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Stress savvy in business

Recognise the signs of stress and know what to do about it.

On this page

  • Signs and symptoms of stress
  • Learn how other business operators manage stress
  • Find out about resources to help

Running your own business can be a very rewarding experience, but being the boss can also be stressful.  Prolonged stress can be a major issue and a risk factor for your mental health. 


Understanding your behaviour can help you put controls in place to minimise the risk of escalating stress. These may be noticed by others or even yourself.

Altered behaviour

Signs and symptoms you should look out for are:

  • irritability
  • aggression
  • mood swings
  • poor concentration
  • poor decision making.

Altered work performance

Signs and symptoms you should look out for are:

  • low threshold for handling demands and achieving higher order tasks
  • increased mistakes and accidents
  • inability to make decisions/difficulty maintaining focus
  • not wanting to go to work
  • over working issues – unsure/worry
  • general decline in performance (quality/quantity)
  • reduced efficiency/increased procrastination.

Altered Habits

Signs and symptoms you should look out for are:

  • eating more or less
  • drinking more
  • smoking more.

Altered appearance –may be noticed by others

Signs and symptoms you should look out for are:

  • lack of care in appearance
  • looking miserable 
  • looking tired
  • looking nervous
  • looking agitated.

Helpful resources

Business in Mind

Developed by beyond blue, Business in Mind is a resource developed especially for SME owners and managers. It contains Information and resources to help you manage your own mental health and mental health issues you may experience in the workplace.  It includes a number of small business owners speaking about their experiences and providing advice for overcoming challenges.

Access Business in Mind

Heads Up

Heads Up helps you to create a mentally healthy workplace, which will benefit you, your staff and the productivity of your business.

Use Heads Up resources

Seek professional help 

If stress is getting on top of you remember there is support for you


Use Australian Psychology Society website to search for a psychologist in your area that will be able to provide you with professional counselling services.


Relationships Australia aim to support all people in Australia to achieve positive and respectful relationships.


Small Business Mentoring Service offer a diverse range of mentors that can help you to navigate difficult business decisions.

Suicide and crisis support

If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000.

To talk to someone now call:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

Peter Veenhuizen

B Juris., B.Th., Grad. Dip. (Couns Psych) MAPS

Peter Veenhuizen shares insights on managing business stressPeter is a professional Counselling and Consultant Psychologist.  You can contact him directly through his practice, Moonee Valley Psychology.

Case Study: How I manage business stress

'If I'm really struggling I'll do the one thing I could never do in an office - take a 30 minute power nap. I always feel super-charged afterwards and even slightly smug that there's no-one to lecture me on being indulgent.'

Janelle Carrigan, Royall Media

Read more about How I manage business stress

Business man sitting, leaning over his desk holding his head in his hands