Here at the Kantner Foundation, we know how stressful life can be for young entrepreneurs. As a college-bound and high-achieving teen, your life is already full of tough classes, after-school activities, community service, and more. Starting a new small business may be your passion (as it should be), but it’s also one more thing on your plate that requires your time, energy, and attention.
While there’s no “right” way to de-stress, there are a few tried and true methods that have been used by people all over the world for years. You don’t need to do all of these. De-stressing should 100% not feel like one more thing you must do. If something doesn’t feel good to you, stop immediately and try something else.
But remember: you can’t be your best self and do your best work if you’re empty. Self-care is not selfish!
TAKE A SHORT BREAK
How short is a “short” break? That depends on what you do. You can set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes. Or you can read one chapter of a book, watch one short YouTube video, or take a walk around the block. You’re even allowed to switch it up day by day! The point of a short break is that you are doing something that’s purely for yourself. Just remember not to let this “short break” turn into work avoidance or procrastination.
PRACTICE MINDFUL BREATHING
This is an easy one you can do almost anytime, anywhere. (Not while driving or paying attention in class, of course.)
- Close your eyes
- Put one or both hands on your belly
- Breathe in for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 5
- As you breathe, think about the feel of the air going into and out of your nostrils
- Enjoy the rhythm of your breath
- Repeat 3 or 4 times
You should feel at least a teensy bit calmer and more focused.
GET GOOD SLEEP
According to the Center for Disease Control, teens need 8-10 hours of sleep per night. We know that’s a tall order for a young entrepreneur as busy as you are, but consider:
- Not getting enough sleep, or poor-quality sleep, can make you irritable during the day, which in turn can lead to depression and anxiety
- Good sleep helps you focus and improves your memory
- Good sleep keeps your body healthier and stronger
Try to practice good sleep hygiene as much as you possibly can, and you’ll automatically feel less stressed during the day.
MOVE YOUR BODY
Notice we didn’t say “exercise.” That’s because movement doesn’t have to mean an entire exercise routine. It can be as simple as getting up from your desk and walking a few laps back and forth in your living room. You can stretch and bend. As Taylor Swift once said, just “shake it off.”
The point of simple movement is not to break a sweat, burn calories, or build muscle. It’s to reignite your brain and body by taking in more oxygen and stretching your muscles. Get that blood pumping! If you need something more structured, find a free yoga video online.
TRY PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION
This technique is great for calming your busy monkey mind at night. It’s easy to learn and has been proven to work for many people. Progressive relaxation helps you focus on loosening tension in each part of your body – literally, letting go of stress in your muscles.
TALK TO SOMEONE
Sometimes it helps to verbalize your stress and let someone else help you deal with it. That help can take the form of a reality check, some empathy from someone who’s been in your situation, or a shoulder to cry on. Make sure whomever you talk to is someone you can trust. They should have your best interest at heart and validate your feelings, not mock you or diminish your problems. Let this person know ahead of time whether you’re looking for advice, sympathy, or just need to vent it all out, so they know what’s expected of them.
MAKE (BAD) ART
Sometimes we’re stressed out because our lives are so regimented that there seems to be very little room for creative pursuits. Young entrepreneurs, especially, tend to use up a lot of creative energy trying to start and run their small businesses. Organization is a way to feel in control at a time in your life when most other things feel outside your control.
But it’s important to tap into your creativity occasionally and let go of all that control, those rules, and your structure. You don’t have to make good art. Just have fun! Buy some crayons and scribble all over a blank sheet of paper. Sing off-key at the top of your lungs to your favorite song. Dance around your bedroom. Squeeze some Play-Doh!
GET BACK TO NATURE
The feel of grass under your bare feet. A gentle breeze on your face. The sun’s kiss on your skin. The sound of small critters in your yard. We come from nature, and nature is always there to welcome us back. Don’t just go outside and walk on a sidewalk around your housing development. Sit in your backyard for a few minutes. Walk or drive to a nearby park and simply be there. You might be surprised how much better you feel after reconnecting with nature for only a few minutes.
ENJOY THE SILENCE
There’s so little silence in the world these days. We’re guessing that as a teen, you probably have sounds hitting your ears all the time, whether it’s the crowds and teachers at school or music as you chill at home.
Try this: turn everything off. Sit with silence for a few minutes. Of course, true silence is almost impossible to come by. If you can, invest in noise-canceling headphones. Go somewhere far from any roads or people. Silence your device(s). Just let your mind be quiet for a while.
We hope you found at least one de-stress technique that feels right for you.
Young entrepreneurs in Florida may be eligible for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Click here to learn about what we have to offer and how to apply.