The beginning of the year can be hard for business owners.  It can be a very slow time for businesses causing a lot of stress and anxiety.  There are a lot of items due for taxes such as 1099s, W2s, and of course tax forms and payments.  This year is especially hard as this is our first full winter during COVID and we know we still have rough months ahead.

How do you rest your mind?

No matter what time of year it is, or what phase your business or life is in, you need to make room for relaxation.  If you don’t find time to rest both physically and mentally you will have a hard time being the best business owner.  When most people think about relaxing and resting they think about physically resting like napping or sitting on the coach to read or watch TV.  There is another very important type of resting and that is resting your mind.  For many people, not just business owners, they find it hard to leave work at work and are constantly thinking about it.  There are so many problems to deal with daily that your mind can’t keep up and it can wear you out emotionally and make you more physically tired.  Having time to relax can feel like a luxury, but here are a few things I do that can take as much or little time as you want them to.

Get off of your devices

Take a break from all screens including your computer, phone, tablet, and TV.  Give not only your eyes a break, but also your mind.  Constantly checking in on social media, watching the news, or even watching commercials can bring your stress up and get your brain in high gear.  Everyone deserves a small break from everything that is going on in the world right now, even if it’s only 10 minutes.  Try turning your devices off at least 1/2 hour before bed, from the time you are done with work to after dinner, or see if you can disconnect for a whole weekend.  While it might be hard at first and seem more stressful, it will actually turn into a break that you really enjoy.

Make time for your hobbies

Again, it may feel like a luxury to have time for hobbies, but there are many that do not take much time.  I love to read and although I would like to do it more, I make sure that I at least read for 15 minutes each evening before bed.  It gives my mind something else to think about and gives me time to relax before bed so I sleep better.  A large number of business owners and employees have a lot of online meetings and trainings right now.  These can be very stressful for many people, so see if you can incorporate your hobby during these times to bring your stress levels down.  I have a coloring book that I use during trainings.  I can give my full focus to what I am learning, but am able to have a little fun and can easily break to take notes as watch the screen as needed.  My other love is being outdoors.  While that can be harder in the winter, I have learned even a short walk outside can make me more productive when I am done.  I might just take a 15 minute walk to the mailbox or a 5 mile walk through the woods, but can get the same results from both.  Getting fresh air and hopefully some sunshine can do wonders for my mood and productivity.  Although physical exercise always helps me, I have discovered that walks for me are more of a time for me to clear my mind from my to-do list, unanswered emails, and problems I am dealing with.  I actually feel lucky that a lot of the walks I take are in areas with no cell service.  Then I cannot check emails or answer calls even if I wanted to.  I have also found many Podcasts to listen to while I walk which help get my creative juices flowing and inspire me as a business owner.

Connect with friends and family

This is something that I definitely need to work on.  Since COVID has hit most people have not been able to get together with their family and friends as often as they would like or in the same way that they used to.  I have not been able to see my mom since October (that may be the longest time for us since I was in college).  We both have busy lives including running businesses, taking care of kids and parents, house and yard maintenance, etc.  I talked to her last night for over an hour.  We mostly talked about the struggles in our businesses and lives which are stressful, but it was actually relaxing to be able to share and talk through problems, and just have someone to vent to.  It can be a big weight off of your shoulders just to share the struggles you are having right now with people you trust and love.  They may not be able to help you fix any of your problems, but it can help you relax just to know that you have people who support you.  Many days I feel so emotionally drained at the end of the day that I don’t want to talk to anyone, but making the time can be beneficial.  Now I just need to take my own advice!

What will work for you?

There are just a few suggestions about how to relax your mind, but there are so many ways.  Think about times during your day that you are happiest, what are you doing during those times?  What are things in your life that you look forward to?  When do you feel most relaxed and what are you doing during those time?  Talk to friends, family, and colleagues to see what they do and work on creating your own schedule of relaxation.  It may take some time to implement and may even take some time to figure out how to fully relax during your resting times, but keep at it, it will be worth it!!

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