Stress Relievers For The Busy Professional

Guest Written by Julie Morris

Stress doesn’t have one simple definition — it can range from tension and anxiety in our jobs, to relationships and even the way we view the world. It’s no wonder then that 77 percent of people in the U.S. frequently feel the physical symptoms of stress, and almost as many — 73 percent — feel the mental and emotional strain regularly. While we all experience stress differently, there are some common threads weaving through most people’s lives. Many people are stressed out by money, while others feel pressure from family life or social media. The number one stressor in American lives, however, should come as no surprise: work.

Business owners and busy professionals need healthy ways to cope with stress. Ambition is a good thing; it’s a motivating force in a world that inspires us to believe and achieve. However, when you’re under stress, achieving your goals can not only feel hard but downright impossible. Some people turn to drinking or other substances to unwind from their professional responsibilities. But there are some simple, healthier ways to manage work stress and still stay productive and accomplished.

Get a Hobby

Not only can a hobby help take your mind off work, but it also gives you other goals to strive for. Not all of your energy should be put into improving your job. How about trying to improve who you are as a person? A hobby adds diverse knowledge and skills to your repertoire. Whether it’s art, music, crafting or even sports.

For example, playing golf, tennis or basketball are great options because you'll get a physical and mental boost at the same time. A sports hobby helps work the mind and the body, from strengthening critical thinking skills to improving cardiovascular health. Plus, a sports hobby can provide great networking opportunities.

Organize Your Office

Decluttering is the buzzword these days when it comes to keeping our homes comfortable and easy to manage. But this mentality should also extend to one’s office space, especially if you work from home. An organized office is crucial to maximizing your productivity. And everyone knows that productivity is essential at work. If your office is a maze of papers and disorganization, take the time to declutter, rearrange furniture and add a filing system. Better yet, go paperless where you can. Most importantly, an organized office can help reduce stress. When everything that has a place is in its place, you’re better prepared to manage your day-to-day responsibilities.

Learn to Say No

You pride yourself on having the reputation of being that go-to person people can rely on in a pinch. Maybe you are the ultimate team player, offering your services and expertise at every turn. Perhaps you are a business owner with a habit of regularly bending over backwards for client and customer satisfaction. While these aren’t necessarily bad things and they likely help you grow professionally, you may be starting to feel burned out, and that is a bad thing. You have to protect your time, mental capacity and professional stability; you have to learn to say no. Saying no doesn’t mean you aren’t helping or providing, it means that you are taking an honest look at your workload and recognizing that if you said yes, the quality of your work on this project — and others — would decline. Some ways to say no without feeling guilty include:

  • This is a project I’d love to help with. However, I’m on a deadline for another project right now and don’t have the time. Can this wait until I have less on my plate?

  • Normally, I’d be able to fulfill your request on that timeline. However, we’ve had more customers than usual this time of year and have to honor those commitments. Can we look at a date further down the road?

  • While I am flattered that you’d come to me for help, this isn’t really my area of expertise. Bob in accounting or Jill in finance would have far better knowledge and experience to help you with this project.

Stress isn’t something that will go away on its own. You have to commit to making a reduction in stress a priority in your life. You don’t have to choose one of the other. You can have low stress and success if you focus on finding balance and prioritizing yourself.


Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book. Visit her site at


Ann Brennan