As business owners, small ad agency principals are being severely tested during the COVID-19 crisis. Finances are imperiled. Employees and their agencies have been thrown unprepared into work-from-home status. Almost everyone is newly coping with stay-at-home orders, and the anxiety of how loved ones locked down elsewhere will get through this when we cannot be there for them. Agency principals are also charged with worrying on behalf of clients. Add in all of the parents suddenly being asked to become at-home teacher’s aides, and the stress seems untenable.
The good news is, we won’t have to sustain this altered and unnatural lifestyle for very long. Projections have us returning to some level of normality by the end of June. That seems like ages from now as we live in this moment. But we can do this.
The trick for agency principals will be making time to take care of yourselves, as well as your business, family, employees and clients. That means carving out some space during the day to give yourself a mental break. And we do mean making the time. Put it into the daily schedule.
Here are some ideas for mental breaks.
It’s Spring. Take a walk in the backyard and assess the gardening possibilities. Starting Spring yard work is an awesome form of meditation. Make sure you wave or shout greetings to similarly occupied neighbors.
Take the kids and dog for a stroll around the block and look for rainbow art.
Watch a funny video (the song parodies and lockdown videos are plentiful, and really creative).
Talk to family and friends on social media. (Try a video chat to feel more connected.)
Reach out to business contacts, former co-workers, and yes, prospects to touch base and express concern for our shared situation. Your conversation does not need to relate to business. Maybe it shouldn’t. Be personal; just reaching out feels good, and others will be grateful you thought about them.
Gain some mental distance. Read a book, watch a TV show, or stream a movie. Or blog. Or draw. Or meditate. Any kind of mental distancing is good for you right now.
Limit the amount of time you spend on news and TV broadcasts about the crisis. Too much information just adds to stress and anxiety over things largely beyond our control.
Exercise. A morning jog, a workout session, or just a brisk walk are great ways to do a mental reset.
Fundraise for favorite local charities, food banks and shelters. Lots of people are in need. We can all help in small ways, and feel the positive benefits of putting energy toward making a difference instead of just worrying about stuff.
Get a good night’s sleep. Go to bed early, get up early. Do not over-caffeinate (tempting though that is). Hydrate, people.
Take it one day at a time. None of us can predict where we’ll be in two weeks, let alone two months. Remember: just because bad news knocks on the door does not mean you need to invite it in and give it a chair. Keep on keeping on…
Share the burden. Yes, the agency is your baby, but it takes a village to keep it going. Share the burden with managers, your employees, and your business support people. Call or email Second Wind: we’re here to listen and advise.
You can’t take care of business unless you also take care of you.
Who knows? When we emerge out the other side of this crisis, we may all have found new perspectives on what is important, and what we can let go of as so B.C. (Before Coronavirus).
Be well, all.