Almost by definition, all business owners I know are always stressed-out. The buck stops with us on all things. I definitely fall into that category, before and after COVID-19.
However, it is true that the virus and shut-down has raised the stress level exponentially. Everything we had planned to do in 2020 now must be scrapped or recreated. The entire globe is living in “reptilian brain mode” since we’re under some degree of constant threat from this unseen enemy.
Luckily, as a coach, I know that self-care is a non-negotiable requirement for leadership resilience. We can’t roll with the punches and shift directions with agility unless we have enough energy in our proverbial ‘energy barrels’ to be able to do that.
I use the energy barrel metaphor with my clients to underline the reality that everything in our life either gives us energy or uses it. The challenge is when we take out more than we put in consistently. COVID has also created a big hole or consistent leak for all of us. That means we need to put more energy in just to stay even.
What do I do and recommend to my clients?
- Grounding practices – we need to stay centered and focused to steer our business through this crisis. It could be meditation, visualization, breathing techniques, holding on to a heavy object or talisman that has special meaning. Getting out into nature now that the weather is nice. Walking barefoot on the grass or even the cliché of hugging a tree to feel rooted can all help.
- Take breaks. Some days I feel really productive. Other days I need a nap! Listen to your body and follow your energy.
- Create structure and routine. I’m lucky because standing client appointments create routine and consistency for me. For those who don’t have it, create it! Plug in what you know you have each day, what you want to do each day – including self-care – and then block time to move forward on key projects. Having calendar reminders pop up really helps to get us focused on what we decided we wanted to be doing during this time slot.
- Define when you are open and when you’re closed. Working from home, it’s easy to roll into our office in pjs. Put on business attire, make-up, whatever makes you feel professional. It’s a sign to our bodies and minds that it’s time to work. Yet it’s also important to have “we’re closed” signals too. Shut your office door. Close your email. Put your phone in another room. Our brains need to understand that we’ve shifted gears and it can relax now. Otherwise we’re working 24X7
Hope that helps!