Recently the WISE Women’s Business Center asked me to facilitate several focus groups to assist them in developing training courses to help women business owners through the COVID crisis. So many successful, smart and gracious women gave up their time to share their insights during these challenging times.
While listening to these women talk about the COVID pandemic and its impact on their lives and businesses, the underlying feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt, uncertainty and stress were palpable. Life as a woman business owner is always a challenge but the pandemic has clearly made it more difficult. It seems now, more than ever, women business owners need to stay aware of the impact that the pandemic has had on them and find creative ways to make this new reality work.
Here are a few tips for taking care while keeping your business and the rest of life going now and beyond the crisis.
1) Ask for help and support – ask your spouse and your children to respect your work time and create expectations that everything is a team effort. Set boundaries with your family, your friends and your employees and ask for the flexibility you need. Lean on others who understand the challenges you are facing.
2) Reinvent your schedule – reinventing your schedule isn’t about shaking up your family’s routine or that of your business. It’s about choosing and honoring what works best for you. Take note of when you get your best work done and when it feels most effortless. If you work according to your natural rhythms, then you will be relying on your creative energy, which will free up time for other important things in your life, including self-care and also appropriate sacrifice.
3) Keep guilty feelings at bay– guilt is one of the hardest feelings to shake and women especially struggle with this when trying to juggle too much. Remind yourself that guilt is a poor use of your energy and it puts strain on work and family relationships. Try to catch those guilty feelings when they come and, instead reframe them into thoughts that are more productive. For instance, remind yourself that you are doing enough!
4) Self-love and self-respect – try to remember that self-love and respect need to come first. When you honor yourself, your time and efforts, you are allowing others to respect you and your many talents and abilities. It’s the proverbial “put your oxygen mask on first.”
5) Express your gratitude – Expressing your gratitude to others and also for the things you have, reduces stress and anxiety. Gratitude helps keep things in perspective and unlocks positive feelings. Take a few quiet moments every day to remind yourself of all the things for which to be grateful.
Work/life challenges are tougher than ever these days. As women business owners, it is easy to fall into the trap of needing and wanting to do more, but it is more important than ever to be mindful of your needs and what will allow you to keep going every day…now and beyond the crisis.