What is helping you through the pandemic?

This has been quite a year and if 2020’s taught us anything it’s that we need to take very good care of ourselves, as our business’s biggest asset. Your wellbeing is the source of energy and creativity that your business needs.

Your energy may be depleted after months of uncertainty and the impact on your wellbeing is cumulative.

It’s more important now more than ever to prioritise your mental and physical health every day.

Katy Murray talks with female founders about the daily habits and practices that are helping them keep going through the pandemic, and then shares some tips for you to do the same.

 “Lockdown 2.0 threw me” says Liana Fricker, Founder of The Inspiration Space “I’d only just started getting my groove back and then...shutdown again. The colder darker days haven't helped - nor has leading a team through a re-brand and launch of our first digital product.” Liana stays energised by “stepping away from the noise and rituals”. She keeps a vision board that she sees when she wakes up and goes to sleep. “It helps keep my performance anxiety down”.

Lauren Currie, CEO of Stride and Founder of UPFRONT agrees that these months are challenging.  “Being in lockdown magnifies problems. Everyone is depleted and tired. Pandemics affect women more than men; you are not imagining it. This is hard.”

Lara Sheldrake, Founder of Found and Flourish says “I almost burned out during the last lockdown, as we’d just launched our online platform. I’d taken on a lot, whilst also sharing my work space with my husband and toddler!”

Now Lara’s mantra is to “go slow and be kind to myself”. She has a clear plan of what needs to be done to move the needle in her business forward. Beyond that she realises she can let a few things slide.

Jennifer Ogunyemi, Founder of Sisters in Business says that maintaining the same pre-pandemic routines for her family and business has really helped. “Same bed times, same wake up times, this has really helped keep me sane!”

Rather than trying to nail down a set routine Rubbi Bhogal-Wood, Social Media Educator and Founder of Wild and Form Digital recommends “finding the things you need to ground you and your family. Everything else can ebb and flow around that”.

Regular exercise has become a must for each of these leaders. “Daily workouts and walks give me some me-time and fresh air, to clear my mind and develop new perspectives” says Rubbi. Ez Dyer Founder of Skin Confidence adds “exercise helps with my mindset and overall wellbeing and it’s about actually scheduling that time into my week and making it happen – no excuses!” For Liana, Lara and Lauren family walks or bike rides are the spaces to “re-connect with what matters most”. 

Lara brings some perspective in managing the expectations we place on ourselves as business leaders. “We’re going through a global crisis and we’re not expected to have everything together all the time, it's ok not to, in fact, I encourage it. Take it easy and know you're not alone in this”. 

Jennifer focuses her mindset on her goals and not getting distracted by what others are doing. “Comparison is the thief of joy. Honour where you are in this moment and do what it is that you can do.”

Katy Murray works with founders and leaders to step up in leadership without burning out, and here’s 5 simple daily habits and practices which she notices are helping business leaders thrive, not just survive, through this pandemic.

  1. Daily exercise. It’s a massive all-round health booster. We’ve all felt that boost when we’ve taken a walk in the middle of the day, our brain feels sharp and focused after fresh air and exercise. Choose whatever form of exercise works best for you and prioritise it every day. If you can’t take a walk, can you run up and down some stairs, can you do some yoga stretches. We know that exercise is good for us, so this is about the discipline of actually doing it!
  2. Get clear on your priorities. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed navigating your business through the uncertainty of this year. Get clear on your purpose through this season, who are you serving and why. You may discover there are some projects and tasks you can delay, delegate or delete, which frees up some space for you to focus on what’s most important.
  3. Connect with your core focus every day. This intention setting exercise can help:
    First thing in the morning ask yourself 3 questions. Firstly, how do I want to feel today? Secondly, how do I want to show up and lead in my business today? Thirdly, what’s one thing I want to progress today? When we identify how we want to feel, we’re more likely to feel it. When we identify how we want to be, we’re more likely to be it. When we identify one thing we want to progress, rather than complete, it helps us keep momentum going towards our bigger goals and targets. These 3 questions can help you keep or get back on track if you feel lethargic or overwhelmed, come back to your answers anytime of the day to stay focused and keep your momentum.
  4. Acknowledge your progress. Big business goals are reached step by step and our brains are more likely to lock in the belief that it’s possible for us to reach big goals, when we’re noticing and celebrating the small step progress along the way. At the end of each week write down all your progress, all the things that you’ve contributed, all the things that have happened to help you move towards your goals. The smaller the better. As you’re writing, celebrate and congratulate yourself for your progress, you’re locking in the feelings of positivity and momentum.
  5. Flow with the rhythms of your day. Notice how your energy fluctuates hour by hour and start to flow with that. When your energy is higher, work on your core projects where you need your brain to be at its sharpest. When your energy depletes, take a walk, hydrate, eat a snack, or take a rest. Again it may seem obvious but you’ll notice the difference when you consistently take action on this! You may find that overall you’re doing less in a week, likely at a higher quality. Ensure you’re focusing on those tasks that actually move the needle in your business and enjoy the feelings of flow, energy and momentum.

Which of these tips can you apply into your leadership and business?