Nobody could have predicted the shape 2020 took, but with a new year comes a new start and many within our small business community are crossing their fingers for a much smoother ride.
Dealing with COVID restrictions and their impact on everyday life while managing the changes within our small businesses was far from easy. Luckily it’s the small steps we make toward looking after ourselves that make a difference having a better 2021.
Carmel Loughland, Acting Director of Everymind, said: “It can be so easy for us to take our mental health for granted; to prioritise other things; to put it off until next week. It can also seem too big and too hard. But it’s not. There are some things everyone can do.”
With that in mind here are five simple changes you can make starting today to help you feel more positive about your life and your business.
1. Make time for self-care
Real self-care has very little to do with going for a pedicure or making time for a jog. While those activities can be relaxing, proper self-care is about doing one thing every day that helps you feel stronger.
Celebrant Julie Muir runs her solo business from Lake Macquarie in NSW. She has developed two strategies that help her make time for herself.
Julie said: “Working for myself has loads of advantages, and it has challenges too – mine can be quite a solitary profession. Some strategies I have developed is to build up a network of colleague celebrants, who I can lean on in times of need. I also find time to do a walk and meditation before each ceremony I deliver. It helps me deliver a great ceremony.”
2. Define your work hours and stick to them
As small business owners, we must make time for a break, and after a hectic year, that means setting some boundaries around your time.
The “always-on” mentality can wear us down even after a break following a wild year and we must guard our time and our rest.
Sally Greer runs an online baby clothes shop from her home in Tasmania. She recently committed to shutting off her laptop half an hour earlier each day in December.
“Even this small window of time gives me more energy… I know it will help me unwind and this can only mean good things for the way I approach my work next year,” Sally said.
3. Say “no”
It sounds so simple, but it’s probably the most useful thing you can do at this time of year as a small business owner. Sit down and make an exact list of your top 5 priorities at work and home and say no to everything (and we mean everything!) that crops up in between.
Time management expert Kate Christie said: “Rather than jumping in with an immediate yes to requests for help, remind yourself that every time you say yes to someone: you are saying no to yourself… Don’t confuse problem-solving with the need to take on endless amounts of work. It’s all about prioritising, delegating and rejecting.”
4. Develop/maintain good habits
Yes, it’s the silly season! But why not use this time to commit to more sleep, more movement and more fresh fruit and vegetables and socialise with people who uplift you.
Empowerment coach told said: “Don’t look back, except to remember lessons learned in 2020 and maybe laugh at what truly was an unprecedented year. Instead choose to look forward with hope, determination and appreciation. This one mindful decision can produce positive emotions and energy, spurring you into action, ready to create the future you desire.”
5. Reach out
The people we surround ourselves have an enormous impact on the way we feel about our lives. Connecting with friends at family this year is more critical than ever, thanks to the easing of restrictions. But it’s also a great time of year to make new connections via social networking and platforms like Meetup or Eventbrite that connect you to like-minded people in your local area.
For more tips and resources to support the health and wellbeing of our small business community, visit Ahead for Business.
Ahead for Business is an initiative of Everymind and funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
If you are in need of support for your mental health, services are available 24/7:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467