Stress is a dangerous and unpredictable beast. Unfortunately, it’s also a common side effect of running a business, especially during the coronavirus COVID-19.
The crisis has seen businesses all round the world struggle, having to furlough staff, invest in remote working tech, or simply shut down altogether.
There’s a sense of helplessness, in that here is a problem that we can’t rush out and fix. In fact, we’re told that rushing out is the worst thing that any of us could do. Physical isolation can lead to mental isolation, skewing perceptions and adding to the pressure.
Know when to step away from work
When you’re running the business, whether as a limited company, a sole trader, freelancer or beyond, there is one shared essential tenet. You still need to rest.
Being in charge does not mean that you are any less human. Working until you become too exhausted to function properly damages you, and your business.
Taking breaks helps to realign perspective, reassess, and run your business much more efficiently. More importantly, you need it. We know. The guilt is overwhelming. You’re not alone in this, but also, you’re not alone in this.
Now that many of us are working from home it’s more difficult to distinguish between work time and free time. Creating a dedicated home office space is a good start, but it can still be difficult to step away from the desk or out from the workshop.
If you have regular working hours, try to maintain your routine. If it helps, set an alarm to signal the end of the day.
Keep the to-do list realistic
This is advice that we give to self-employed workers and businesses all the time, and it’s especially relevant now! Yes, there is a huge amount of pressure to get things running, but that doesn’t mean that you’re capable of getting everything done at once. Nor should you be.
Just like we have to chew our food in sensible portions to avoid choking, break down tasks into manageable chunks.
Creating a daily to-do list is powerful. It helps you stay focused, eases the panic because you know what to do next, and yes, as every self-help guide, article, book or journal the world over has ever said, ticking things off feels marvelous.
But, instead of listing each huge task, list their smaller elements. Working your way through little steps is less daunting, and gives you a reason to tick that list!
Take social media with a hefty pinch of salt
Social media is pretty much 99% coronavirus right now. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has advice, and sure – why not? There might be some real gems amongst it all, but falling into the rabbit hole of good intentions can be very damaging when you feel stressed.
The sense of inadequacy caused by social media is very well documented, so it’s crucial to keep things in balance. Remember, your feelings are valid, no matter how you perceive yourself in comparison to others.
And beware misinformation!
This might be a great point at which to learn some new skills if you have time. Or even if you have time, this might be a great point at which to sit on the sofa with a giant supply of crisps (because good luck getting a single pack from Amazon).
We know, we’re supposed to tell you to try yoga, go for a run, read, or write a journal. And those are all solid gold suggestions. But what’s probably more important right now, is comfort. Find the balance between achieving the things that you need to, and self-care.