Staying Healthy in Your Busiest Sales Season

Most everyone feels the stress of a busy holiday season, and healthy eating and exercise can be more of a challenge than usual. 

But for small business owners, staying healthy now becomes an even bigger challenge as they work longer hours, adjust to staffing shortages and inflation, and keep the all-important attention on serving customers.

"Let's face it – the holidays are tough if you're an entrepreneur," says entrepreneur and USA Today columnist Rhonda Abrams, author of Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies

Abrams says that, like most small-business owners, she feels frazzled this time of year, she writes in a USA Today post.

"I not only have all my regular work to do but I've got a number of business-oriented end-of-year tasks, a lot of personal demands on my time… and I have fewer days in which to accomplish everything," 

Abrams writes.

One of the biggest challenges — and stress creators — for small business owners during the holiday season is balancing work demands and personal commitments.

But self-care needs to be a priority. Think of it as protecting your company's biggest asset.

"What no entrepreneur can replace is themselves," cautions a post by Startupgrind. "If you miss a whole week because you're stuck in bed, that's a whole week of productivity lost. This can have huge implications come the end of the year."

Here are five ideas to stay healthy this holiday season.

Keep up a basic fitness routine. Your physical fitness is vital to your mental wellness. Staying fit gives your body the tools it needs to fight illness and stress.

Your exercise routine doesn't have to be athletic-level training, but it's crucial to maintain a basic fitness level.

"The best entrepreneurs understand that preparing your body physically will help you defend against illnesses and give you more stamina to last the long hours demanded by an entrepreneurial lifestyle," says the Startupgrind post.

Plan for a pause away from work and take it. Plan to take a vacation from work now, before the weight of your to-do list tries to talk you out of it, says Meredith Wood in a post for AllBusiness.

Decide when and for how many days you will take off, she writes, stressing the importance of putting it in the schedule and adjusting deadlines as necessary without making any concessions. 

Plan healthy snacks. It can be challenging to grab a meal, let alone a healthy one, when you're racing around at work. 

So expect that and plan for that. Identify a few favorite healthy snacks or small meals to keep on hand for your busiest days. Stash them where you plan to be on your busiest days or in several places if necessary, whether it's the office, car, or home.

Healthy snacks are a great way to make up for missed meals, and keeping them easily accessible can keep you from grabbing unhealthy food at your hungriest moments.

Accept something may not get done. This is a hard one, but it’' practically inevitable that the busiest time of the year will leave you with an unchecked item on your to-do list.

No matter how well you prepare, having some time to unwind over the holidays will probably require letting a few tasks slide—or at the very least deferring them until January, says the AllBusiness post.

If you assume this could happen, where something may fall through the cracks, plan for it.

List all of your upcoming tasks, then divide them into three categories: must do, should do, and probably can wait, the AllBusiness article says.

For example, any small business owner's "must-dos" list would include running payroll, sending invoices, and fulfilling client deliverables or customer orders.

Get Sleep. Cutting corners on one night's sleep may be unavoidable this holiday season but be sure not to make it a habit.

A lack of sleep will impact your health in several ways — influencing what you choose to eat, contributing to your stress levels, and negatively impacting your abilities and endurance at a time when your best performance and decision-making will be needed.

"A loss of sleep can exacerbate your exhaustion, your craving for unhealthy food, and prevent you from exercising," writes physician anesthesiologist and entrepreneur Sanjana Vig in her blog for The Female Professional. "Sleep is a key component of staying healthy during the holidays."

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