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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Nicholson

Reflecting on the Arizona Sun

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." - Alice Walker

We are nearing the traditional American holidays when businesses gear up for the year-end quarter, and business owners balance expectations, open enrollment, holiday parties, and budgets - business and personal. As a business owner, especially if you have another job, a significant other, kids, or something else, life will always seem to escape us.

  • Time.

  • Money.

  • Resources.

When I'm not feeling my best, I ask myself, 'What are you gonna do about it?' I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me." - Beyoncé Knowles

A particular stress level is both expected and natural within the context of life. Yet, the holiday season's energy can increase stress, exacerbating feelings of being overwhelmed or anxious. The year-end reflections also invoke many to contemplate the goals set on the first of the year. We tend to overindulge in the unaccomplished instead of showing gratitude to ourselves and others for continued progress.

November 2 is National Stress Awareness Day. A day that proactively highlights the impact of stress on us and ways to mitigate it. To manage my stress levels, I've chosen to honor this month with gratitude for being alive, a business owner with a vision, a supportive and loving family, and a village of friends. Simultaneously, I want to shed light on business realities for others considering the journey toward entrepreneurship.

"Our immune systems require stressors and challenges to learn, adapt and grow." - Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt 'The Coddling of the American Mind'

Scarcity thinking is the phrase I want to use to change the narrative on stress. Life can seem scarce when we feel we want more than we need. Time can feel insufficient to take a break for ourselves. Taking a break is essential because there is no business without us. It could be stressful if you find yourself stuck in scarcity thinking. When running low on fuel, we do not take time for ourselves and can think scarce, small, and minuscule when we do. When stressed, little optimistic thinking or blessings can come from that space. So, I'm calling a thing a thing.

Something hinders your progress whenever you are in a rut, creatively, professionally, or financially. Often, "me, myself, and I" impede our progress. Stress looks different for everyone. Three ways stress impacts the body:

  • Stress is a hormonal response from the body.

  • Women appear more prone to stress than men.

  • Stress can overburden your mind with constant worries.

You can't give your work or business your best and the others, including yourself, the rest. It's not sustainable. Healthy eating and sleeping are essential for our bodies, but we also need to engage our bodies with exercise and activities that provide us pleasure and movement. While you may not think it's possible to find time for yourself daily, I implore you to take advantage of this. Discipline is what distinguishes the most intelligent people. But we must include discipline in our self-care routines. When we do not prioritize self-care, many health issues and ailments can form. Ailments bind within our systems when we do not take time to rest and rejuvenate from the stressors of the world, our lives, and our internal and external expectations. If you don't rest and recharge, your body will find ways to talk to you. And it won't be nice to you unless you've been nice to it.

"We must cease being participants in our own oppression." - Stacey Abrams

How Can You Do It?

Start small with 15-30 minutes. Shoot for the morning when you can be alone. Start your day prioritizing yourself with these suggestions:

  • Affirmations.

  • Exercise.

  • Meditate.

  • Pray—practice mindfulness.

  • Journal.

  • Drink water or tea.

  • Read a book of choice.

  • Dance.

  • Watch the sunrise.

  • Listen to a podcast.

The point is to do something for yourself. Something intentional that brings pleasure to you and allows you to center yourself. You are so unique and valuable. Before you give to your family, business, employees, co-workers, vendors, target market, and the national economy, start your day with a few moments for yourself. It would help if you rejuvenated regularly, and I mean daily, but at minimum consider 3-5 days a week.

Staycation & Socialization

When you can work up to it, find time to socialize regularly outside of your business doing something you want to do. Don't just answer invites for others to be celebrated, attend networking events and conferences. Find opportunities to enhance your enjoyment by trying new restaurants, taking selfies in your city, hitting a comedy club, seeing your favorite artist, catching a show, reading in the park, and exploring venues and hidden gems. There are plenty of opportunities you can participate in while getting away from your business - solo or with friends and family.

Lastly, and this is important, move beyond your local area. Your favorite Starbucks knows your order, and your favorite lunch spot is consistent, but sometimes you need to shake it up a little. Exploring other places and spaces can provide fresh eyes to view the changes differently. This lens could be helpful for business, growth, and development.

If you have access to vacation days, use them. If you don't, utilize a long weekend and take a road trip or non-stop flight. Be bold and ask a friend who travels to provide recommendations; they may be willing to plan it for you. Bonus if they can join you, but you can also go solo. Check into accommodations, and do what you want (while maybe checking in on your business - just a little). Use a coupon site for a spa or activity. Patronize a black-owned business. Aim for the next major city or state away from you.

Catch Flights, Not Feelings

Take advantage of the opportunity to explore and relax. If you can do something longer, let the friendly skies take you away to a topographical area of your choice (consider the budget, weather desired, and amount of time you have). There are mountains, oceans, rivers, deserts, cityscapes, quaint towns, and more. The world is your oyster, either domestically or internationally.

Sitting In The Arizona Sun

I am grateful to share one of my most unforgettable trips away. I took these photos a few years ago during a much-needed vacation to Phoenix, Arizona. I was three years into my business. It was a bit of a struggle. Everything felt like slow motion. I wanted so much more personally and professionally.

I didn't plan this trip to be as spiritually revealing as it was. Yet, there was a lot of clarity about my vision and my next steps for AllProfit HR. I was sitting in the sunshine, breathing. I remember taking in the glorious sights and the fantastic sounds, marveling at the scenery, and just being still. I had to be willing to step away from both of my jobs. I had to give more to myself than I had been giving. I had to unplug from distractions and acknowledge the rut I was pushing myself into by not taking regular, much-needed breaks.

Looking back at these pictures, I reflect on the beauty of the experience as an opportunity to fill my cup and center my peace. This experience helped me walk with a deeper purpose for AllProfitHR. I left Arizona and those hikes feeling inspired, attuned, and creative. AllProfit HR has grown from a Solopreneur endeavor to a party of four. The APHR team is litty. I manifested this moment, this reflection for such a time as this. As we prepare to enter 2023 and celebrate our 5th year, I see how we are in a position to help small businesses grow and glow.

"I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change… I'm changing the things I cannot accept." - Angela Davis

It's time we remember how important self-care, exercise, and alone time are. It is time we shift the narrative and find the value in prioritizing ourselves to serve others and our business better.

APHR Can Help

AllProfitHR helps organizations experience transformational people and culture systems to create a culture of belonging for all. We are a 100% independent, minority, woman-owned HROD firm specializing in the following:

  • Diversity and Inclusion Strategy,

  • Strategic Human Capital Planning,

  • Performance & Total Rewards,

  • Change Management & Reengineering Development,

  • High Performing Talent Acquisition,

  • Organizational Development,

  • Leadership Development & Executive Coaching, and

  • HR Advisory Services.

With so much to execute, assess, and strategize for your critical year-end goals, schedule your complimentary discovery call with AllProfitHR, your Human Resources, and Organizational Development Architects today.

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What's your favorite self-care activity?

Need more self-care tips? Check out my previous blog post.

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