In a matter of days the way we live as changed. We know that this whole turn of events has been emotionally distressing for everyone! We wanted to do our bit to help support our Community. To that end, we invited the wonderful Deborah Byrne Clinical Psychologist for a Q & A session on our Twitter Hour. Our topic Working and Weddings in this brave new world.
Deborah was really helpful and shared some fantastic tips on how to cope with our new reality.
How should people voice their concerns?
First off I can’t tell people how to run their business, but be very careful here and try and remember to separate your business from your personal life. A one-off comment could ruin your business so tread carefully.
- In terms of your concerns for your business, yes you are naturally going to have some very grave concerns right now. But remember you customers want solutions from you to help them, not what’s going with your business problems. This may seem harsh but it is a reality of business.
- Make sure to ask for help and advice from professionals i.e. you accountant and solicitor if needed.
- Brainstorm with other business owners in a similar industry to yourself, come together to offer solutions to your clients as a collective. Make sure to utilise your support systems (networks) right now more than ever. This will help you take back control of the situation for your business in a positive manner.
- I talk about the 4 types of support everyone needs from a support system in my blog on building s support system.
- Right now more than ever people need to utilise this to its fullest. If anyone needs a free support system information and worksheet it’s on my resource page, no sign up required just click to download. https://deborahbyrnepsychologyservices.com/resources/
- Remember you know your business best of all, but you need to make decisions based on a clear picture and you cannot do that if you are panicked, stressed or anxious.
- Your mind simply shuts down when you get stressed, overwhelmed and anxious. I will offer some practical ideas on how you can de-stress, calm the mind and then with advice from other professionals you can may decisions with a clearer head.
What are you recommendations regarding keeping positive and self-isolating?
We have to get practical here and bring it back to basics so that we can take back control of our lives and businesses.
1. You need to calm your mind. If you already do yoga, tai-chi, meditation or any other form of relaxing exercise then please continue to do this. If you don’t then use a simple 7/11 breathing technique for 3 minutes throughout the day, as needed, will help calm the mind and bring you back to centre.
- Remember when we get caught up in a cycle of stress and anxiety it will keep building until you do something to take back control over your thoughts. Simply breathing techniques are one of the best ways you can do this.
- The 7/11 technique works like this: You breathe in for a count of 7 then exhale for a count of 11. Continue to do this for 3 minutes. You can reduce this to 4/6 if you need to. The point is to breathe out for longer than you breathe in. This action will automatically get the brain to calm down.
- I’m not going into too much detail on why and how it works here as I feel people have too much information coming at them. Just to say it is based on helping you reduce the flight, fright, fight hormones flying around and bring the brain back to a calming centre point.
2. In order to help with the above you also have to switch off social media, the media, TV news feeds, etc.
- Even if you just have these playing in the background, and are not actively listening to them, your brain will pick up on them subconsciously. This will feed a negative cycle in your brain.
- Instead pick a time to watch or engage online with any news you know is going to be negative right now. Then try and stick to that time period.
- You will have to make a conscious decision to do that, so switching off your notifications will help.
- You are better to have some positive engagements instead, that can come from positive support within your support system (network).
- Creating some relaxing or uplifting music playlists and playing those in the background too. These can help you become more relaxed, focused and motivated.
- Don’t forget to sing along or get up and dance, you need some lightness right now. Also take some time out to watch some comedy.
3. Make sure you are taking care of your self-care basics, so that includes sticking to your routine, exercise, healthy eating, and sleep.
Take time off from your business, be with your family, connect online if unable to in person, do some hobbies/interests. A quick word about family and friends, if anyone is getting too negative then don’t feel guilty about muting, blocking, or deleting them if you are able. Not talking about kids here, just adults.
You can also add in your meditation from above here, plus journaling and gratitude.
I know some of you won’t like to hear about the journal and gratitude work but journaling right now can be an invaluable tool for your business. I’ll outline how you can use them as such. It’s not about “dear diary” so don’t panic.
