How to reduce stress: Get involved

  • There are countless ways to reduce stress.

    There are countless ways to reduce stress.

Updated 9/27/2017 7:42 AM

The suburban cities and towns where we live -- and where our businesses often are located -- likely could use some help.

That's not a knock on the paid government officials or the civic-minded residents who volunteer on boards and commissions. It's a realization that (1) entrepreneurs often have abilities and skills that could benefit local communities, parks, libraries and schools; and (2) in effect taking a temporary break (say Thursday evenings) from the challenges of running a business could put daily business pressures into perspective.


In other words, getting involved outside your business may relieve your stress inside -- and provide some much-needed hometown support.

So says Evie Caprel, vice president and co-owner at BreakThrough Results Inc., a Riverside advisory firm. Entrepreneurs, she says, tend to be "resilient, optimistic and wanting to make a difference."

However, Caprel adds, "Domestic and international unrest certainly affects (business owners) and makes them think about how these challenges will affect customers and employees -- and, of course, the business."

One way to ease stress is to "offer your talents back to the community," Caprel says. "Creating stress resilience is the fulcrum that brings calm to uncertainty.

"When we give a presentation at the local library or volunteer to teach young people to write a business plan, we impact people on a personal level. When (the people in) a community support and challenge each other, magic happens."

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There's plenty of opportunity. The Village of Arlington Heights' website, for example, lists 19 boards and commissions that range from the arts commission to the zoning board of appeals and firefighters' pension board.

The list doesn't include parks or schools, but opportunities exist there, too. What might you do?

• I twice taught a weekly class for gifted students in an elementary school with no such program. If I can, you can.

• Is your business about senior care? Maybe there's a place for you on your suburb's senior citizens commission.

• Landscaper? Provide the plantings, and plant them, for the new playground.

• Does your business involve music? Vocal training? Art skills? Talk to your local principal and see how you might get involved.

• A creative marketer who can help bring more people to the library will be appreciated.


• Libraries are beginning to focus on small business support -- special research sections and seminars. Do you fit?

• A growing number of suburban high schools are embracing classroom entrepreneurial experiences. Could you help?

Local issues often bring their own stress. One suggestion:

• Talk things out. A city employee and I met recently over coffee to discuss an issue where each thought the other may be an opponent. It was a good conversation (with no names, because this wasn't a columnist-interviewee situation).

When we parted, both of us felt better.

It's difficult to avoid stress. Caprel may be right, though: The enjoyment we can get from sharing our abilities with the community may help.

• © 2017 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Read Jim's Business Owners' Blog at

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