We lose patience a lot more quickly when we are feeling tired, frazzled, stressed, and anxious. In fact, it is impossible to be patient when we aren’t at our peak. I know I have to take care of myself first in order to have the patience to do good business day in and day out. So although the previous tips are practices I have in place, self-care is a much broader and per- sonal approach to maintaining patience.
None of the practices we have in place to protect our pa- tience—self-talk, optimism, humility, and forgiveness—will work if we don’t know how to breathe. Breathing is critical when the blood pressure feels like it is rising or you are pre- paring for an interaction that you know will be tense. The kind of breathing I practice is called rhythmic breathing. It is a deeper, more disciplined and mindful breathing tech- nique than shallow breathing. The difference is how deeply we inhale and then how we hold our breath before we ex- hale. According to yoga-for-beginners-a-practical-guide.com, “Rhythmic breathing involves breathing in a fixed rhythmic pattern where ratio of inhalation, retention, exhalation, and retention is of 2:1:2:1. For beginners, count while you breathe in four parts:
- Inhalation 1-2-3-4
- Pause after inhalation 5-6
- Exhalation 1-2-3-4
- Pause after exhalation 5-6
Simply observe the breath, do not force the breath.”19
I accompany my breathing with a visualization, using color. The air I inhale is the color blue for calming, while I envision the air I exhale as being green, releasing all the tox- ins from my body and my mind.
I also try to get out in nature as much as possible. Connecting with the surrounding beauty helps me ground myself in what is important in life, and that usually makes my problems and challenging relationships seem insignificant in comparison to the vastness of the landscape. Sometimes, out in nature is where I will practice rhythmic breathing, and other times I walk and hike, as exercise is also a critical element to our mental health and physical self-care. If we feel we are taking the time, even 20 minutes a day to tend to our muscles and joints, the chemicals released will relax us, which naturally helps us regain our patience.
Spiritual practices, including meditation, are very important to me. I schedule them in my calendar, just as I do phone calls, meetings, and business trips. The time to care for myself is literally blocked off, and except for those rare occasions, it’s sacrosanct. So when I am scheduling my day, week, or month, I already know that there are certain times of the day that I just cannot allow business to interrupt. This guarantees that I never cancel the important appointments I make with myself.
Finally, create transitions. It’s hard to go from work to play to home to work again. I know many people who say that when they walk through their front door, they need a half hour of quiet time before greeting the family. Other people have shared that they pull up to their driveway and sit in the car before going inside. Driving to work in the morning, or taking public transportation to the office, provides an opportunity to transition from home to the office. Some people insist on hitting the gym before work or after work, before going home, to transition. Working through the stresses you deal with at the office before you make the switch to your other role in your personal life, will keep work where it be- longs—at work! This will help you become more patient with the demands waiting for you at home. And transitioning from home to work enables you to keep the personal stuff from af- fecting your business.