Stress Busters for Entrepreneurs

Need to blow off some steam? Here are some unusual ways entrepreneurs regain their peace of mind.

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Read Industry News

"When you're an entrepreneur, there's a tendency to work 24/7, and I find that even in my free time I'm consumed by thoughts about the business. Catching up on industry news and reading articles in publications like Wired helps me stay on top of trends while also providing an escape from the day-to-day of my company." 


-- Sarah is the Founder/CEO of She has appeared in publications including Inc. Magazine and the Wall Street Journal, and is a judge on the popular entrepreneurship show "The Pitch."

Photo Credit: Sarah Dea

Get a Dog

"Whenever I have a stressful day, I take my miniature pinscher, Rocki, to the dog park in Washington Square Park in Manhattan. It allows me to get out of my work environment and reflect on what is making me so stressed out. It's so important for entrepreneurs to take a break from their hectic daily routines and have a positive release that divides them from their work."


-- Jeanette Zinno, freelance writer and Co-Founder of LZ Media Group, a lifestyle public relations boutique, as well as a beauty & style blog, Haute Girls.  

Photo Credit: Tommy Mendes

Play Like a Kid

“When we need a break from business and just need to relax, we love going to Sky Zone. Not only can we take our kids there, but it also helps us get our mind off things and really have fun.” 


--  Joy Kosak and Deborah Abbaszadeh, Co-Founders of Simple Wishes

Photo Credit: Simple Wishes

Try Rock Climbing

“Being a huge fan of the monkey bars growing up (one of the inspirations of my brand), I have graduated to activities like rock climbing. This really helps me relax, gets my mind off things and I feel like a kid again.”


-- Gina Wissmiller, Founder of Monkeybar Buddies, a collection of shorts and leggings for girls to be worn under dresses and skirts.

Photo Credit: Monkeybar Buddies

Weight Lifting

"What I find wonderfully relaxing is to lift weights. I have an Olympic bar and weight rack in my family room, plus close to 300 pounds of plates. I learned early on that the concentration required to do compound moves like squats and deadlifts  correctly makes you clear your head of anything else. In spite of the bodily tension inherent in these moves, your mind is remarkably relaxed."

-- Teresa Matsui Sanders is the creator of DogWonderful, a specialty travel website for dog lovers and founder of InnWorks, a hospitality management and consulting firm.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Teresa Matsui Sanders


“When the stress of opening new locations and the day to day of running the company gets to be too much, I unwind by focusing on an achievable task: Organizing. I clean closets, refrigerators and will even begin to organize the threading stations of our staff. It helps to give me a new perspective and see all situations from a much clearer space.”


-- Reema Khan, CEO of s.h.a.p.e.s Brow Bar

Photo Credit: s.h.a.p.e.s Brow Bar

Work-Out with Friends

"Twice a week I play tennis with two friends who also have home-based businesses. Graham, the chef, adds the humor and the testosterone to keep us competitive at tennis. Sloane, the veterinarian, is just really good at tennis and keeps Graham and me running. We talk a lot while we play - discussing new projects, issues or just griping about something. It's good exercise, but more importantly it gets us out and engaged in a social yet healthy activity for an hour."

-- Jane Watkins, a native of St. Croix, is a marketing communications professional based in Miami, Florida. She recruits celebrity chefs and published the cookbook for the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience, an annual event in the US Virgin Islands. 

Raise Fish

"I am really into raising fish. I have two fresh water fish tanks and a salt water tank. I love feeding them and taking care of them, and watching them grow is fun. It relaxes me, and takes the edge off after working a long day and being a mom."


-- Emily Vu, founder and principal of TTK & Associates

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Emily Vu

Bike to Work

"I started bike commuting to manage my startup stress. As a single mom and CEO of a VC-funded startup, there was literally no other time in my schedule for exercise. Commuting 10-16 miles a day did wonders for my stress and lack of fitness (which are closely related)."


-- Laura @Pistachio Fitton, Founder of (which she sold to HubSpot, where she's the Inbound Marketing Evangelist. Lead author of Twitter for Dummies.

Photo Credit: William Marc Salsberry

Make a Call

"Being an entrepreneur and a writer can be lonely. My favorite quick stress relief comes from a call to a friend. Reaching out to someone you treasure, sharing what’s bothering you, will remind you that you’re not alone and that every day isn’t a walk on the beach."  


