The current COVID-19 pandemic is affecting small businesses and workers worldwide, stirring fear, uncertainty and sheer panic. Many are losing their jobs, experiencing a cut in hours or simply struggling to focus on their work during these trying times.
However, it’s important to stay strong and not give up. Here are some tips for maintaining your business and continuing on, despite the uncertainty around you.
1. Accept the circumstances.
Right now, we all must accept what’s happening and focus our energy only on what we can control. If you live in denial of what’s taking place around you, you won’t be prepared for what might come and may lack the critical knowledge to get through it.
This might take time, and that’s okay. It’s difficult to practice acceptance in the face of fear and uncertainty, but doing so will help you eventually find peace and resilience.
2. Create your own stability.
Stability is tough to find in moments like these. You can’t control the state of the world, how others are reacting or the damage it might cause your business; but you can control simple parts of your routine and create your own sense of security.
For instance, you can choose to keep working the same schedule each day. You can choose to eat regular, healthy meals and exercise daily. You can choose to limit your media consumption and increase your communication with your loved ones. While it might not feel like it, you are still free to make these choices.
[Read more tips for managing your mental health while working from home during the pandemic.]
3. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness won’t solve everything, but it can certainly help you cope. Especially while working, focus only on the current task you’re doing rather than thinking about a million different things at once.
It’s hard to focus when you’re constantly worrying about what might come of your business or whether you’ll be laid off, but obsessing over these thoughts won’t do you any good. Accept them, but continue to invest in your work. Find ways to be present and productive despite the chaos around you. Some days will be tougher than others, but it can be done.
4. Create and pursue goals that excite you.
You likely have a lot more time on your hands now, so why not invest in the goals you’ve been putting off? Whether they’re work-related or not doesn’t matter; simply having goals to work toward will keep you motivated in both your personal and professional life. They give you a sense of purpose and an incentive to keep moving forward.
Take advantage of your extra free time. Rather than spending it watching the news and spiraling into a panic attack, focus your energy on things that make you happy, whether that’s reading more books or starting a podcast.
5. Stay connected with your community.
You’re not in this alone. If you’re a business owner, connect with other business owners in your network to voice your concerns and gain support. Lean on your team and those in your community when you’re feeling especially anxious or overwhelmed. Now more than ever, people are coming together to help each other through this difficult time in life.
6. Don’t lose yourself in work — remember what’s important.
When your career is suddenly on the line, it can be tempting to turn all your attention toward work, trying to salvage your income. While it’s important to work toward maintaining your business, let this pandemic remind you of what’s most important in life: family, friends, loved ones, freedom, happiness and health.
Stop working at the end of your eight hours and go for a walk with your family. Call a different friend every night to check in on them. Drive around town with the windows down and smile at strangers. Cook healthy meals and get your body moving. Do more of what makes you happy. Let yourself relax and unwind, even if that means spending all weekend on the couch watching Netflix.
Above all, be easy on yourself. We are all in this together, and we will all be able to embrace each other again someday soon.