With all of the stress from the busiest shopping season of the year, by the time the holidays are over and the New Year comes around many small business owners are overworked and burned out. And let’s not forget all of the other external factors that many of us probably dealt with during the holiday season such as difficult family dynamics.
It’s extremely difficult to keep up with business when your mental health tanks, so how can you protect yourself and your business from the new year blues this year?
Plan ahead at the very least just enough that you’re able to make yourself a priority. Create and schedule a week’s/month’s worth of content, so that you don’t have to worry about the visibility of your online presence while you take some TLC.
Sometimes it can feel like every task is as important as the next. Instead of compiling all of the things you need get done, break them down into “must get done” and “want to get done” by asking yourself these questions:
“What will happen if I don’t get this done by x?”
“Can this realistically be worked on at a later time when I’m feeling more motivated and focused?”
Use the answers to these questions to work on the “must get done” tasks one at a time before even considering working on anything else.
Burnout can sneak up on you with almost no advanced warning. Educating yourself on the warning signs is the best way to protect yourself and your business.
If you find yourself obsessing over details to the point where you begin to neglect your basic needs, feel numb or detached, experience abnormal amounts of self-doubt, have a low mood or increased anxiety, feel fatigued or have a lack of creativity, or notice any other changes in performance or productivity then you may be experiencing burnout.
Give yourself permission to extend deadlines. Give yourself permission to take a nap and reset. Give yourself permission to cry and feel whatever you’re feeling. Give yourself permission to disappear from the internet for a few days if it makes you feel inferior. Just give yourself permission.
This is a big one. Not everyone is blessed with the perfect family and friends dynamic. Feeling pressured to immerse yourself with people who drain your energy at the start of the new year can be particularly deflating to your mental health.
If you’re unable to remove yourself from or avoid these interactions, come up with a separate system of support. Whether it be convening at your best friend’s house once a week, going to a movie with your chosen family, or as simple as a daily text check-in, come up with a system that is easily achievable, and won’t add on to any negative feelings you may be experiencing.
Remember, humans are not meant to work 24/7, which can most of the time feel impossible as self-employed designers. The work will still be there when you’re ready to take it on again. The best way to combat the new year blues is to take care of yourself before anything else