Are you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and just ‘over it’ after the past few years of challenges? So is Cath Connell!
The pandemic and the multi‑layered effects of lockdowns, rapidly increasing costs of living, and the rush back to ‘normal’, have created a perfect storm of challenges to our wellbeing.
Unfortunately, high levels of ongoing stress can overload our systems with the stress hormone, cortisol, affecting our ability to focus, make positive decisions, control our emotions, and feel optimistic about the future. But there is an antidote that is easy to access with a few simple practices… Joy!
When we experience joy, a cocktail of ‘happy hormones’ is released into our system. These help create ongoing positive moods and rewire our brains towards greater happiness.
By enjoying positive times with people we love, being creative or playful, feeling connected to nature, or appreciating life in all its glory, we can fight off the effects of long-term stress, and feel more productive, connected, and fulfilled in our work and our lives as a whole.
Here are seven simple ideas to bring some joy back into your business.
1. Network… in real life!
Networking online is great for efficiency, and as a soloist who has been using these platforms for coaching and meetings for years, I also know it is possible to build wonderful relationships even if you never meet in person. However, nothing beats hanging out IRL for building trust, feeling part of a community, and connecting at a deeper level.
If you’re still feeling a bit nervous and self-conscious about your post-pandemic social skills, consider choosing smaller, informal events to start with. You’ll get your networking mojo back in no time.
2. Take a joy break
If you’re starting to lose concentration or finding it hard to stay motivated, try building regular joy breaks into your day (five minutes every half hour is ideal).
Dance around to your favourite good-vibe song, call a friend for a quick chat, do your daily Wordle, grab some pencils and colour in or draw, sit quietly with a cuppa and watch the clouds roll by… whatever feels joyful to you in that moment.
Don’t feel like you need to be focused every minute of your workday. A little fun and relaxation in your day will actually help you be more productive in the long run.
3. Stay in your lane
Comparison is the thief of joy, so if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or envious of what your competitors are doing and achieving… stop!
You may need to unsubscribe, unfollow, or even block them for a while, so that you can tune back into your unique purpose and niche. Be true to yourself, and don’t worry about whether yours is the trendiest package or product, your sales funnel is perfectly automated, or you can rock TikTok or Instagram like an influencer.
There is no ‘right way’—only your way!
4. Embrace kindness, and generosity as a business practice
Of course, this doesn’t mean giving away all your ideas, not charging appropriately for your work, or being taken advantage of. But it might mean mentoring someone starting out in your field; sharing your expertise for free in an article, video, podcast, or social post; or popping a little something extra in with an order. Even a hand-written note can make all the difference.
Kindness is under-rated as a business value, but providing you put in place some reasonable boundaries, it can be an incredible source of joy—not only for you but also your customers.
5. Practice gratitude
Running a successful business often requires us to push ourselves harder and constantly shift the goal posts, which can mean that you rarely feel contentment and fulfilment from achieving your goals. However, there are probably many things in your life that you are thankful for.
Try listing three things that you’re grateful for in your journal, taking a photo of something that brings you joy and reflecting on it for a few moments, or as a family, try sharing ‘tiny moments’ each day.
Remember, joy is a choice and a practice. It needs to be prioritised as part of your work as much as marketing, finances, time management, or strategy and planning.
Put a little joy into each day and you’ll be just fine.
This article was originally published on flyingsolo.com.au and has been edited for brevity and republished here with permission.