top of page

Blog - Post

Beat Holiday Stress at Your Small Business With Some Self Care (2023)

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

The holiday season is full of joy, goodwill, and peace. Most people spend time with their family and friends to celebrate the holiday cheer. But for some, the holiday season is a much busier occasion than it is simply relaxing.

Small business owner holiday shopping with family

Holidays as a business owner are typically the busiest time of the year. Sometimes there isn't any time for owners to even sit down and enjoy Christmas cookies while watching holiday movies. Most spend months preparing for the biggest shopping season and work long hours in their offices or storefronts. Even if they don’t operate a retail store or other directly seasonal business, those businesses typically drive the economy, and sales, upward.

Small business stress is a huge issue that is worth mitigating as best as possible. After all, the season of giving can lead to serious burnout. So how do you avoid letting the ‘small business holidays’ take a toll on you?

Here are a few self-care methods you can beat the holiday stress.


Make Time for Family

Let's start off with the most important and effective way to survive the holidays as a small business owner.

Small business owner with family on christmas

The holidays are a time for families. But being the owner of a small business can often whittle down that special quality time. This is especially true if you have to work all the way up until the special day(s). During the holiday season, it's essential that you dedicate time to being with your family.

Make a conscious, deliberate effort to spend time with your loved ones this holiday season. If you find it too open ended, try placing it on your calendar with a specific event like to watch a football game together or have dinner.

a group of friends cheersing some drinks during a holiday party.
Friends and Family can help you survive!

Quality time is undeniably one of the best ways to recharge from the stress of the holidays as a small business owner. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, carving out moments for meaningful connections with loved ones or even for personal reflection becomes paramount. Whether it's sharing laughter with family, engaging in festive traditions, or simply enjoying quiet moments of solitude, these experiences contribute significantly to restoring a sense of balance and well-being.

In the midst of holiday chaos, prioritizing quality time becomes a valuable investment, providing a much-needed reprieve and setting the stage for a refreshed and energized return to the demands of running a small business.

Plan for a Break - Use it as Fuel for Holiday Success!

When you run a small business, there are a lot of items on your to-do list. Therefore, it is pertinent that you be sure to schedule some time to take a break from work. Make that break be a literal line item on your to-do list just like all the others. This way you’ll likely treat it more like an accomplished task rather than viewing as a waste of time.

Small business owner relaxing with a book
Taking a break with a book.
It's easy to push off a break, promising you'll do it after the next task or after lunch or the day after.

… and the next thing you know, you've worked a whole day with no downtime. But if you write down in a planner or on your calendar that you're going to take time off, you're more likely to keep your word.

Now, let's talk about the magic that happens when you prioritize these breaks. It's not just about avoiding burnout, though that's a big win in itself. It's about injecting some rocket fuel into your productivity. Picture this: You tackle a task, then reward yourself with a well-deserved break. It's like hitting reset on your brain. Studies show that these breaks supercharge your cognitive functions and creativity. So, when you get back to work, you're not just grinding; you're grinding smarter and sharper.

rocket launching to space as a metaphor for gaining rocket fuel after taking a break.
Launch Yourself by Taking a Break

Here's the kicker: by turning breaks into scheduled commitments, you're not just taking care of your mental health; you're elevating your business game. It's a strategy that goes beyond the daily grind; it's an investment in the long-term success of your entrepreneurial journey. So, don't just see breaks as downtime; see them as power moves for a thriving small business. Keep rocking those to-do lists, but don't forget to check off that break time—it might just be the secret sauce to your next big accomplishment.

Be Flexible During the Holidays

The holiday season is unpredictable, and that means you have to roll with the punches. This laissez-faire attitude can be hard for you as a small business owner because you didn't achieve your success by simply letting things run their course.

picture of an elegant mall during christmas season
How Gorgeous is this Mall?

But during the holidays, you can't plan for everything. If you're looking to relax, the holidays aren't the time to be rigid with your plans. There are some things on your to-do list that you won't be able to get done.

Picture this: the holiday rush is in full swing, and your business is buzzing with activity. Amidst the festive chaos, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and try to control every aspect. Here's a reality check — that might not be the best strategy.

