Whether you’ve had a productive day in the office, or a stressful day with clients or staff, can business owners truly ever turn off when they get home?

Most business owners have an inbuilt ability to brainstorm for themselves or their business associates, they’ve been discussing a project with. Most of us hope that this happens during a normal working day, but we’ve all experienced the 3am ideas guru, who starts talking in our heads, when we should be fast asleep, giving us great ideas that we need to write down now or we’ll forget.

I always sleep with a pad and pen next to my bed, but I have tried a Dictaphone to record my ideas during the early hours….no wonder I’m divorced now! I’ve also tried typing notes into my phone, but then you say to yourself, I’m awake now, I’ll just take a quick peek at Facebook. I am always amazed at how many other business associate friends are also on Facebook during the early hours. Mobile phones play a big part of a business owner’s lifestyle now. We are always available to be contacted, and associates can see when we’re online, even when we’re at home.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was working 100-hour weeks on my business. Lots of my business associates were. I was splitting up from my husband at the time and working very long hours and trying to stay out of the house. I’m a high energy girl and like to play hard socially on the same level to counteract the stress. You start to feel those effects on your body, through headaches and pains, and at some stage your body will be shouting at you to stop!

We were told growing up, work hard and it will pay off, so most of us are tough on ourselves to keep going. For me, I didn’t know how to stop and slow down once I got home. I’ve consulted different business friends over the last year, on what they do to wind down. Vicki has compiled a Spotify playlist of chill out tunes that she starts playing about 9pm, to change the vibration of the day. Wendy does an exercise class after she finishes work, to change her energy and flood her body with endorphins for the evening. Claire, probably like a lot of people, pours herself a glass of wine on arriving home, and this is her trigger for ‘me time’.

What have I tried over the last year? My business coach recommended that I try meditation when I got home. There are lots of free apps you can listen to, and I did try it for a few weeks, but I am just not a sit down and be still person! I did produce the Spotify playlist, but mine sounds like something the old club DJ’s used to play during the last 15 minutes of the evening, something we all used to call the erection section! I can’t drink by myself when I get home, I’m a social drinker, but thank god the pubs are open again now…but quite often we are often brainstorming business ideas for each other.

What has worked really well for me, is the kitchen boogie! This is much more on my energy level. I put my Saturday night ‘Out Out’ playlist on, and dance like my neighbours are partying with me! Also, thanks to the pandemic, a lot of office workers have been working shorter hours, enabling me to close my building early. To make use of the time, I have two of my close friends on a daily rota helping me do socially distanced hill marching around the streets where I live. I am overweight and made a pact with myself to do something about it. We are covering between 2 and 4 miles a night, which has been great for suppressing my food intake, and helped me drop an incredible 1 stone and 13 inches off of my body in just 2 months. It’s also a great way to catch up with friends and walk, talk and laugh it out!

As a business owner, I don’t think we can ever fully switch off, but you can train yourself to have down time….even me! I just need to be mindful of taking time away from my business and find triggers that help me. It’s taken me a year to put some of this into practise, but I’m learning that you can’t change everything in one go, and tiny steps each day is the best way forward for me.