We live in crazy times and given the number of stressors flying about us it’s no wonder many of us are struggling to retain a sense of equilibrium. Minister for Women and Gender Equality, Maryam Monsef, recently said, “What the pandemic has done with the self-isolation measures, with the closures of some of the support systems, is create a powder keg.” She was referring to the recent increase in domestic violence across Canada, but it’s not a stretch to imagine business relationships being strained by the stress we are all under with the current situation. And, we need to consider our employees who are working from home cloistered with their spouses, children and pets. As a business owner, or manager, you will be feeling a great deal of stress – perhaps you are having difficulty paying rent, managing staff, keeping your customers safe, or even keeping your business open.
Here are 5 simple things you can do to at least reduce your stress a little so you don’t let COVID grind you down. Who knows, maybe you can you use these tips to jump start redefining your life and business in a way that works within the current confines of business life and the “new normal.”
- Limit your exposure to media sources. The media thrives on dishing out bad news; reporting on a pandemic or a disaster is something they do well. The problem is that they repeat the same information and messages ad nauseum. Some people watch every hourly news broadcast, as if something might change for the better. It rarely does and to be constantly bombarded with bad news, bad vibes, is harsh on your psyche. By all means catch the early morning news and perhaps the National in the evening, but don’t link yourself to a news feed 24/7. Give your brain a break.
- Take time – uninterrupted time- to assess your current situation and make a plan. Run that plan by some people you trust and respect and then put it into action. Once you have done that, try to stop worrying. There is little else you can do to change what is going to happen, other than tweaking the plan as things change.
- Talk to your employees about the situation. Gather them online and get their input. The very act of bringing them together and involving them will generate team spirit and you will no longer feel so alone. They will feel less stressed and so will you.
- Talk to all the other stakeholders in your business; your bank, landlord, accountant, lawyer, suppliers, and anyone else whose support you might need and who in turn need to know how you are managing and what plans you have for moving ahead. You will be surprised how calming it can be to have everything out in the open and to take control – however minimally.
- Take a little time for yourself. During turbulent times you need a few moments when you remove yourself from all the stressors. Many CEO’s of major corporations believe in the power of meditation and mindfulness. Spending 15 minutes a day just sitting and focusing on your breath, and nothing else, will allow you to clear your head. You will be surprised how this will both reduce stress and help you make sound decisions. Don’t like meditation? Then simply go for a walk, or sit in your garden and take time to notice the sounds, the smells, the visual stimulation. Focus on the petals of a flower, a bug walking across the patio, really focus to the exclusion of all else. Be in the moment and only that moment. String together several of these moments and once again your head will be clearer and your stress reduced.
Someone once said, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Take the COVID stress challenge above and see if you can come out of these tough times stronger, calmer, and more mindful.