Self-care is a growing concept among entrepreneurs. In the past, it was assumed that a successful entrepreneur had to give up something or, more likely, many things, in order to build the business. In many cases one of those somethings was care for themselves. How many new business owners do you know who barely sleep, hardly interact with their friends and family anymore, and eat whatever is closest and easiest no matter how unhealthy? My guess is quite a few. Eventually this way of running the business will get to you. It’s unsustainable. You’ll burn out and both you and the business will suffer.
Self-care can help prevent this from happening and actually position you for greater success.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is any action or activity that a person does to take care of their mental, physical, or emotional health. Taking a “mental health day”, hitting the gym, going on vacation, or even just turning off the phone and staying off the computer can be considered self-care. Self-care is different from every person. It is anything that helps you feel better; that helps you care for you.
The challenge in adopting self-care techniques as an entrepreneur is actually making time to do them. All too often there is this unspoken pressure on new business owners to keep going, do “just a little more, then I’ll take a break”. The only problem is that break never comes because there is always another task on the to-do list!
As an entrepreneur you are uniquely positioned to take control of your health, say enough is enough, and give yourself a break. Taking a day off or stopping work at a reasonable time isn’t going to break your business, but not doing so may break you.
Self-Care For Success
How does self-care promote entrepreneurial success? By keeping you physically healthy, mentally refreshed, and emotionally stable. When your mind and body are in a good place, your productivity and creativity soars. You’re more engaged, more innovative, more energized and you get more done than you would if you worked yourself to the bone. There’s nothing worse than running your own business, but feeling so drained that you are disengaged from or, worse, resentful of the business.
Despite how valuable self-care is, it doesn’t just happen. It takes work and concentrated effort to make time for yourself. We mentioned “getting vicious” in a previous post when we recommended outsourcing as a technique to free up your time to work on aspects of the business that best suit your skillset. The same concept applies here. You may need to zealously guard your downtime and set strong work-life boundaries in order to make time for self-care. It may feel “wrong” at first – taking time for yourself when there is so much to do – but you’ll feel better and work better afterwards.
Here are tips that you can use to begin taking care of yourself, so you can take care of your business:
- Set strong work-life boundaries. Strictly guard your downtime. Be firm in what constitutes working hours and what doesn’t.
- Create a list of simple ways you can care for yourself during the weekday. For example, plan to meet a friend for lunch once a week. Make time for exercise. Develop a healthy meal plan. Take coffee breaks. Get outside.
- Plan for fun. Have something to look forward to every week be it a night out, sitting down with a good book, or whipping up a gourmet meal.
- Take time off. You don’t need to go on an expensive, exotic vacation, but take a long weekend here and there. Clock out early, get a massage, take a drive with the music up loud, visit a museum…whatever recharges you.
- Walk away. If you’re struggling with a project or aspect of the business, learn to walk away from it for a bit. Give yourself some space. Go for a walk, call a friend, surf the web, work on a different project. The distance will give you perspective and recharge you.
Self-care isn’t an imaginary idea, it’s proven to boost creativity, productivity, and job satisfaction. It’s an investment in yourself and the success of your business so don’t be afraid to practice some self-care.
I’m curious. What does self-care look like for you?
Copyright: hedgehog / 123RF Stock Photo