feeling trapped or overwhelmed, leaving the business is not an option. Many of those surveyed expressed an emotional attachment to their business (37 percent). For others, the issue is economic, whether they are financially dependent on their business (25 percent) or face economic barriers to selling at a profit.[2]

Learn to cope with stress

Whether you own your spa or massage practice or are running one for someone else, no doubt some of the pressures described above sound familiar. If you cannot imagine giving up the work you love, then learn how to get out from under the feeling that everything is piling on.

The first thing to do when you are feeling overwhelmed is to understand why you feel this way. You have many things to juggle to keep the business going, including:

  • Focusing on too many things
  • Being everything to everybody and that includes clients, staff, partners, and vendors
  • Adding too much to your weekly plate: too many appointments and too many projects

Often, you just cannot say no. If that is the case, start by accepting that you cannot do it all. There is no need to feel guilty about it, either. Your “to do” list needs to be under your control, so start by learning how to say no.

Set priorities, delegate, and focus

Next prioritize what is most important. Tasks or activities that are essential to meeting business goals must come first. Try to rise above the daily emergencies or disasters, which can derail important tasks. Next step is to put aside or just plain forego projects that may have sounded like good ideas, but become time sinks that sabotage meeting your weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals.

Also, remember, you do not need to do it all yourself. Delegate to staff or find outside resources, where necessary. For example, marketing is essential and you do not want to let communication with clients and prospects through social media, advertising, website updates and more slide. If you do not have the internal resources to handle marketing activities, there are many consultants who can help. The same goes for bookkeeping and other operational activities.

And learn to let go of things out of your control. Focus on things that are in your control.  Do do not try to be a perfectionist. Tasks critical to the success of your business need to be done as well as you can do them. Other less important tasks may just need to be accomplished and perfection is not critical.

Mindfulness and more

All the demands on your time and the “noise” from a deluge of information you receive each day can make it challenging to focus on the moment. However, the ability to achieve mindfulness can have significant benefits to both your personal life and running your spa or massage practice.

Mindfulness can restore your energy levels often drained by the stresses and anxiety that come with day-to-day responsibilities and the distractions of modern life. It also helps you to remain calm throughout the day. When you are more focused, new ideas and insights have an opportunity to come to the surface

Deep breathing exercises also can help when you feel tension. When you take a deep breath, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. As a result, increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, which occur when you are stressed, decrease.[3]    

Meditation is another way to destress during the day. When you meditate you focus your attention and clear your mind of thoughts to give you a sense of calm and peace and achieve balance. Physically, the relaxation response from meditation helps in several ways. It can help decrease metabolism, lower blood pressure, and improve heart rate, breathing and brain waves. The body receives a quiet message to relax and that helps alleviate muscle tension and tightness.[4]

Accept that you are feeling stressed. Then for the sake of your health and success of your business, make the changes that will enable you to love what you do without feeling overwhelmed.


[1] Daniel, “Survey: How Many Entrepreneurs Feel Trapped in Their Business,” Latenode, Accessed May 25, 2024. https://latenode.com/blog/nearly-half-of-entrepreneurs-feel-trapped-in-their-own-businesses-study-shows

[2] Ibid









[3] “Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation,” Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan, accessed August 2, 2020. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255


[4] Lerche Davis, Jeanie, “Meditation Balances the Body’s Systems,” WebMD, accessed August 2, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/transcendental-meditation#1