-- Kaira Rouda is a mom, wife, entrepreneur and author of the nonfiction book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, and the novel, Here, Home, Hope. Her second novel, All The Difference, will be out in March. 

Photo Credit: Greg James

Ignore the Problem

"I like to write down the problem and then leave it for a little, basically let my subconscious do the work. This means ignoring the problem--purposely doing something different--like other work, exercise, yoga, or sleeping. When I've let it process for a little, I revisit the problem and generally the solution becomes clear."

-- Alexa Hirschfeld, co-founder of Paperless Post

Photo Credit: Greg Scaffidi

Learn a New Sport

"I play tennis to relieve stress. There's something oddly  therapeutic and fun about smacking tennis balls as hard as I can."


-- Allison Floam, Co-Founder & President of 

Photo Credit: Tony Deifell

Go Back to Your Roots

"When I get overwhelmed with the stresses of owning my own business, I grab my sketchbook. It's my love of fashion and dressing the female form that inspired me to create my line of luxury shapewear, so sketching always brings me back and centers me, reminding me why I do what I do."


-- Kiana Anvaripour from ResultWear

Photo Credit: ResultWear

Put Yourself in Another's Shoes

“When I am feeling really stressed and just need a break from all the craziness, my favorite thing to do is watch episodes of ‘The Real Housewives’ or ‘True Blood’. By focusing on something else completely outside of my daily life for a little while, I get the bit of breathing room I need to relax and unwind. Watching drama unfold on television instead is always more entertaining!”


-- Danielle DiFerdinando, Founder and Creative Director of Danielle Nicole Handbags 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Danielle Nicole Handbags

Listen to Music

"It may sound crazy, but I put on some music and clean my house. I am doing something physical and productive, but I don't need to think about anything. Followed by dinner with my family or friends and I feel like I've had a productive and relaxing day."


-- Sara Russick, co-founder of Bagster, TUBS Inc, and Gopher Angels 

Ditch the Cell Phone

"My new obsession is stand up paddle boarding on Richardson Bay and I ski wherever and whenever I can. The best stress reliever to me though is when I put my cell phone away and unhook from technology, even if only for a few hours.”


-- Traci Des Jardins, James Beard award-winning chef and restaurateur

Photo Credit: Frankie Frankeny

Surround Yourself with Mementos

“I surround myself with bright, happy colors, little colorful flowers and photos of happy places, like vacation photos, fun business trip photos. These images remind me of the happiness I get from my work. I also have some customer cards and letters above my desk that I occasionally look at. They remind me of why I am doing what I am doing, and of our purpose.”


-- Vincene Parrinello, Founder and creator of Wai Hope Organic Skincare

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wai Hope Organic Skincare

Escape into a TV Show

"Two of my favorite stress relievers are curling up with my daughter to watch a movie or sitting down with a good cup of coffee or tea and watching a marathon of House Hunters International. It's a bit of an escape and I get a glimpse into places I might want to travel to one day."


-- Heather Atherton, Atherton Public Relations

Teach Yourself How to Cook

"I love finding new recipes, with ingredients I've never tried, techniques I've never heard of and make something delicious. It totally consumes me and helps me focus on something other than the stress of work." 


-- Nikki Sells, VP of Client Services at IFX

Photo Credit: IFX

Recall a Positive Memory

"I have several pictures that are captured in my mind's-eye: How stunning the landscape looked from Mt. Dana Peak at 13,000 feet or how the clouds were just an arms’ reach away when I stood on Mt. Whitney Summit at 14,500 feet. I only have to close my eyes for just a tiny bit and transport myself to the sights, smell and sounds of sheer beauty--to a place where I felt very much alive and at peace. Then, I come back, re-energized and ready to take on the world."


-- Ambal Balakrishnan, co-Founder of ClickDocuments and author of #CONTENTMARKETINGtweet: 140 Bite-sized Ideas to Create and Market Compelling Content.

Photo Credit: Kasturi Rangam

Walk The Dog

"Even though I live in New York City, there's a true neighborhood feeling among all the dog owners on the block. We might be out walking at 11 pm or even later, but everyone still stops to say 'hello' and chat. Of course, I'll probably only ever be known as 'Ella's mom' to my neighbors, but it's just what I need to relieve the stress of the day."


-- Robin Koval, President of the Kaplan Thaler Group and co-author of The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness



Jennifer Jeanne Patterson is a freelance writer and author of 52 Fights. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children. Find her blog at Unplanned Cooking.

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Robin Koval

First Published January 19, 2012

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