Take Better Care of Yourself in 2012
Owning a small business is a stressful endeavor. Managing inventory, meeting quarterly sales goals, handling personnel issues, trying to plan ahead — the weight of it all can, at times, make you want to go into hiding. A better solution, however, is to find ways to take care of yourself, strengthen your ability to confront challenges, and maintain a positive attitude.
Here are a few steps you can take today to change your perspective and improve your overall well-being in 2012.
Adopt Healthy Behaviors
Take care of yourself. You may think you can get by with two or three hours of sleep, but you'll end up feeling sluggish, irritable, and incapable of making key decisions. Get the rest you need. Avoid excessive alcohol.
Recognize that making time for family and friends is at least as important as putting in 12 hours a day at the office. Spend quality time with your employees and colleagues, too. You'll grow as a person and be more effective in growing your business.
Eat right. If you have a lunch meeting, choose a nutritious salad instead gulping down soda and chips or greasy slices of pizza. If you can't get out of the office, ask your assistant to find healthy lunch options and to shun any "urgent" requests for a bacon cheeseburger.
Don't sit around all day in front of your laptop. This may offer the illusion that you're getting things done, but research shows the brain doesn't work to full capacity over a long, uninterrupted period of time.
Get up and moving. As little as half an hour a day of aerobic exercise can make a huge difference. Treat exercise as you would any other part of your day: Make an "appointment" to walk, run, or work out, and stick to it. (A few unconventional ideas for activity include horseback riding, tai chi and belly dancing.)
Shift Your Thinking
Don't get angry and take your frustrations out on others. Spreading your stress around through bad behavior won't improve the situation: Your staff will respond to these outbursts with resentment, which will lower morale. Realize that the impact of stress doesn't have to be negative. By staying calm and focused on solutions, you’ll open your mind to new possibilities and strategies. Think of stress as a trigger for getting things done.
Stop obsessing over things you can’t change. In a world of international conflict and mind-boggling natural disasters, it's easy to get sucked into negative thought patterns. But when you spend time feeling awful about things you have no power to change, you can end up feeling powerless to achieve anything at all.
Try meditation. It's something you can do almost anywhere you are. Remember: Decisions that seem tough in the short-term may result in a healthier outlook and renewed focus.
Lee Polevoi is an award-winning business writer specializing in the challenges and opportunities facing small business. He is former Senior Writer at Vistage International, a global membership organization of CEOs.