Self-care can go a long way in combating work-induced stress, and although it’s tempting to avoid taking time off when you’re busy, it’s important to take breaks and avoid burnout. Reclaim your life outside of work with these four simple tips.
Get creative with your free time.
Focus your mind on something outside of your business. If a painting or pottery class is too much of a time commitment, then you can find YouTube videos that teach you everything from playing the ukulele to creating gorgeous origami. Getting creative in the kitchen is another way to help reduce stress. The action of preparing food and eating mindfully can act as a form of meditation, with the advantage of a wholesome meal at the end to help boost your mood.
Sitting at a computer or standing behind a counter all day can prevent you from experiencing the endorphin release associated with exercise. Download a free app like My Fitness Pal or strap on a Fitbit movement monitor to encourage you to get in your daily steps. Or get over the guilt you feel when you’re off the grid and do a digital detox for an hour. Even a short walk in nature can boost your mood.
Work with a virtual assistant.
Some days there is simply not enough time to fit everything in, but hiring a virtual assistant can help you do everything from finishing office admin tasks to making personal appointments, at a fraction of the cost of an employee. There is a wide range of personal assistant apps that offer everything from house cleaning and handyman services (Handy) to food delivery from your favourite restaurant (Foodora).
You can also download apps that are designed to help you chill out, even if you don’t have much time to relax. Headspace is an app that comes with a free 10-day course offering 10-minute meditations to introduce you to mindfulness. Meditation is an ancient technique that helps to relieve stress and reset the brain. Meditate during a break from work or right after you wake up as a way to help you face the day. Similarly, if you’re having trouble sleeping, an app like Sleep Machine may help you drift off into a sweet slumber.
Use data to manage cash flow.
Intuit QuickBooks found that cash flow is the number one concern for entrepreneurs and small business owners. If cash flow issues are keeping you up all night, it might be time to get a handle on the reality of your finances. Use practical tools, such as Square Dashboard, to get an overview of your sales, and integrate other useful apps to help take the headache out of admin tasks like shipping (ShipStation), stock taking (Square Inventory) and scheduling staff (Square Employee Management).
Volunteer your time to help others.
Petting animals has been shown to reduce stress by lowering blood pressure, and four-legged friends can also help with depression by getting you out and about. Take your dog into the office to spread the slobbery love — many coworking spaces are dog-friendly (unless you’re working with food, of course) and a growing number of companies, such as Hootsuite, encourage employees to bring their dogs to work (check out #HootDogs on social media). If you can’t care for a dog full-time, sign up at a local animal shelter to be a walker — you get to spend time with canine friends in need without the day-to-day commitment.
Doing good makes you feel good, and feeling good can make you more capable of plowing ahead during stressful times. Volunteer a small window of time to help someone else and you end up with an appointment you can’t miss (thus forcing you to take a break). The altruism may also give your happiness a boost. Check out these expert tips for more ways to beat the blues.