7 Ways To Kick Your Small Business Stress Habit During The Holidays

By on November 26, 2014

7 Ways To Kick Your Small Business Stress Habit During The Holidays

Stress is a common side effect of the busy small business owner’s lifestyle. You know the feeling of stress all too well but did you know that kicking your stress habit could seriously impact your long-term health and success? Studies have shown that high levels and prolonged bouts of stress can adversely effect your health and cause things like stroke, heart attack, autoimmune weakening, weight gain and lower cognitive function (XX). None of that is good for your short or long term success as a business owner or as a human being. You have not just a staff, but also a family, counting on you to take good care of your health to ensure you’re around a long time to run and operate your business.

As we get ready to enter the busy and often stressful holiday season, stress can take an even bigger role in the average small business owner’s life. If you’re in online or offline retail sales, the holidays are the busiest time of year and for you, probably the most important. Even if you’re a service provider and holidays mean slower business, that stress of reduced incoming revenues can pile onto your anxiety and for anyone who must travel to see family or clients during the holiday season, stress can be over the top.

Don’t let yourself succumb to the stress trap. You have ways to fight back and put yourself and your health ahead of the stress. Here are seven tips to help you kick the stress habit this holiday season for not just a better time, but a better life, too.

1. Sleep

The holidays often have business owners running at a million miles an hour. You’re running your business at full speed, especially if your business is retail focused and depends on the holiday season to greatly contribute toward your financial revenues for the year. On top of that you’re trying to balance all the holiday festivities with family and friends and all the parties and events that go along with the holidays, and maybe even travelling! It’s easy to feel run down during the holidays, so one way to beat the stress at this very busy time of year is to keep sleep as a top priority. Good sleep allows your body to repair and your brain to reset so you can keep up with your busy schedule. If you’re finding is hard to sleep, be sure to skip stimulants like caffeine that can harm your sleep, as well as considering natural, herbal remedies that help promote sleep like lavender oil or all natural liquid melatonin which can help assist you in transitioning into good sleep patterns during the frenzy of the holidays. Sleep is the best thing you can give your immune system, so rest up!

2. Skip the Sugar

Sugar is everywhere at the holidays. It might be an even be a sweeter time than Halloween because while trick or treating lasts a few days, the holidays and all their sweet treats last the whole month of December. There are pies at Christmas, cookies and treats at Chanukah, and all the festivities and parties along the way. With all that tempting confection lying around it’s easy to increase your seasonal sugar intake this time of year. While some sweets here and there are okay, you’d be wise to avoid sugar as much as possible this time of year. Not only does it end up making your energy spike and then crash, which doesn’t help your productivity. It also can adversely affect your sleep in addition to adding to an unfit lifestyle. Skip the sugar whenever and wherever possible to reduce your holiday stress. Keep a keen eye on hidden sugar culprits, too – it’s not just the cookies and pies, sugary alcoholic drinks, eggnog and other seemingly harmless offenders are packed with sugar that will leave you feeling poorly in the long term.

3. Minimize the Spirits

Keeping with the theme of reducing your sugar intake, small business owners should try to keep all the holiday spirits to a minimum. With all the parties at the holidays you can find yourself toasting and raising your glass far more often than other times of the year. Minimize your alcohol for better sleep, better health and better energy during the holidays when you need your health the most.

4. Keep Perspective

It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialism of the holidays. You’re running fast with business and trying to meet all your family and social obligations, which can lead to greater stress than usual. Combine that with the spending frenzy that tends to go hand-in-hand with the holidays and you’ve got a perfect recipe for burnout. Instead, this year why not give perspective a try. You can say no to social obligations. It’s okay to politely decline ahead of time when you know you’re going to overcommit yourself. It’s okay to choose to spend less in gifts this year to protect your financial bottom line. It’s also okay to ask your family to help where you need it and to even choose to travel less if the cost and time of travel will contribute too much stress to your life. Learn to say no and keep things in perspective for reduced stress this season.

5. Maintain Your Routine

When things get busy or when you travel, your routine is usually the first thing to go. Try to keep your routine as much as possible to keep your sanity. If you work out regularly and stay active, then continue to do so and make time for your health during the holidays – don’t let that slip. If you wouldn’t drink three or four times a week or eat massive quantities during your usual week, you don’t have to treat the holidays differently. Choose to keep your routine and maintain your healthy habits in order to beat the stress of the holidays. Your small business needs you to be healthy, rested and functioning.

6. Plan Ahead

Part of keeping your routine and saving yourself some stress comes from good planning. Invitations for holiday parties are already starting to come to your inbox, so plan now which ones you absolutely should attend and politely decline the others ahead of time to save yourself the stress later. Look at your month of December from a 30,000 foot view and try to perform some air traffic control on your life during those four weeks. What important business objectives and things must you accomplish? Those go on the calendar and are number one priority. Next look at any travel or family obligations, those should be scheduled next. Finally, any social initiations can be factored in and declined at will based on how busy your weeks look with your important objectives in place. A great plan can help you combat stress ahead of time.

7. Ask for Help

The holidays can overwhelm us all… so don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re exceedingly busy, can you talk to you spouse about how he or she might be able to help at home in a different way? If that’s not possible – can you two tackles the holiday shopping now before it gets busy and crazy? Ordering gifts early and online is a great way to maximize your time, get free (or cheap) shipping and avoid the pitfalls of the mall. If you need more help during the holidays to manage your business, hire on some temporary help. There are plenty of people looking to take on extra work during the holidays to earn some extra money, so applicants are plentiful and could help you reduce some stress. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Join Us in the Conversation...

We'd love to know your thoughts on this article.
Meet us over on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to join the conversation right now!

[easy-share buttons="facebook,twitter,google" counters=0 native="no" facebook_text="Share on Facebook" twitter_text="Share on Twitter" google_text="Share on Google+"]
Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right .