As a small business owner, you've likely mastered the art of meticulous planning and execution. However, the holidays have a way of throwing unexpected twists your way. Instead of resisting the unpredictable, consider a shift in approach. Break down your holiday to-do list into three categories: must-dos, do-soon, and can-wait.

a few people doing some form of stretching using complex ribbons
Are you this flexible?

The must-dos are your lifeline — the critical tasks that keep your business functioning smoothly. These are your anchor, ensuring that the essential aspects of your business remain intact amid the holiday hustle. Next up, the do-soon tasks — important, but not urgent. These allow for some flexibility, giving you the freedom to adapt to the ever-changing holiday landscape.

Now, let's talk about the can-wait tasks. This category might feel like uncharted territory, especially for someone accustomed to being on top of everything. But trust in the magic of prioritization. By acknowledging that some things can wait, you're not only lightening your load but also creating space for unexpected delights and moments of relaxation.

In essence, by strategically categorizing your holiday tasks, you're not just embracing the chaos; you're mastering it. It's a subtle dance between maintaining your business's core functions and allowing yourself the freedom to savor the joys of the season. So, as the holiday frenzy kicks in, remember: success during this time isn't about controlling everything; it's about navigating the festive wave with grace and enjoying the ride.

Step Away and Stay Away for Your Sanity

It's easy to get sucked down a work rabbit hole when you start a task. The allure of productivity, the ping of emails—it's like a magnetic force pulling you in. But if you should be taking time off from work to reduce some stress, you need to step away and stay away.

cute puppy in wrapping paper

Imagine this scenario: You've declared it's time for a break, a moment to unwind and recharge. But those emails, they're like persistent little sirens calling your name. The urge to dive back into work, to address that one lingering task, it can be compelling. However, it's crucial to resist the beckoning call to get back to work. Those emails will wait.

Now, here's a hard truth: even if you're not physically in the office or at the store, the temptation to check in with your employees might be strong. The desire to ensure everything is running smoothly can be a powerful motivator. However, resist the urge. Your time off is yours, and it's essential to let go of the reins temporarily.

When you have time off, strive to be present in the moment. Whether you're enjoying solitude or savoring quality time with family, these moments are invaluable. Disconnect from work mentally as well as physically. Engage in activities that bring you relaxation and joy. It's a powerful way to recharge your mental batteries and come back to work with a fresh perspective.

family sitting around a fire during the holidays
Try to Stay Disconnected

Additionally, make it clear to your employees that you won't be reachable until you're back at work. Communication is key here. Remind them that taking this time is not just beneficial for you but also for the overall health of the business. By setting these boundaries, you not only safeguard your well-being but also establish a healthy work-life balance.

In essence, taking time off isn't just about physically stepping away; it's about mentally detaching from work commitments. So, let those emails linger a bit longer in the inbox, resist the urge to check in, and embrace the present moment. Your well-deserved break is not just a pause; it's a crucial investment in your overall well-being and the sustained success of your work.

Don't Forget to Delegate Tasks and Empower

As the owner of a small business, you may feel like the best way to get everything done is to do it yourself. But putting everything on your plate leads to you getting burnt out that much quicker.

two kids playing superhero dressed up in costumes with them jumping in the air like they are flying.
Being a superhero ALL the time is tough.

Let's dive into this common entrepreneurial dilemma. Picture this: your to-do list is a mile long, and the instinct is to tackle it all solo. It's a classic move—you're the captain of your ship, after all. However, here's a reality check: that superhero mindset can quickly lead to burnout. It's like trying to carry the weight of the entire business on your shoulders.

Now, here's a game-changing strategy: combat exhaustion before it even has the chance to set in. The secret weapon? Delegation. It's time to share the workload with your capable team. Your employees are more than willing to contribute, and by delegating tasks they can handle, you're not just lightening your load; you're building a collaborative and empowered work environment.

Think of it as distributing the weight evenly, turning your business into a well-oiled machine where everyone plays a crucial role. This shift not only prevents burnout but also allows you the luxury of taking some well-deserved time away. It's a win-win situation — your business keeps humming along, and you get the breather you need.

group of small business women holding hands and raising them in triumph
Empower your employees!

