Most ecommerce merchandisers would agree on one thing about the holidays: it’s not the most wonderful time of the year.
From juggling special holiday offers to tracking inventory velocity, merchandisers have an extremely crowded plate. And that’s on top of running normal ecommerce operations and being pressured to meet business KPIs before fiscal year’s end.
That’s why we’ve created an ecommerce Black Friday survival guide. Let us help you maintain your mental health during the hectic holiday season, all while meeting those year-end business goals. (Psst — Stick around until the end to enter into a wellness basket giveaway!)
1. Identify Stressors
Uncertainty around sales, lingering merchandising decisions, or last-minute changes to holiday promotions may have your head dizzy. Or maybe not. Everyone reacts differently to certain situations. But that doesn’t mean your own stress triggers are any less impactful on your mental health.
So, first things first: know yourself.
Identify your triggers so you can release steam from the holiday pressure cookers and be better prepared for the moment your emotions arrive. Only then will you be able to take the proper steps to address your subsequent thoughts and behaviors.
2. Perform Visualizations
Stress over the impending holidays can show up as bouts of insomnia, procrastination, or (if you’re really lucky) the dreaded “analysis paralysis.” Rather than whipping through a lousy cycle of sheep counting or decision avoidance until the last minute, take back control of the situation — using visualization.
Similar to meditating, visualization has been found to reduce stress and even improve performance outcomes.
To visualize yourself nailing the holiday rush over Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond, start by sitting in a spot where you’ll be undisturbed. Then, close your eyes, and begin to set the scene for yourself: What are you wearing, and how do the materials feel against your skin? Which coffee mug is sitting on your desk, and what does that fresh brew smell like? What exact words do you say to your boss and teammates after pulling it all off?
The more details, the better.
3. Do Box Breathing
Cyber Monday has arrived after a (what seemed to be endless) Black Friday. Emails with last-minute changes to holiday promotions are pouring in. Your Slack notifications are blowing up with requests to pull the latest sales numbers. You feel your heart rate taking off. Your breathing is shallow and rapid, and everything feels out of control.
Oftentimes, when you’re in a moment of intense anxiety, it’s hard to focus on anything but the current discomfort. But remember that sign in your mother-in-law’s kitchen.
It’s on to something, regardless of whether or not you’d hang it on your own wall. This is a moment to just breathe — box breathing, specifically.
Also known as yogic deep breathing or four-square breathing, box breathing helps the body move out of that fight-or-flight state that our bodies enter when stressed. The principle is simple: breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold after your exhale for a count of four. Repeat up to four rounds.
This specific breathwork technique has been shown to lower stress and calm the mind. One of the best parts? It can be done anywhere at any time.
4. Write Intentions
Setting intentions is about aligning with a positive attitude or way of being, rather than obtaining a goal by a certain date on the calendar.
Start by asking yourself some questions: What’s most important to you? How do you want to show up in your day-to-day life? What do you need to make yourself feel more balanced?
If your intention for the holiday craze is to stay calm and confident, write it on a sticky note, and place it near your workspace: “I remain calm and confident at all times.” Seeing these words written out will propel you to act as such, even if you feel anything but collected and secure in your decisions during those chaotic work moments.
Other quick tips to writing powerful intentions include affirming only what you want, communicating in the present tense, removing hedging words like “try” and “could,” and making it believable.
5. Take Frequent Breaks
It’s a mistake to think you need to sit chained at your desk for eight plus hours a day. You’re allowed to get up from your desk and walk away. Work, Slack, and emails can wait.
If you work from home, try chunking your workday into sprints. Work on a single task in 25-minute intervals. Then, take a short 5- to 10-minute break between intervals to do housework, listen to music, get a few minutes of fresh air outside, etc. Repeat these intervals for two hours, after which you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.
This technique, also called the Pomodoro Technique, will help you maintain better focus and consistent productivity. It’s also better than attempting to multitask, which has been shown to reduce work performance,
And breaking up your work day is especially important if your Google calendar looks like a colorful brick wall. Adapt this technique to take short breaks between your meetings so you can grab food, stay hydrated, or change up your environment. (Don’t be afraid to block off your lunch break.)
6. Embrace Change
When life hands you stressors, pretend they’re lemons.
Along with taking good care of your mental health, allow yourself to embrace the mistakes and the learning opportunities that often come along with workplace stress. Remember that ecommerce is a dynamic and ever-evolving industry. There are always new skills to learn and opportunities to grow.
Plus, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. As you gain new competencies, your confidence will increase, possible areas of discomfort will shrink back, and you’ll adapt more easily to similar, future experiences.
7. Reach Out for Help
Last but certainly not least on our Black Friday survival guide: Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for help.
Searchandising hundreds (if not thousands) of products across indexes and regions to provide a top-notch customer experience is a team effort that requires constant communication and feedback — even more so during the busiest time of the year. So, don’t be afraid to ask and reach out to teammates for support.
The success of the holidays doesn’t rely on you alone. What is up to you is how you take care of yourself in order to bring your best self to work. That’s why aside from this Black Friday survival guide (don’t forget to share it with your teammates!), we’re offering a giveaway. Three lucky recipients working in ecommerce merchandising will win a wellness basket to help them sail through the holiday rush. To be entered into the raffle, sign up below!
Win a holiday survival kit from Constructor!
Work in ecommerce merchandising? Enter our giveaway by 11:59 p.m. on November 17, 2023 to win one of three care packages from Constructor with a cozy Carhartt beanie ($43 value), an Fellow Stagg pour-over electric kettle ($195 value), and Fellow double-wall ceramic mug ($30 value). Even if you don’t win, we’ll send you a $5 gift card just for entering!*
*Terms and Conditions. The giveaway contest is open to participants who meet the following criteria: reside in the United States, Canada, or United Kingdom; work in ecommerce merchandising, and are at least 18 years of age or older. Winners will be selected randomly from all eligible entries immediately after the deadline and will be notified no later than November 22, 2023. No purchase required to enter.