By April Meyers
Is the uncertainty and instability of recent months putting a strain on your well-being? There’s no denying it’s been a tough year to be a business owner.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused thousands of businesses to close — some temporarily, some permanently — and forced countless more to rethink the way they do business.
Publicly, entrepreneurs have made valiant efforts to get their businesses through the crisis. But behind the scenes, small business owners are struggling to keep their heads above water as stress mounts and financial resources wane.
For these entrepreneurs, taking care of themselves is just as crucial to the survival of their businesses as the relief packages and revised business plans they’ve relied on thus far. But how can you practice self-care when you barely have time to catch your breath?
There’s a lot we still don’t know about what’s ahead. The fight against COVID-19 isn’t yet over. Even when it ends, the economy will continue to feel the impact of this crisis for some time.
While you can’t predict the future, one thing is certain: Constantly fearing the worst isn’t productive. Catastrophizing leads to analysis paralysis at a time when you need to be taking action. Instead of ruminating over “What if?”, consider what you would do if the worst actually did happen. By making a plan for how you’d handle the most extreme outcome, you can gain a sense of control in a time of uncertainty.
Look for the Silver Linings
Don’t merely focus on the worst possible outcomes. Consider the positives that have come out of the pandemic: Have you discovered a more cost-effective way to serve customers, discovered an unexpected revenue stream, or grown your market reach on social media? Brainstorm the ways your business can leverage changes made in response to the pandemic to generate sustainable growth.
Focus On What Matters
When you really can’t stop worrying, distraction is an effective tactic. Focus on the day-to-day work and the ways you can support your employees, community, and business instead of fretting over things you can’t control.
This is especially true for businesses that have been unable to reopen or return to normal capacity due to lockdown restrictions. Dwindling numbers may be worrisome, but it’s work, not worry, that will enable businesses to survive.
Invest in Self-Care
Of course, you shouldn’t focus on work all of the time. No matter how important the items on your to-do list, downtime is an essential part of an entrepreneur’s daily schedule. That’s not to say you should plop down in front of the television or mindlessly scroll social media.
Making downtime quality time ensures you end up relaxed and rejuvenated. Indulge in a creative pursuit, spend time with loved ones, read for pleasure, exercise, or do something else that nourishes the mind and body.
Mind Your Space
It’s difficult to clear your mind when you’re surrounded by clutter. Clutter not only takes up physical space, it occupies mental space as well, causing stress and reducing your capacity for more fulfilling work. In many homes, this manifests in excessive complaining, criticism, and blame.
Even if your cluttered space hasn’t led to tension, it’s likely hurting your moods, energy, and productivity. Clean your space, paying attention to feng shui, and use a simple smudging ritual to eliminate negativity. Certain crystals, including amethyst and citrine, are even supposed to aid in setting intentions and achieving goals — and who doesn’t need a little can-do energy right now?
Clear Your Mind
Your home or office isn’t the only thing that needs to be cleared of bad energy. Stress also invades your mind, making it difficult to focus and solve the problems facing your business. That further contributes to feeling overwhelmed, creating a vicious cycle of stress and distraction.
Mindfulness is the only way to break out of this mental trap and feel like yourself again. Use simple mindfulness practices like deep breathing and body scans to release tension and cultivate a healthy mind with good sleep, a balanced diet, and an uplifting environment.
Eventually, this pandemic will end and we’ll be able to get back to business once again. In the meantime, remember: You can only take care of business when you take care of yourself first.
April Meyers, a huge advocate of embracing the mind-body connection, learned first-hand – for better and for worse – how intimately they’re connected. She teaches yoga full time to help her students nurture both their physical and emotional health, and she created Mind Body Health Solution to support people far and wide in their wellness journey.