Avoiding The Small Business December Burn Out

It’s now less than a Month until Christmas and already you might be feeling rather overwhelmed by everything already. This time of year is often full of stress and busyness but I just want you to know that it doesn’t have to be.

For the last few years I have tried to pare back Christmas and this year and I’m doing it even more so. If you also run a small business, you will know how it can get pretty manic trying to meet postal deadlines and dealing with customers who are worried they wont receive their goodies in time. We of course want to be able to do everything but it’s vital to your mental health to be realistic about how much time you have and what you can achieve in that time. Do not leave yourself completely empty by Christmas Eve because all your energy has been focused on pleasing other people.

If you receive my newsletters you will know that last week I talked about stepping back and taking a bit of time out for yourself as you can’t run on empty and you need to give your mind and body chance to reset in order to work it’s best. This resonated with so many people as I received many email replies saying my letter had come at the perfect time, lots were already feeling the burn out and it was only mid November!

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Tips to avoid December burn out

  1. Give yourself guilt-free time every day to relax. This might be going for a short walk, relaxing with a lovely Christmas magazine and hot chocolate or popping by to visit a friend ‘just because’.
  2. Move your order cut off date a week earlier than normal. You might be super organised and efficient and get everything finished but if you don’t then those few days buffer will really cut down on the stress.
  3. Cherry pick which events/fairs you will do, if any! Don’t agree to attend every one you get accepted for, choose one or two that you will really love doing and spending time at. Christmas fairs are often on weekends and that might be the only time you get to spend time with family, being honest with yourself do you really want to spend it in a dusty village hall?
  4. Try to streamline your processes. This might involve buying a label printer to speed up packing, doing things in batches rather than seeing an item through from start to finish and outsourcing what you can. What ever it is, invest in it!

It is important to remember what the season is really about; spending time with family and friends and having fun. The commercialism has really cast a shadow over the whole thing and I’ve found myself dreading it (can you imagine that!). I sigh when I see Christmas foods/ decorations in the supermarkets in October not because I am a grinch but because I know that by December I will be sick of seeing them and it wont be special anymore. It feels like it starts earlier and earlier every year and eventually I fear we will be in a perpetual state of Christmas-ness!

I do not have a large family or circle of friends but I am very close to those that I do have so my main goal for this year to get chance to spend time with everyone. Any gifts I buy will be mostly experience based (vouchers for a favourite restaurant, sponsorships for a favourite animal etc.) as they provide the most value to the recipient and will be enjoyed and not left to linger in the back of a cupboard come January. I realise that not everyone is in the same position but it is worth considering if you can offer gifts of time, homemade food or crafts instead of the generic mass produced goods found in soulless retail parks. Some of the best ‘things’ I have received have been IOU’s of time spent with the important people in my life.

You might be thinking how is this relevant to not burning out? The answer is simplicity. Try not to overthink things, if you have a friend with a newborn they probably don’t need any more onesies but they would be so appreciative of a home cooked meal or an offer of an afternoon babysitting! Simply sitting down with a notepad for 10 minutes can save you hours of panic shopping in the crowds. Those hours are precious and to be treasured!

I hope that I have given some food for thought, I intend to follow up this post with some ideas for conscious gifts but if you have any comments or questions feel free to get in touch by email or through social media. 

alyssa@fernbankstudio.co.uk

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