The pandemic has placed huge demands on small businesses across the country. Whether navigating in and out of lockdowns or dealing with uncertainty and the broad-reaching impact on freight, supply chain and hiring, many have invested huge amounts of time and energy into just getting by.
Lockdowns have increased pandemic fatigue and the exhaustion from the ongoing experience reduces motivation and can lead to burnout. But our energy is a finite resource. So, how can you best manage and create energy?
While workplace factors, like role clarity and the ability to control your workload, are the biggest predictors of burnout, investing in personal well-being strategies can be valuable to improve your day-to-day. We spoke to Sean Hall, founder of Energx, a performance strategy, training and coaching company dedicated to improving the energy of individuals and organisations, on how you can become what he calls an “Energist” – someone who expands their own energy and that of others. Here are his five simple tips to build your personal energy:
- Focus on what you can control: It’s easy to drain huge amounts of energy worrying about the ‘what ifs’. Instead, hone in on what actions can help your business and your well-being. Consider simple activities to improve your health, reduce screen time, or how you show up for customers and employees. This approach has been found to help with the uncertainty we are all currently experiencing.
- Find six spare minutes: taking positive steps for our health and well-being doesn’t have to be time consuming. Dedicating just six minutes a day can make a difference thanks to simple practices, like a quick stretching session or eating mindfully. This can even be broken up into one minute segments. The more manageable these practices feel, the easier it is to stick to them.
- Connect with people you trust: Running your own business can feel isolating at times, especially for those who work alone. With restrictions lifted, we have more opportunities to meet beyond our screens. Reach out to someone you know and trust for a phone call or grab a coffee. Interacting with others boosts oxytocin, the feel-good hormone.
- Reflect on gratitude: While it can be hard to feel grateful when times are tough, it can have a big impact. Research has found that gratitude is linked to improved well-being and optimism. Turn it into a regular practice by reflecting on what you are grateful for – a sunny day, good parking spot or your partner making dinner. Then jot it down on paper. The act of writing these thoughts is key.
- Tune into your breathing: How often do you focus on your breath? Chances are, not very much. Taking a minute to focus on your breath can reduce stress and increase alertness, help cultivate energy and make you feel more refreshed. How? Controlled breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system, slowing your heart rate and helping the body and mind to calm. Get started by breathing along to this visualiser.
Effectively managing your energy is vital to keeping both you – and your business – up and running. We tend to understand how important this practice is for the people around us, like ensuring the kids are fueled for the day ahead. But it’s easy to let our own energy fall by the wayside. Even if you’re short on time, these small changes can help cultivate the foundations for well-being.