The Australian Small Business Blog

Friday, May 19, 2006

Are you a Resilient Business Owner?

by Michael Licenblat B.Sc.(Psych)

As a Self Employed Business Owner, you are your business. So, it is you who has to manage the pressures of working long hours, cash flow issues, keeping up to date with your industry changes, heavy workloads, as well as finding time for your personal/family life – without burning yourself out. So how do you do it??

1. Release Physical Tension
Spending a lot time, each day, sitting at a desk, on the computer, or in the car will create muscle tension. If not released, that tension will make your body feel tired, sluggish and achy. By stretching your body every 2-3 hours for just 45 seconds, you can increase your energy levels and reduce aches and pains. Try this:

Stretch your chest. Lean into a doorframe with your hands on the doorframe at about eye level height. Hold for 7 seconds. This will help to open the chest, ease breathing, release upper back and neck stiffness

2. Develop a resilient mental attitude
According to medical research, being in a negative state of mind (or emotionally depressed) can reduce the strength of your immune system [i], making you more susceptible to illness. Persistent bad moods can also lead to poor health. [ii]. Worry and frustration create tension in your body making you more prone to fatigue, muscle pain and illness.

Focus on the solutions you need, and take consistent action that moves you towards resolving the situation, instead of worrying about the problems you encounter. People who are optimistic about their challenges have found to have healthier immune systems, are not as adversely affected by stress, and suffer half the number of infections as pessimists [iii].

3. Switch off
You need to separate your work and home lives – especially if you have a home-office.
If you are still thinking about work when you are at home, then your body is experiencing the same tension and stress as if you were still at the office! You must create a mental transition from work to home. Change into ‘home’ clothes at the end of your day. Get a hobby, interest, sport or activity you can get into for 20-30 minutes each day. Set clear times so that you are available to your family, and yourself, where you do not disappear to make ‘a quick call’ or return an email.

4. Take a break
Get up from your chair, away from your desk, out of your car, and out of the office, and take a brisk walk outside for a few minutes each day. Even during your breaks, don’t just stand around – doing a 5-10 minute power-walk can lift your energy for a couple of hours. Not only will it give you a mental break, but this movement will also:
* Brings more oxygen & blood to your body & brain, which will improves your focus
and concentration span
* Burns calories
* Normalizes your blood sugar level - which helps to even out mood swings
* Calms emotional tension

[iii] Seligman, M., Learned Optimism, Random house, Sydney, 1994, Pg 175.
[iv] Time Magazine February 5, 2001, page49

Michael Licenblat is a Resilience Expert and the Director of Bounce Back Fast

The Australian Small Business Blog

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