5 Tips to Avoid ‘Seeing Red’ on Shopping’s Biggest WeekendFeeling stressed? Here are 5 tips from a mindfulness coach on how to keep your cool when things get crazy.
For retailers, Black Friday and the weekend that follows are some of the busiest – and most stressful – days of the year.
As a small business owner, it’s imperative you know how to manage your stress, and mentally prepare for extra taxing days for your business. More than just taking care of your personal stress levels, as an effective leader, you’re also setting an example for your employees.
Emmie Stamell, who has been teaching yoga and meditation for over a decade, is a mindfulness coach for Leading Minds Executive Coaching, which helps business leaders learn strategies to grow their businesses and become more self-aware, resilient and compassionate human beings. She is also a small business owner herself, running a yoga studio and mindfulness therapy practice called Sukha Yoga.
“High stress levels are linked to a myriad of concerns, including increased absenteeism due to compromised health, agitation, decline in performance, productivity, creativity and organizational skills,” she explained. Learning how to appropriately manage that stress, will benefit business owners both professionally and personally.
Here are five tips from Stamell to help you keep your cool and manage your stress levels when things feel crazy in your store.
‘Early to bed and early to rise…’
“A disciplined sleep routine is critical to our well being,” began Stamell.
If your sleep cycle is off, it can not only affect your mood, but your physical health as well, she explained. “Abnormal circadian rhythms have been associated with diabetes, obesity, depression, seasonal affective disorder and bipolar disorder.”
According to sleep expert Shawn Stevenson, humans get “the most significant hormonal secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM.” So improve your chances of being “healthy, wealthy and wise” by being intentional about getting enough rest.
Practice positive contemplation
Meditation is another tool proven to help people better manage their overall mental state. Adding only a few minutes of positive contemplation to your morning routine will set the tone for the day and help you enter the workday in the right frame of mind.
“The growing body of empirical evidence that demonstrates meditation as a means of reducing stress is indisputable,” said Stamell. “Take 5 to 30 minutes each morning to pause, draw your attention away from the external and toward whatever variation of an inward-focused practice is compelling to you: meditate, set intentions for the day, pray, turn the mind toward thoughts of gratitude and appreciation, or practice deep breathing.”
Pause and take a moment
Getting plenty of sleep and daily meditation are great lifestyle choices that can help you manage stress on a daily basis, but what about when you’re in the thick of things and need some immediate relief?
Stamell recommended pausing and stepping away from the situation for a minute so you can regain a cool composure — what she calls a “mindfulness moment.” Here’s how to do it.
“Stop what you’re doing, and turn away from your computer or workstation,” she said. “Either sitting down or standing, place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Feel the connection of your hands to your body, and the contact of your feet against the floor. Now take five deep breaths and let out an audible sigh — or even a groan — on the exhalation as you gently bend forward. Release all the breath and, along with it, tension and stress. After five of these exaggerated breaths, return to a slow, even rhythm of breathing.”
Just taking a brief moment will help you much more calm and clear-headed when you return to the situation.
Take a walk
On days when your store is slammed with business, it can be difficult to convince yourself to take a break — but it’s likely exactly what you need to make it through the rest of the day.
“Take a mindful walk outside, if possible,” advised Stamell. “It sounds simple but getting outdoors for a few minutes and feeling the fresh air or the sun on your skin can be an immediate stress relief and an energy boost.”
During your walk, it’s important to not ruminate on what’s happening at work. Instead, afford yourself this time to focus on the present moment, she said.
“As you walk, feel your weight shifting from foot to foot. Notice the temperature of the air on your skin. Gaze at the beautiful light on the trees, or [notice] how it reflects on the street or buildings around you. Notice the smells and sounds around you. Let these sensory experiences be your primary focus of attention as you imagine thoughts drifting by, like clouds in the sky.”
‘Shake it loose’
Stamell’s final word of advice? “Literally, stand up and shake your body loose.”
This little bit of seemingly silly physical expression does more than get your body moving — it helps you mentally reset.
“Shake out all the limbs, let the belly relax, nod your head up and down, and roll the shoulders several times,” she said. “Shake off all of the gross physical tension and take several deep breaths as you do this. Adopt a playful, child-like demeanor while doing this. After a couple minutes of this practice you should feel lighter, more energized and less tense.”