Coronavirus confirmed as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. From the UK to the US, India to China most companies like Google, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, Hitachi, and Facebook have all announced work from home guidelines on the outbreak of COVID-19.

Running a business and dealing with the stress of COVID-19

The pandemic has placed unexpected pressure on all businesses, large and small. In this unprecedented situation, I didn’t let it be influenced by the stressful situation and kept debating what works best for me and my team’s wellbeing. To be more decisive and motivated I followed some steps:

  1. Like virtual meetings, telephone, and e-mail communication means of communication.  Barbara Larson, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston suggests – 10 mins kick-off call to begin and a quick call to end the day can help teammates.
  2. Offering forums and inviting casual conversations helped me to take part in important decision-making and overcome any long-or short-term hurdles.  
  3. To keep myself and the team motivated, I conducted 30-minute rejuvenating and socializing meetings daily with my team. These helped to lower my stress and helped my team remain connected in a positive way.

2. Ways you have prioritized self-care as a business leader

  1. Compete with yourself: Our greatest task is to discover and abolish all the barriers to success in the mind. My success is built upon capitalizing on my strengths and converting failures into opportunities to advance in my career. If today we don’t deal with my shortcomings, they will rise as obstacles in the future. So, I decide to compete with myself. I believe in being my own competitor! Our determination to win against ourselves is a real win.
    Along with competitiveness, being compassionate is also very important at work; let us see why.
  2. Compassion: Having compassion for yourself and for others can provide you with a cushion and a sense of balance, which will keep your relationship with yourself and others harmonious and productive. Compassion communicates the dignity and worth of one person to another. This sense of value helps in creating confidence, promoting self-esteem, and breeding trust. Compassionate interpersonal exchanges yield collective benefits in the work itself, just as team building, collaboration, and collegiality do. Compassion should not be viewed as a sign of weakness; rather it an expression of genuinely helping others and nurturing yourself.

3. Is it challenging for you when focusing on taking care of yourself?!

The need to slow down after the outbreak of the virus was difficult for me. The world is competitive and based on the survival of the fittest, but I needed to slow down just as the world around me is slowing down with the virus. 

  1. I used this opportunity to go deeper into myself, to sit and contemplate the crisis of the moment, and to ask myself, “What do I actually need in life?  How can I help others? How can I have a better regime by working from home?” Also, rather than focusing on myself, I diverted some of my attention in bringing help to people around me in terms of creating an action plan, having deeper conversations, and sharing resources.
  2. Initially, I found it difficult to unplug from technology even for a day. We are so reliant on technology these days, and during uncertain times technology is even more useful. But I think in the initial days of the Covid-19 outbreak, I didn’t normally make time for such things as long walks in nature nor did I normally take time to have a deep conversation with my family.  Since everything went online, I became very self-occupied. But I eventually circled back to having deep conversations with myself, family, and the team.

4. Encourage your team to prioritize self-care

  1. Via breathwork and Meditation – I took the initiative to educate them about mental health through breathwork and how they can prioritize their tasks through time management. Breathwork can lead to a great balancing of body and mind. A stress-free mind is more happy, productive, creative, and ready to innovate. I also asked for feedback that allowed me to make changes and tailor efforts to meet the needs of my team. I think how frequently I respond to their feedback affects the enthusiasm of the team who took care of the tech neck and wrist pain!
  2. Time Management – I think directing your team to health and wellbeing as well as towards expertise in managing their time can align their head and heart towards positivity. I personally conducted time management workshops on how to prioritize their tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix. This helped them writing a personal mission statement; differentiate between urgent and important tasks, long-range and short-range planning, preventive maintenance, preparation, and capacity building activities. I go from a premise to my team that good physical, mental and emotional health is very important to be a successful entrepreneur. If you are overwhelmed then you are not in the best mindset to be creative, organized, and innovative in your goals.

5.  Tips for entrepreneurs or business owners wanting to focus on self-care

  1. Engage in body-mind care – be positive! Don’t let the stress take over your schedule and healthy routine. Make conscious efforts to eat healthy, exercise, meditate and get enough sleep. The more unbalanced a person becomes due to overworking the more it reflects in their work and in their interaction with others and other transactions. It is crucial to take care and add self-care activities to be more productive at work.
  2. Accepting Uncertainty – Uncertainty is a normal for life in some or the other form. But it doesn’t have to be an anxiety-inducing and momentum-breaking experience. In spite of ruminating on negative events which might affect mind and body, entrepreneurs might shift their focus upon their past successes that would help in keeping confidence high and developing new skills.
  3. Set Boundaries between Business and Personal life – Since entrepreneurs are in the driver’s seat, they need this advice even more. What does that mean? It means not spreading your work as well as your thought processes throughout the day.  Reserve separate time for family and friends. Due to technology, entrepreneurs spend long hours with digital technology and its accessibility may keep them away from their personal lives.