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How an Annual Solo Trip Keeps My Stress at Bay

“I love being a mum, wife, business partner, mentor, sister, daughter, friend but once a year I also like to be just me.”

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James O'Neil / Getty Images
James O'Neil / Getty Images

As an entrepreneur my work and personal life have always been really fluid. The responsibility for a company and the people working there never really stops. The fact that I have always loved my work also does not really help with making a strict distinction between the two. And to be honest, I don’t mind. Start by finding a way that works for you, as there is not one way. A majority of people will have an opinion about what is the right way to do things but in my experience people are often looking for confirmation of their choices. 

Being an entrepreneur you go through tough times where everything seems to fall apart. No matter how tired I was and how tough times were I always motivated  myself to keep doing things that gave me energy. It can be tempting to go to bed and Netflix for hours in those moments but I would still go out with friends, go to the theatre or do something else fun. It would give me enough energy to go through another week of hard work. Find what gives you energy and keep doing that, no matter how busy or tired you are. 

I believe in every line of business and in any role, creativity is necessary. I believe doing something with your hands helps clear the mind or exploring new outlets. For some people that is yoga, for some it is sports, some like to paint. In my case it is gift wrapping, I really enjoy creating fun styles and searching for nice gift wrap. I literally can spend hours on it!

Everybody needs a holiday every now and then to fully recharge. Some people can easily check emails for 10 minutes a day and then not bother with it the rest of the day. I am not that kind of person. I keep thinking about things, then reply and before you know it you are involved in many discussions or operational issues, work a few hours a day and think about it all day. But is it really that important? What if you did not look at emails at all? What always worked for me is to agree with my business partner that I would remove my e-mail account from my phone and she would give me a call in case there was something urgent where I could truly make a difference. The agreement gave me peace of mind to enjoy my holiday, knowing that if I did not receive a call from her all would be good or could wait until I was back.

I have noticed that speaking and meeting with my team on a daily basis helps rearrange their priorities. It is easy to drown in work that all seems important. Helping them to get a clear picture makes a huge difference. I provide my team with an environment where they have flexibility so if things  happen in their personal life that are important to them it does not result in a lot of stress at work. In my experience, I believe trust is key with your team and it allows them to balance their lives resulting in better work performance and loyalty. 

Last but not least, with all the roles you have for the different people in your life, sometimes it is good to focus on just you. I love being a mum, wife, business partner, mentor, sister, daughter, friend  but once a year I also like to be just me. I go to a place by myself and for just a few days and will be just Janneke. Nothing else, for anybody, just me. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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