Now, here's the bonus round: by empowering your employees through delegation, you're not just easing your workload. You're also building morale within your team. When individuals feel trusted and valued, their job satisfaction skyrockets. Plus, you might just uncover hidden talents and untapped potential. It's like discovering a goldmine of skills within your own team.

So, as you share the workload, you're not just preventing burnout; you're fostering a culture of collaboration, empowerment, and growth. Your business becomes a place where everyone plays a vital role, and each person's contribution propels the entire team forward. It's a powerful formula for long-term success and a thriving, energized work environment.

Forgo Your Alarm - Mornings Tip 1

When you take a day off, don't set your alarm to go off early the next day. Alarms often wake you up before your body has gained sufficient sleep and can be a jarring way to start the day.

Santa asleep in a chair

Sure, on any given normal workday we often have no other choice than to rely on those pesky noisemakers. Long days lead to long nights, which in no way prevents an early morning to start it all over again. Small business ownership was never supposed to be easy.

Waking up this way every day can prevent your body from getting the true rest it needs. So, on your days off, allow your body to wake up naturally. This will ensure your body gets the sleep it needs, and you wake up feeling refreshed.

Slow Down Your Mornings - Mornings Tip 2

For many people, grabbing your phone when you first wake up is a habit that's hard to break. That's especially true for small business owners who may be managing their businesses on the go through emails and phone calls.

small business owner taking a moment to relax with coffee

But checking into work the moment you wake up allows no time for you to ease into the day. This can increase your stress before you even get the chance to brush your teeth or make your bed.

So, instead, on your day off, don't reach for your phone. Wake up slowly, stay in bed for a while. Try stretching or doing yoga, take a long shower, or enjoy a good breakfast before seeing what your messages have to say.

You have to be able to invest in yourself before you'll be effecting in investing in your small business or employees!

Get Outside and ENJOY the Holidays!

Being a small business owner means long hours, often inside an office or behind the counter of a store. And those long hours can also mean letting physical activity slip through the cracks. When you make time off, be sure to spend some of it outside.

christmas tree sitting in the middle of  town square with many small businesses around the square
Enjoy some of the holidays outside!

During the rush of the holidays, something as straightforward as a leisurely afternoon walk in the fresh air can work wonders in helping you relax more than you thought possible. Uncoil your shoulders and relish in the simple pleasure of being outdoors, fully immersed in the present moment.

Moreover, stepping outside isn't just about the physical benefits; it's a mental recharge too. The change of scenery, the natural sunlight, and the crisp air can do wonders for clearing your mind. It's a mini escape from the hustle and bustle, offering you a chance to reset and come back to your business responsibilities with a fresh perspective.

Consider incorporating small outdoor breaks into your routine. Whether it's a brief stroll around the block or a moment of reflection in a nearby park, these moments can become powerful rituals. They not only contribute to your well-being but also enhance your overall resilience as a small business owner, providing you with the mental clarity needed to navigate challenges and make sound decisions.

In essence, don't underestimate the rejuvenating power of nature, especially during hectic times. As you take time off, embrace the outdoors as a vital component of your self-care routine. It's a simple yet effective strategy that ensures you recharge both physically and mentally, fostering a sustainable and balanced approach to running your small business.

Bring a Business Coach on Board to Make it Easier

Seeing as though our business here at Out of the Box Advisors is primarily business coaching, we might be a bit biased. But, we can assure you that the benefits of having a resource such as a business coach can vastly improve your stress; especially in the holiday.

Business coaches help frame your mind toward growth while also helping you improve your overall stewardship of your small business. What this means is that you'll have significantly reduced stress even if your task load increase with all the things you coach leads you through.


Beat Small Business Stress This Holiday Season

You're likely more than happy to go into the offices, stores, and warehouses and work your dream job every day. While that love may not fade during the holiday season, the rush can create small business stress. More importantly, it has the potential to rob you of quality time with loved ones during the time that it matters most.

The busy holiday season doesn't mean you should find yourself under a mound of stress from Thanksgiving to New Years. Use these easy self-care methods to help relieve some of that stress.

When you take care of yourself, your small business will flourish. Looking for more business advice? Have a chat with our business coaches and find out how we can help you grow in your small business!

117 views0 comments


bottom of page