Updated: Mar 25
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.
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.
Plan for a Break
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.
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.
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.
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.
Instead, separate your tasks into must-dos, do-soon, and can-wait. This will free up more time than you think.
Step Away and Stay Away
It's easy to get sucked down a work rabbit hole when you start a task. But if you should be taking time off from work to reduce some stress, you need to step away and stay away.
Those emails may feel like they're calling your name but you must ignore the beckoning to get back to work. If you're not in the office or at the store, it may be tempting to check in with your employees, don’t.
When you have time off, try your best to be present. The time alone and relaxed or being mindfully present with family is far more important. Do activities that relax you and remind employees that you won't be reachable until you're back at work.
Don't Forget to Delegate Tasks
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.
Combat against exhaustion before it even has the chance to set it. Allow some of your employees to share the workload and delegate tasks they can complete. This can lighten your load and allow you to easily take some time away.
Forgo Your Alarm
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
During the rush of the holidays, something like a simple afternoon walk in the fresh air can help relax you much more than you thought. Uncoil your shoulders and be outside in the moment.
Make Time for Family
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.
Quality time is one of the best ways to recharge from a stressful holiday as a small business.
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 consultants and find out how we can help you grow in your small business.