Taking Care Of Business Is Easier When You Take Care Of Yourself
Your business is your baby, and as we all know, babies need constant attention, care, and time. When you start a business, the line between work and life becomes blurry. Business owners notoriously take on too much. Excessive workloads lead to fewer hours of sleep and eating whatever’s convenient on the go while you’re stressing over your upcoming board meeting sitting in the morning rush hour, day in and day out. Even the most basic self-care regime can seem impossible to maintain; but staying physically and mentally healthy, and not to mention sane, will ensure you and your business both thrive.
Self-care is not just taking a bubble bath and ordering takeout; although that can be part of it if that’s what makes you feel good. Self-care is about maintaining a better work/life balance and nurturing yourself as much as you do your business. The most effective way to practice self-care is to make it a daily habit. Below are some helpful ways you can create a better routine for the health, success, and happiness of you and your business.
Create Your “Me Time” Routine
Decide what this means to you and stick to it. Maybe you create me-time by leaving your phone in another room after 6 PM every night until 9 AM the next day, so you’re not tempted to check emails after hours. Maybe you practice 15 minutes of meditation or do 15 minutes of creative writing on your lunch break every day. Carve out a little time every day to do something that brings you joy and helps you relax. Just make sure it’s not work-related. Pencil it in your calendar or set alarm reminders on your phone if you have to!
Take A Break
It’s ok, really. Everything will be where you left it! Give yourself a few minutes every hour to stretch, step outside for some air, or simply enjoy a second cup of coffee without your computer in front of you. Even a moment to step away is important to give your eyes a break from staring at a screen.
The desire to be available and connected at all times is overwhelming, but being logged in all the time is unsustainable long term. Have some time where you’re not obligated to have your phone in your hand or responding to business matters. Again, that may mean leaving your phone in another room after work a couple of times a week. If you absolutely can’t disconnect, appoint an assistant to deal with issues in your absence so you can take a guilt and worry-free break.
Ask for help when you need it, because as the boss, other people may not know you need it when you do. Just because you’re running the show doesn’t mean your workload has to be unmanageable. There’s a way to balance things, and it’s by trusting your employees to do their jobs and enlisting their help when you need it. We always say, focus your energy on the big picture stuff and delegate the rest.
Find Support Or A Buddy To Lean On
It can be lonely and unmotivating to always work alone, especially when we’re now doing so much work remotely. Find a Facebook group, support network, other business owners, or a friend working from home that you can lean on for support. Hold each other accountable, check-in with each other, have a coffee break over Zoom once a week. Having a support network or someone who can empathize with your work stresses can help you manage your emotional and mental health, and give you perspective or advice to manage your business better when things get complicated.
Forgive Yourself For Negativity
It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you’re running a business; you have big goals to reach, so when you have days where you’re overwhelmed or don’t get as much done as you had planned, it can feel like you’re underachieving. As a boss, you have a lot of responsibility and a lot riding on your shoulders, so you’re bound to blame yourself for every mistake, every delay, or every snag. Before you beat yourself up with the, “Why didn’t I get this done? Why didn’t I do this?” stop and choose kindness instead. Acknowledge you’re only one human with only two hands and only so many hours in the day. Instead, say, “I’m doing my best and making the best decisions with the information and resources I have every day.” This awareness and change in mindset take time before it feels like second nature, but it will help you be more positive with daily practice.
Entrepreneurs are bombarded with requests for meetings, collaborations, partnerships, advice, and the list goes on. These can go on forever, so learn to say no without feeling guilty or rude. You’re already swamped and fighting for time in your day just to take basic care of yourself. Focus on your business and goals and ask yourself, “Will this better me or my business to say yes?” If your answer is no, then say no!
Focus On One Big Thing Per Day
As the big cheese, you want to be involved in everything. Knowing every department or operation of your business through and through is great, but you can’t do it all in one day even if you wanted to. Focus on one big task or one area of your business for the entire day. For example, if you want to help your marketing team develop the company’s social media presence, set aside a day to devote to the content creation session. Setting specific days where you tackle and complete one major task will help you feel accomplished, productive, and help add some structure to your week.
Exercise has been proven to help people be more productive, sleep better, and manage stressful situations better. Take the stairs, do a “talk while you walk” meeting instead of a sit-down, or walk to pick up your lunch each day. You don’t have to do a rigorous gym session every single day if that seems unmanageable right now, just uncoil yourself from your desk and move your body more.
Working remotely can cause bad habits, like not getting out of your house until you check the mail at 5 PM. When you don’t have to commute to an office, it’s easy to get so caught up you don’t realize you haven’t even looked out a window since you got out of bed. Make a conscious effort to leave your house. Even if you just sit outside on your patio to enjoy your first cup of coffee, get some fresh air, and see the sky. Better yet, walk to a coffee shop first thing in the morning just to get the blood flowing before you start your workday inside. Nature and fresh air can do wonders for your mental health.
A little kindness goes a long way. Thank the people who help your business thrive. Do something nice for someone else; be it your employees, a charity, or even a stranger on the street. Caring for others is one of the most effective forms of self-care. It allows us to shift our focus from our day-to-day problems, and gain some positive perspective on all the reasons we have to be happy and grateful.
Give Yourself A Gift
Whether it’s a fancy coffee treat from Starbucks, a 20-minute nap on your lunch break, or a new journal you passed by in the store, invest in yourself. Don’t feel guilty about it. You deserve it! You work hard, and life is short. Try to fill each day with joy and something special to make each one memorable.
Take A Vacation!
Completely unplugging is essential for our mental health, business owner or not. If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends for months or even years, it might be time to take a longer break. We’re so addicted to our phones; every notification and email feels so important, but in the grand scheme of things, nothing is more important than your health and spending time with the people you love. When those things are neglected, you suffer, and if you’re suffering, your work eventually will too.
Running a business takes over your life, and your life becomes your business, but a sustainable self-care routine is essential for the longevity of your health and your career! It’s ok to start small and gradually incorporate practices that help you feel cared for one day at a time, but make them a priority the same as you would for anything else. You’d never let your kids go without their doctor check-ups, or your business go without essential supplies, so why is it ok for you to go without nurturing your needs or care? You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make time to fill it!