Being a small business owner what could possibly be more important than cash coming out of COVID-19 you’re probably wondering? It’s not closely monitoring your expenses either or putting in place a plan if another crisis is to strike. It’s you, writes Luke McLeod founder of livestream meditation platform Soul Alive.
Yes, you. You and specifically your mental wellbeing should be your number one priority right now. Before you rush off saying ‘Really? I’ve got more important things to do’, a recent study lead by the World Health Organisation estimated that depression and anxiety costs the global economy more than US$1 trillion each year in lost productivity and with Australian mental health support and information organisation Beyond Blue recently reporting that they have experienced an increase of 60 per cent accessing their services since launching the free COVID-specific support service in early April this year, it’s safe to say that this is very serious business.
Therefore investing some time and focus into learning and then scheduling in practical and sustainable mental wellbeing exercises into your daily routine would certainly be time well spent.
Here are my top suggestions on what to implement:
Schedule self-check-in reminders on your phone
Being a business owner myself I know how busy you probably are. Everything comes first before yourself. We don’t even realise most of the time how tired or stressed we are because we’re ‘just getting stuff done.’ Until we reach the tipping point. Exhausted, weak and broken. It’s not that we don’t want to look after ourselves, we just simply forget to or other things take priority. Something as simple as setting two reminders on your phone, one at 11am and one at 3pm, to ‘check-in with yourself’ can do so much. It pulls you out of whatever you’re doing at that moment to just ask yourself “How am I feeling right now?” and if you are feeling a little stressed or tired try one of the next following suggestions.
Take three long deep and deliberate breaths
We often forget how important breathing is. It is the most essential resource we need to live and yet we constantly forget about it because it is such a basic component of living. A study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found how slow breathing techniques enhance autonomic, cerebral and psychological flexibility. In other words, it increased levels of relaxation and alertness, and reduced feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.
An easy slow breathing exercise is to breathe in through the nose as deeply as possible for a count of eight, hold the breath for another count of eight and then release the breath out through the mouth for a final count of eight. Repeat this three times and see how you feel.
Give meditation a go
I’m sure you’re well aware of the numerous benefits meditation can bring, this get’s published enough. If we all know how good it is for us though, why don’t more of us maybe you have tried it but haven’t stuck with it? I believe it is because we’ve done a fairly poor job of contextualising it for the modern Western world. It’s like someone bringing in an old 16th wooden flute to the office and only saying “there you go, play that and it’ll make you feel better.” This is why we’ve made such an effort at Soul Alive to address the usual challenges most people face when they start out with meditation. Guiding them through an almost instruction manual to help them implement it into their daily lives. So instead of just looking for a meditation to do, look for a resource that helps explain how to meditate. This way you’ll not only experience the benefits of meditation more, but you’ll also be more likely to stick with it.
Please remember to make yourself a priority right now and don’t just rush back into ‘business as usual’. By doing so, I’m confident it will not only help your business thrive, but you’ll also enjoy the journey a whole lot more.