As the holiday season approaches, it's easy for online sellers to get caught up in the rush and forget about their well-being. However, taking care of yourself is crucial for maintaining a successful and sustainable business.
When it comes to stress and burnout, a 2023 report showed 75% of entrepreneurs are concerned about their mental health. Over half (56%) have been medically diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or other stress-related health problems.
As an entrepreneur yourself, it's important to remember that self-care is not just a luxury but a necessity, especially in hectic times. Incorporating simple self-care tips into your daily routine ensures you stay healthy, feel more energized, and carry less stress throughout the holiday season.
What makes the holiday season so stressful?
The holidays can be particularly stressful for online sellers for many reasons. First, there's the increase in demand. As customers rush to purchase gifts, sellers have to manage more extensive inventories, ensure they have enough stock to meet demand, and deal with the logistical challenges of shipping more goods.
Secondly, there's the pressure to maintain excellent customer service despite the surge in inquiries and potential issues. Mistakes can cost customer satisfaction and even result in bad reviews.
Lastly, there's the personal stress. While everyone else enjoys the holiday cheer, online sellers often work longer hours, dealing with the pressure to maximize holiday sales. Meeting an increased demand can lead to exhaustion and burnout if you don’t manage it properly.
Factors that trigger holiday stress
While every seller's experience is unique, there are common factors that trigger intense stress reactions among online sellers. 1 48- (2 24) 2 32
Increased workloads: The holiday season generally brings an influx of orders, which means more work managing inventory, packing boxes, and shipping items. This can lead to long work hours and little time for rest, creating a potential for burnout.
Customer service pressure: With an increased number of customers comes an increased number of inquiries, complaints, and requests. Maintaining high levels of customer service during this busy period can be highly stressful.
Supply chain issues: The holiday season often sees a surge in demand that can strain the supply chain. Issues such as delayed deliveries from suppliers or out-of-stock items can cause stress and negatively impact customer satisfaction.
Financial pressure: There are often high financial stakes during the holiday season. The pressure to hit sales targets and maximize profits can be a significant source of stress.
Personal stress: While juggling the demands of their online business, sellers are also dealing with personal holiday responsibilities. You, too, might be shopping for gifts, attending social events, or preparing for family gatherings. The need to balance work with personal life can add to the stress of the season.
By recognizing these common triggers, online sellers can proactively take steps to minimize their impact and prioritize self-care.
Why is holiday self-care important?
Holiday self-care is crucial for online sellers because it directly impacts their ability to perform effectively during a hectic and demanding time. Amidst the surge in customer inquiries, order processing, and delivery commitments, stress levels can spike, leading to fatigue, burnout, or even physical illnesses.
These conditions compromise the seller's health and affect their business operations, customer service quality, and overall sales. Additionally, taking time for self-care can boost a seller's mood and energy. And it can foster creativity and efficiency that can translate into improved customer experiences and potentially greater profits.
Maintaining a healthy self-care routine during the holidays is not merely beneficial. It's essential for both personal well-being and business success.
How to take care of yourself during the holidays
While there isn't a one-size-fits-all self-care solution, several practices can help online sellers during the busy holiday season. Here are 10 ways to help you prioritize your well-being.
1. Set boundaries
When you set a boundary, you decide what types of behaviors you're ok with and situations you're uncomfortable in. They're how you protect your time and energy and are just as prevalent in your work life as in your personal life.
As an online seller, a boundary might look like establishing a work-life balance. Determine your working hours and stick to them. Avoid answering customer inquiries or processing orders outside these hours.
2. Stay active and hydrated
Physical activity is an excellent way to deal with stress. Make time for exercise, and drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol, which can leave you feeling tired and dehydrated.
If you’re dealing with inclement weather, YouTube has hundreds of free guided yoga and meditation sessions varied in length and intensity — no experience or equipment necessary. Even 10 minutes of movement can keep your body active enough to ease holiday tension.