- Use a journal as a brain dump. This helps you get everything out of your head, so you can relax, prioritise, delete, delegate and get a better night’s sleep. Simply start by writing everything down on a piece of paper, it doesn’t matter if it’s business or personal. Just get it all out, every worry, to do items, etc.
I’ll talk more about how you can utilise this more in the planning suggestions coming up.
I have a free download for braindumps and fears you can simply click to download on my resource page. https://deborahbyrnepsychologyservices.com/resources/
- Create a worry period if you need it. That’s a set amount of time when you give over to your worries. You set a timer on your phone for no more than 30 minutes a day. Let your mind go to all the worst-case scenarios and fears.
But you need to write these down. When you can see your thoughts on paper you can begin to challenge them, or see you need some professional advice, i.e. accountant, solicitor, therapist (if needed).
Most of the time when we see our worst fears written down it allows us to see we are not thinking rationally and that we can actually do something about this or make plans to help us feel more secure.
A worry period allows us to relax also and make more calm, logical decisions during the day, as our brain no longer has to hold on to them and seek out solutions for them.
You can use worry periods everyday if needed or just when you feel things are escalating stress wise for you.
4. Let’s get practical about planning; it will help you feel more in control right now.
- Now is a great time to plan for your business. Remember you don’t need all the answers right now, just do what you can.
- Take some time also to do some research and development. Get your business online if you don’t already.
- Using your brain dump sheet from above, categorise it into personal and business, just do a quick run-through, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Then review the list.
- Decide on what you can delete. Most entrepreneurs are very busy people and they tend to take on other responsibilities, now is the time to hand these back.
- You can only do so much in any one day and you need to take time out in order to help your mental and physical health. If you are stressed out you are compromising your immunity.
- You are not being selfish handing these things back.
- Delegate where you can, some people might find this hard to do, but you need to. Again you can only do so much on one day.
- If you need to ask for help then do it! Above all you need this right now, so again utilise your entire support system.
- You should be left with a more realist to do list. Make sure they are tasks that can be completed easily and in one go.
- Anything too big needs to be broken down further. If you don’t you will only feed your fears, overwhelm and stress.
- You are then back to a vicious cycle in your head of negativity, low motivation and depleting willpower levels. Your brain will shut down and you won’t make good decisions for you, your family and your business.
What one piece of advice you can give us?
Remember you are doing the best you can. Running yourself into the ground won’t help you, your family or your business.
- Take time out for your personal life and self-care is now more important than ever.
- If you are really struggling please reach out and have a chat with someone, positive friends, family, support, mentors, or with a therapist if you need it.
- Note I said positive people; you need these more than ever and should encourage them to contact you.
- Use the meditation I suggested above, and then get a list of customers and suppliers you need to call.
- Prepare key points you need to say and then make the calls.
- Stick to the key points, be honest, people are understanding and will appreciate your honesty.
- But take time between those calls to relax, you’ll handle them in a more professional manner if you do.
- Rushing in will not give you the best results right now. So take your time, you don’t need to call everyone in one day.
What piece of advice would you give couples right now who have had to cancel or postpone their weddings/celebrations?
- Weddings are highly stressful events as is for the vast majority of people.
- But if you can offer them solutions to their problems you will retain or gain customers here.
- You do need to be able to remain calm while they are going to pieces, so you need to be calm to do this. Remember the meditation, even a few breaths before answering the phone will help you.
- If you can come together as a group #IrishWeddingChat and offer couples solutions such as packages they can adapt, or use when this is all over, that would be helpful.
- If you can speak to your local hotel, other members in the group and come up with offers that are practical and helpful that would be one way to go.
- I’m not talking about pushing people into buying anything right now or using questionable selling practices either.
- Talk to the couples who are your customers already, find out what their situation is and then put together some offers together as a group.
- Remember these are your customers, they don’t care about how you do it, they just want the results. Again thread carefully you can’t buy your reputation or goodwill. These are intangible assets the accounts speak about; they are worth more money to your business than anything you produce. But offering some good practical solutions for couples who were getting married or who have been forced to cancel plans and have to get married alone, will build your goodwill and reputation.