Feeling gloomy all the time? Fearful, pessimistic? When you look at your cash flow, do you want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head? That’s no way to survive and thrive in these times. It’s not good for your business, your health, your relationships.
Challenging times call for energy, persistence, optimism. But how do you achieve that when every day it seems like there’s more bad news? You take action – that’s what. And you take care of yourself.
So here’s Rhonda’s handy-dandy guide to maintaining good health and some peace of mind in these difficult times:
• Put yourself on a news “diet.” Watching story after story of economic woes isn’t going to help. You do need to be informed and stay on top of developments that could benefit you, so don’t go cold turkey on news. But set a limit (15 minutes?) on the financial news you watch or read. Then turn to more light-hearted stuff. (Will Jennifer Aniston marry John Mayer? What’s happening with March Madness?) You could use some diversion.
• Take control. Studies show that if you feel you have at least a bit of control over what happens to you, you’re more likely to be optimistic. Since so much in this economy is driven by factors we have no influence over, look for things you can do that give you a sense of doing something. Even small steps can reduce your sense of helplessness.
• Get a good night’s sleep. This is perhaps the most basic thing to do. You need a good night’s sleep to keep perspective on the things you have to face, to have the energy to keep going. Lack of sleep increases your anxiety level. Having trouble sleeping? If necessary, ask your doctor or consider an over-the-counter sleep aid.
• Cut down on caffeine and watch your alcohol intake. A glass of wine or cold beer at the end of a hard day can take the edge off, but, remember alcohol is actually a depressant, so don’t go overboard. Both too much alcohol and too much caffeine makes sleeping more difficult.
• Eat healthier. When you’re stressed, junk food can seem comforting, but you’ll actually feel better mentally as well as physically when you take care of yourself with more nutritious food. Yes, I know that fresh fruits and vegetables may cost a bit more than all that processed stuff, but if you buy carefully, you should still be able to eat healthfully.
• Get some exercise. If you’re tense and nervous, work it out. You don’t have to join a gym; taking a good, long walk or run every day will help you reduce tensions and make you sleep better.
• Make more sales calls. Make a plan to contact a certain number of past customers every day. Call your referral sources. Work the phones, send out e-mails. Keep at it, and don’t give up.
• Go through your budget. Eliminate any nonmission-critical expenses. Call vendors to see if you can negotiate lower fees (yes, including your landlord even if you have a lease). Even cutting out small expenses can make you feel like you’re doing something.
• Do, however, keep a few inexpensive goodies to keep up staff and your morale. You don’t want to feel completely deprived, nor do you want your staff to feel completely stressed. Bring in a package of chocolate chip cookies for the office staff if you no longer can afford to take them to lunch.
• Step away from those numbers! Once you’ve gone through your budget, figured out where you can cut some expenses, stop obsessing. Do not look at your finances late in the day or evening – remember, you need to get some sleep.
• Give yourself positive messages. How we talk to ourselves throughout the day helps shape our sense of well-being. Make sure you’re telling yourself some positive, true things a number of times a day. Try things like, “I can work through this; I’ve survived down times before; I’m smart and capable; I’ve got a great family and friends.” And, of course, the most true thing of all, “This, too, shall pass…”
Now, get some sleep!
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2009 Rhonda Abrams is the president of The Planning Shop, publisher of books for entrepreneurs. Her newest is “Successful Marketing: Secrets & Strategies.” Register for her free business tips newsletter at www.PlanningShop.com.