Finding ways to achieve relaxation when you’re working from home can be troublesome. Small business owners often wear numerous hats — from customer service to balancing the books, shipping orders, and more.
Add inconsistent cash flow into the mix and it’s no wonder many small business owners and sole traders face mental health challenges like anxiety and burnout.
“I often feel guilty taking time out to relax, knowing I could be doing something more for my business,” explains Brooke Gallard of VERVE Candles.
Gallard loves her job — but even though her products bring relaxation to her customers, running the business can prevent her from doing the same.
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Struggling to switch off?
It’s easy for work hours to blend into your personal time when you’re working from home. On a busy day, Gallard can work from 4:30am until 5pm.
The nature of e-commerce also means the online storefront is always open.
“I will generally respond to people out of business hours and my online site is open 24 hours a day taking orders,” says Gallard.
Mixing work and home life
Working at home can serve up its share of interruptions. Whilst they might not all be as dramatic as the now-infamous toddler who crashed a live news segment, it’s not uncommon for a dog to bark at an inopportune time, a child to decide to have playtime with your latest product supply or even a partner to interrupt an important phone call. Then there’s the chores calling your name.
“I do find it difficult to relax at home. I’m unable to focus on my work unless I have a clean work space. Often I’ll spend an hour or so cleaning my house and doing chores before I put in the remaining hours focusing on my business,” says Gallard.
Downtime is essential
Although it’s easy to fall into the trap of working until dinnertime and beyond, it’s worthwhile putting some effort into ensuring you also get time to relax. Work-life balance is as important for small business owners as it is for everyone else — perhaps even more so.
Getting enough rest and relaxation can reduce stress, delivering significant health benefits. For many, it means you make less mistakes and have better relationships both within and outside of work.
Dedicating time to relaxation not only helps you gain perspective and improves your health — it can make you more innovative!
Spending every minute absorbed in the minutia of your business is a sure-fire way to miss opportunities to offer new products or services, or come up with new ideas.
- Find a routine that works for you
“People have such different personalities. I find it difficult to sit still, but my husband could easily relax a few hours a day and he runs his own business as well.
“I think the key is to work out what routine makes you happy and more productive,” says Gallard.
- Set business hours and try to stick to them
Post your business hours on your website and social media. If you get a lot of messages on social media you can set up an autoresponder. This lets people know your hours, and how long it might take for them to receive a response.
- Be cognisant of what needs to be responded to immediately, and what can wait
“If something is not urgent, then I jot the task down on a piece of paper and add it to the next day’s tasks,” Gallard shares.
- Start small
If you’re someone who is used to working all of the time and being attached to your phone — start small. Leave your phone at home and take a five minute walk. Increase the time over the week until you’re taking a 20 minute walk without your phone. Notice how much more focused you are when you get back to work.
- Work out the activities you enjoy that help you relax and schedule them in regularly
“When the day is over and the kids are in bed, I like to relax on the lounge with a glass of wine and watch movies at least one night a week,” says Gallard.
- Take back your space
If work has spread throughout your home — try and move your work essentials to an allocated spot. If you can’t dedicate a room to work, have a basket or cupboard where you can put all of your work paraphernalia at the end of the day. Reclaim your home for relaxation once the working day is over.
- Exercise can be part of your relaxation routine
“I find it difficult to sit still. Running was my favourite sport when I was younger, and I often go for a run to clear my mind,” Gallard shares.
- Get social
“Catching up with my friends helps me enjoy life outside of work,” says Gallard. Make a regular catch up with friends, or put a placeholder in your calendar each week to make a phone call to friends or family.
Taking time to relax will benefit you and your business. Think of one thing you can try this week and get started with small steps.
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