Mention adding anything to the schedule to any entrepreneur or business owner during the 4th Quarter and you’ll probably get a few choice words plus a roll of the eye. That’s because 4th quarter is our Super Bowl, World Series and Marathon all rolled into one delightful time period that regular people joyously refer to as the “holidays”. If you are lucky to also manufacture goods then your 4th Quarter started in June or July, am I right?
Friends and family are nice to try include us with plans but anything extra outside of business, sales and ordering inventory seems to be overwhelming. Every year we vow to start preparing earlier and get things done so we can actually enjoy the holiday season but seriously that never happens. Every year customers are asking about gift sets and pumpkin products earlier and earlier. And we just get kids back to school when Pumpkin is already buzzin and media is talking about Black Friday and New Years Eve already.
So how do we stay sane and more importantly how do we stay healthy during this crazy time? The same qualities that make us business owners and entrepreneurs are also the same qualities that can turn small aches and pains into major health issues if we continue to push ourselves. But the benefits of running our own businesses can also benefit us in self care. We have the ability to incorporate movement throughout our day, we can take mental breaks if needed, we can determine if outsources job or home tasks can help us. We have a little more control over our businesses and more control over our own health then those in a typical office environment.
So what are talking about here when we’re talking about “being healthy” during the holidays? It’s taking the time now to determine where you need the most focus and how you’re going to do it. Do you work long hours and suffer with lack of sleep? Or is healthy eating your downfall when you get busy? Or maybe when you’re so busy during the holidays, you want a clean house but have no time to maintain it? Now’s the time to take out that planner or journal and write down what causes you the most stress, and what areas you need to focus on.
We need a few things in balance in order to stay healthy. We need proper nutrition including water intake, we need proper restful sleep, exercise throughout the day PLUS workouts and we need mental health. Any of those can get out of balance and most all of them can quickly get sidelined during the holidays.
We’ve been taught to believe that the only way to succeed in business is to work harder and harder, sleep less and only focus on your business. Anything else was self indulgent and selfish. We now know that the body needs all aspects of physical and mental health in balance in order for the body to function properly long term. And we all know that when you are healthy, all other aspects of your life benefit. And what point is having short term success in business if you can’t enjoy long term health and business success? We want to be around in the long run to enjoy the success of our business. Otherwise what’s the point?
So how do you start? Get that planner out and list what your schedule includes from today to Jan 2. Determine what overall tasks can be delegated (if you work with others or have employees), also determine what tasks you are willing and able to outsource. Maybe a meal delivery service a few times per week, or weekly home cleaning service, or anything else that takes up time that maybe can be done by someone else like ordering supplies.
Now we need to create a schedule that is doable. If you need to exercise but are not a morning person then don’t try to start doing spin class at 5am. It won’t last and it will only frustrate you. Maybe you always becomes so overwhelmed with stress that you need to schedule a massage every 2 weeks to make it through the holidays. Every holiday season we (entrepreneurs) vow to do things differently. Most of the time though we change up our business check list but we don’t change up our personal check lists. Now is that time to get a check list for business and self care and merge them into a doable plan.
Take your business schedule which has been revised to eliminate those tasks we already delegated. Do the same with your personal schedule. Now is when we decide just where we need to focus. This isn’t the time to add too much. We don’t need to learn a new language, start training for that marathon or take on a major store remodel. Now’s the time to focus. It can be done and we can do it. Combine your business and personal schedule and then create a list of what you need to change with your eating, water, exercise and mental health goals. I want to emphasize that this isn’t about going to the extreme in one area over the other. It’s about doing the best you can and balancing what you can in order to move forward in your health journey.
The goal is to eat highly nutritious foods that fuel your body through this stressful and busy time. For me it’s about planning ahead of time so I’m not scrambling to find something to eat that ends up just being quick and easy. Make sure to have plenty of good foods on hand and plan ahead. If this is one area that you wanted to improve and have no time for, then that meal delivery service was probably at the top of your list. The most common mistake in eating while you’re busy is that we forget to eat. If you’re this type, then make sure you have easy to carry foods that can be eaten while on the go or don’t require a sit-down-with-utensils type of meal. You can eat healthy without sitting down and taking a full hour.
Being properly hydrated is essential for focus and longevity. Even being a little bit dehydrated will slow your metabolism, mental focus and the body’s ability to
overall function. Not having enough food and water will also impair your immune system. Now is now the time of year to have a weakened immune system. Many tension headaches (besides from tension) can be aggrevated by slight dehydration. Aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces. So 150lb person would want to drink about 75oz of water per day and then more if you still feel sluggish.
Restful sleep is much different then just tossing and turning. True rest allows the body to recharge and repair cells from the day. It allows the body to detox and release toxins and fluids. Everyone has different needs but generally we need a good 6-8 hrs of restful sleep per night. This means being asleep before 11pm (the time our bodies naturally start the rebuilding process), eliminating screen time for an hour at least before heading to bed and winding down the mind. I find that water and sleep are the top things that show immediate results. Then food and exercise plans.
Not everyone’s favorite topic. And the one thing that always gets pushed to the side when our lives become busy or stressful. As entrepreneurs we need to think about movement and exercise as long term benefits for our business. There’s two elements here: movement throughout the day and then longer exercise workouts throughout the week. Think of it as this. Any time our bodies are sitting or at rest, the body’s internal functions are brought to a standstill. Immunity weakens, our metabolism slows, circulation begins to stall, and muscles/joints tighten and weaken. All of this contributes to disease, sickness, weight gain, blood clots/heart disease/diabetes and sore muscles. Get moving during work. Get a standing desk if you normally sit. Put the printer in another room. If you are already on your feet at a retail location then make sure to add some stretches and focus on your posture. Tighten abs and flex muscles while standing. Then we have to schedule those workouts. If you are normally very stressed during this time then make sure to incorporate yoga into your routine. You can do workouts at home or at a gym/studio. If you go somewhere to workout then use that time in the car or while working out to quiet the mind. The body needs longer periods of exercise in order to strengthen the heart/bones/muscle, improve circulation and stretch.
We all know that running a business is stressful. So what happens if you allow stress to take over and you never relax? Well your body eventually just can’t function after a while. Burn out is real and your job is to make sure to lower stress and manage stress now so you can be health in the long run. Imagine right now if you became seriously ill tomorrow and were away from your business for weeks. We want you to be happy, healthy and around for family and business in the long term. What triggers your stress? Is it lack of sleep? Ordering inventory? Talking to customers? Cleaning the house? Determine just what in your life causes the most stress and address it right now. Step back and see if there’s something that can help immediately. Schedule mental breaks throughout the day by simply going for a walk or stepping away from the office and doing some stretches or maybe you need to get a massage each week. Whatever it is…do more of that. Schedule these things like they are meetings. Because they are. They are meetings for self care. Believe me that when you focus on the above healthy things and focus on what benefits your business then you’ll not only have a successful holiday season, but you’ll notice long term health and business success.