A Holiday Survival Guide for Founders and Entrepreneurs

December 19, 2016

2:20 pm

The challenges you face as a founder and entrepreneur don’t go just away when the holiday season rolls around. In fact, they usually get a whole lot worse. As demands for your time increase during this time of year, you need to do more focused on your goals as a founder.

This time of year is extra challenging to those who suffer from depression, common among startup founders and entrepreneurs alike. Fortunately, these ten helpful tips will help you cope with the cold weather, the stressful shopping, and the expectations of startups around the holidays.

The Numbers Matter

This does not mean just the bottom line, or your Q4 sales revenue. This means that getting eight hours of solid sleep a night is imperative to a good holiday season. Yes, eight hours. Not the typical four or five hours of sleep you’re used to getting. You need the full eight to really change your mentality this time of year.

Another number to be aware of is your budget. Don’t get caught up in overspending this year. This will only cause you stress as you enter 2017 when the bills roll in. So watch your numbers, they matter!

Calm Your Mind

Meditation and conscious breathing are your tickets to less stress. Even carving out five to ten minutes to meditate and consciously breathe every morning before you dive into your busy day will make a big impact on your mood and energy levels. And this will make you more fun to be around and more effective at running your business.

Visualize Success

What do you want the holidays to feel like this year? After the holidays are over, what memories do you want to take with you into 2017? Make a short list of specific memories you’d like to create and schedule them into your calendar just like any other appointment. It can be something as simple as picking out holiday gifts for your team members, but scheduling will help you distinguish between what’s important to you and what you can drop.

Let Go of Expectations

Be in the moment. Holiday ups and downs  – and the highs and lows of being a founder – will have less of an emotional impact on you if you keep your expectations in line with reality. The unrealistic expectations of the perfect holiday season is one sure way to bring on the disappointment.

Know it won’t be perfect. Be present. All you have is this very moment, so enjoy it.

Shift Your Mindset

Practice gratitude. Write down three things you’re grateful for at the start and end of every day. Showing gratitude to your employees and your customers will go a long way to increase both productivity and retainment.

Being grateful for what you do have instead of getting upset at what is lacking is a guaranteed way to bring more joy, ease, and happiness into your business. All you need is a little shift!

Me Time

During the holidays, we spend a lot of time and energy focusing on others and our company. But don’t forget that the most important person is you! Don’t neglect you, because in the end, you’ll feel stressed, drained, and resentful.

Make sure to carve out time for yourself to decompress. Schedule this in your calendar and tell your team, family, and friends that you have a very important appointment – with yourself!

Drink a Lot

Don’t get too excited; I’m talking about water here. With all the happy hours, holiday parties, and cocktail hours, it’s easy to get dehydrated. And what happens when you get dehydrated? You get tired and cranky. When you’re tired and cranky, it’s an easy set-up to get into difficult situations with employees, family, and loved ones. So make sure you are drinking plenty of water every day.

Limit Sugar Intake

Sugar affects your mood and health. The holidays are filled with all kinds of sweet treats and it’s a sugar overload at the office. All that sugar is sure to make you crash and burn.

Remember: you don’t need to deprive yourself of these delicious snacks. Instead of overloading your plate with things that don’t really turn you on, go for the MVF (minimal viable food) that gives you true enjoyment. If something doesn’t light you up, leave it.

Move Your Body

If you’re traveling this holiday season and there’s no gym in sight, jump online or download the latest fitness app to find something that fits your busy schedule.

Moving your body helps you to process your feelings and emotions — an important practice for founders to stay sane. Physical activity is like poor man’s therapy.

Be Prepared

Once the holidays are over and 2017 is in full swing, many founders experience a dip in your mood, motivation, and energy levels – the post holiday letdown. Getting back to your normal routine at the office may take a few weeks, so take it easy as you enter the New Year.

Don’t get caught up in lofty Q1 expectations, schedule fun things to look forward to outside of the office, and don’t forget to unplug every once in awhile to clear your head.

Photo: Flickr / Dennis Yang

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Kelly Bearer, MA, CHT, LPCC is a psychotherapist specializing in hypnotherapy for founders and entrepreneurs. Hypnotherapy works with the subconscious mind to remove self-sabotaging behaviors, extinguish limiting beliefs and energetic blocks, and help people get out of their own way so they can be successful and thrive. She works closely with founders issues — the number one reason startups fail — both online and at her office in Boulder, Colorado. For more on Kelly, visit www.kellybearer.com.

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