3. Delegate and automate
Don't be afraid to ask for help or delegate tasks to others. It's ok to admit when you need assistance, especially during the busy holiday season. Resources like TaskRabbit make finding someone to help you clean, organize, pack orders, or run errands easy.
Meanwhile, small business automation tools can help you complete tasks that need more detailed or experienced help. For example, some solutions can put your social media efforts on autopilot. Others can post new orders to your accounting software so that you save precious time on data entry and accounting.
4. Practice mindfulness and get adequate sleep
Mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or simply taking a moment to appreciate your surroundings can help reduce stress and anxiety. While staying active can keep your energy up, mindfulness can help you slow down.
You’d be surprised by how quickly a body scan meditation can turn into an impromptu nap. So make sure you're getting enough sleep each night — or at least establish a sleep schedule. Lack of sleep can decrease your productivity and increase stress levels.
5. Consider mindful packaging or taking creative breaks
Turn the task of packaging products into a mindfulness exercise. Concentrate on the feel, look, and routine of packing each item. Taking in your surroundings can help lower stress levels and increase feelings of accomplishment.
Alternatively, engage in activities that fuel your creativity, like drawing, painting, playing a musical instrument, or even making poetry and funny phrases out of fridge magnets. Such activities can relieve stress, help you maintain a positive mindset, and unlock new ideas.
6. Repeat positive affirmations
Start your day by repeating positive affirmations or phrases that help you feel empowered and ready to take on the day.
Phrases like “I’m confident in my ability to fill these orders,” “I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be,” and “I’m allowed to ask for what I need” can push you forward when self-doubt creeps up.
7. Get inspired by podcasts or audiobooks
Consider listening to podcasts or audiobooks while packing orders or doing other repetitive physical tasks, especially if you’re better at taking advice from others than from yourself. Plenty of Shopify experts, for example, moonlight as podcast hosts and ecommerce commentators.
Having another voice in the room, especially if you work solo, can make everyday processes more enjoyable and less monotonous while offering opportunities for learning and inspiration.
8. Digital detox and disengage from the work environment
Similar to setting boundaries and getting active, sometimes, self-care means disengaging from your work environment entirely. Of course, you may not have the capacity to take that much-needed vacation this season.
But unplugging and silencing the endless stream of emails and notifications can give you that moment’s peace to collect yourself and refocus. Avoid personal or business social media, let your calls go to voicemail, and separate yourself from the keyboard. It’s true that some of our best work comes when we’re not working at all.
9. Practice gratitude for yourself
If you, like so many other business owners, are your own worst critic, an act of self-care might be taking a step back from your own echochamber of criticism and practicing gratitude instead. After all, it takes guts to start and run an ecommerce business.
Thank yourself for having the courage to pursue and stick with it. Keep gratitude in mind on days when things just aren’t going right. Maybe you missed a shipping deadline or got a bad review. Give yourself some credit for doing your best, be kind to yourself, and commit to growing through the experience.
10. Celebrate your wins to boost morale
No matter what spikes your stress levels this season, don’t forget to see the forest for the trees. Taking time to acknowledge how far you’ve come and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, can help you put that stress into perspective.
Remember, your work and dedication make someone else's holiday a little more magical, whether through that perfect last-minute find, the package that arrives in the nick of time, or top-notch customer service. But your morale matters, too.
Automation hacks that give you more time for self-care
Self-care isn't a one-time event but an ongoing process. And those moments of self-care will be essential in a season that will require more determination and creativity than sellers may be used to.
“This holiday season is going to be bumpy, as consumers are facing high prices, depleted savings, and incredibly high interest rates,” says Webgility CEO Parag Mamnani. “Brands and retailers have to get really creative with pricing and find ways to cut costs, entice repeat buyers, and experiment with marketing strategies to make the most of their holiday sales.”
To make a potentially bumpy season easier to navigate, we’ve compiled the top ecommerce trends sellers should be aware of as they’re ramping up sales — and the automation hacks that can meet growing challenges head-on.
Let technology handle tedious everyday tasks and free up the time you wouldn’t otherwise have for yourself.