Co-written by Kevin Clark
When the year is coming to an end and it's the holiday season, the lights are going up, the shopping and traffic are humming, and small business owners are working hard. For many this is the busiest time of year and can easily become overwhelming instead of joyful. I’ve known and worked with small business owners throughout my professional career, and I’ve witnessed the drive and grit that it takes to finish out the year. You deserve to have time with your family, relaxing and reflecting, and enjoying all the pleasures that the holidays bring. You can have a productive last quarter and get to enjoy your own little slice of the holiday season. Here are 5 tips to help you keep the stress to a minimum during the holidays.
1. Accept what you have no control over.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of striving for perfection and feeling a huge sense of responsibility for everything to keep running smoothly – that’s actually what makes you a great business owner. Things do go wrong, though. It happens. If you can practice accepting the things you have no control over, it’ll allow you to focus your energy on what you can influence in your business and personal life. Every time I try to make everything perfect, it always leads to more trouble. If I can step back and let go of what I can’t really impact or change, it usually works out better. Take a walk or deep breath and let go of what you can.
2. Manage your time strategically.
Setting a schedule or routine for your tasks and work can be a great way to help keep business responsibilities more manageable. Taking it a step further and setting a schedule or routine for your personal life can also be incredibly beneficial to you. This is a must for all year round if you want to be productive – and it’s especially important during the crazy season at year end. Set aside time for personal needs, things you need so that you don’t feel completely consumed by your work. Every evening I make sure I have time to read for at least 20 minutes (guilt-free). It especially helps me to feel more balanced on those hectic workdays.
3. Take the help.
If someone wants to help with the overwhelming tasks on your to-do list, accept help or delegate responsibilities effectively. Let employees or associates do their share at work. You really don’t have to carry all the weight yourself. You can also let others assist you in different ways. Let your spouse or friend be there for you and talk about your daily stresses. I know that when I have too much going on a call to my best friend can help lift a big weight by taking turns venting or talking through all that I have to get done. The people around you want you to succeed, and they want to support you right now. It is okay to let them.
4. Don’t skip meals.
When you’re wildly busy, it can be easy to forget to grab lunch or skip breakfast. It can do so much more to your day than just leave you a little hungrier until the next meal. You may get moody, not make the best decisions, and react worse to things that you would normally handle gracefully. You can’t take care of everything else if you’re not taking care of yourself. I’m not trying to sound like your mother, but it is true. If you need to schedule it in, then do that. You need fuel to keep going. Make sure you’re running at your best by not skipping meals.
5. Move your body.
When you’re at the busiest time of year, you’re probably going to be experiencing more stress. We can store a lot of that stress in our body (or so I’ve been told). I carry mine in my shoulders and back usually. The best thing I’ve found to help ten times over is getting in some sort of exercise. Sometimes a brisk walk is enough to help me release the stress I’ve been carrying. I’ve also found that when I feel overwhelmed with a situation, going for a walk or doing some stretches makes a big difference. After moving, I can approach problems with a clear and calm mind.