If you’re not exhausted you’re lying to yourself. Even the most relaxed person in the world has been battling a looming uncertainty for most of 2020 and whether we acknowledge it or not, it’s going to get to us.
If you run a small business it’s been particularly tumultuous and depending on the industry you are in - it's been up,down, left, right and inside out.
It is so important to take extra measures this year to ensure that you are not completely burnt out for the holiday season and start off the new year on the right foot. (Check out the bottom of the list for some really fun ideas for your next zoom hangout!)
1. Set Boundaries
2. Shift into Gratitude
3. Share and Connect
4. Spend Time with Hobbies
5. Get Creative with Connection6. Rest without Guilt
This is one that I personally struggle with! Being in the first few years of my small business I feel the need to work 24/7. There is always a to-do list that needs to be done and then after that there’s an even longer list, but setting boundaries is about being intentional in the time that you spend. If you work from home it’s particularly important to create a separation of work and home time, instead of living in a blur of both at once. Give yourself set office hours and clock out when your day is done.
Setting boundaries goes beyond setting a work schedule, it also involves protecting your time and emotional energy when you are off the clock. For example by allowing work email notifications to pop up at any time you are leaving yourself vulnerable to be pulled into that work stress at any moment.
Imagine you are getting ready for bed, brushing your teeth and then you get an email from a dissatisfied customer that sends you into a stress spiral at 11pm. While quick reply time is always a good thing, it is likely less productive for you to respond during a time when you are not in the right headspace. By turning off your notifications during certain times you can focus more of your concentrated energy into these problems instead of spreading it thinly through all 24 hours of notifications on your phone.
Shift into Gratitude
It is very straining to sell, market and advertise ourselves as a small business and one way to alleviate that stress is to shift from self-promotion into gratitude. Giving back is it’s own form of warm fuzzy self care, and as a small business I’m sure the gratitude is genuine and runs deep. So let your people know it!
The easiest way to express thankfulness to your audiences is with a thank you note on your social media, email lists or other methods of communications you may have. Take a moment to really consider your audience and how they have been a part of your journey, this moment of reflection can help to write a better thank you note but it's also an important form of self care for small business owners. We often focus so hard on moving full steam ahead we forget to be thankful and this quiet moment of gratitude can be so mentally refreshing.
You can take this gratitude a step further by giving back to your audiences and customers with a fun giveaway or exclusive discount codes/gifts for your email list or social platforms. December is such a great time for thesetypes of engagements with your audiences as people are getting into the holiday spirit, and this year we could use all the fun we could get!
Share and Connect
Another way to relieve the pressure of the sales relationship that can build up through the fall and holiday season, is to focus on creating personal connections with your audiences. Shift your content creation from selling to sharing and build some genuine connections before you head into the next year of business.
Sharing some behind the scenes for your business is almost always a hit, people love to see how things work on the other end of a product or service. Even the parts of your business that you feel are boring and mundane can be really interesting to a customer who has never seen your everyday perspective before.
You can also get personal! Share more than behind the scenes in your business, open up your audience to small parts of your life, such as family traditions or other holiday fun. If you aren’t usually sharing your personal life, December is a great time to open up a bit and let your audience get to know the humans behind the business.
Spend Time with Hobbies
Small business self care isn’t just about managing work, it’s also about making the time outside of work to do the things that bring you joy. If you’re like me you’re probably overworked and hardly bothered about it, but I guarantee we are more exhausted than we even understand.
Make time to paint or read or build a model train or whatever it is that you love to do and don’t usually make time for. Gift yourself an enjoyable hobby this month and then actually carve out time each week or day to spend time with the things that make you happy.
Get Creative with Connection
Connection is so important and this year we missed out on a lot of it. The classic zoom call can start to feel a bit stale, but there are lots of ways to spice up your online connections.
A couple fun ideas:
- Host your own MTV Cribs, invite your friends along to watch!
- Wine and Bob Ross paint night
- Cook-along or bake-along as guests make your meal with you from their homes
- Zoom party for your pets, share their stories and tricks
- Tiny Campfire, everyone has a candle and roasts a marshmallow, tells stories
- Virtual pub crawl, everyone cracks a beer and heads to the same cool website to discuss. After about 15 minutes they all head to a new website.
- Host a Music League with Spotify. We just joined one and it is super fun to submit and vote on music every week, I’ve discovered some cool new bands.