For most entrepreneurs, the idea of taking time out from a busy day to dedicate to their own well-being seems like a lovely idea in theory, but an impossible one in practice. However, there is nothing more important than making sure you are mentally, physically and emotionally equipped to manage your business and your life.
Self-care helps you to do that.
From simple breathing techniques to treating yourself to an unrelated-to-work activity that makes you feel good, self-care encompasses a wide array of options.
If you are an entrepreneur who is looking to establish a better work-life balance this year (or at least, enough time for some regular self-care), read on for an essential guide that you can follow.
1. Why Is Self-Care Crucial for Entrepreneurs?
Most entrepreneurs know that “turning off” never really feels like an option. When you are running your own business, any semblance of a work/life balance seems like a distant idea which also — almost always — leads to burnout.
No matter how much you love your job or how much you enjoy what you are creating, when you are pouring your heart and soul into something that is consuming you mentally, physically and emotionally, there is going to be a breaking point.
You don’t want to push yourself there.
That is why self-care is not just helpful for entrepreneurs, but crucial.
2. What Type of Self-Care Should I Be Doing?
The most straightforward answer is that you should be doing whatever type of self-care feels good to you. Self-care is “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” In other words, it is something that refuels you instead of depletes you. It is something that you do simply because you enjoy it and because it feels good.
Therefore, for some people, self-care may translate to maintaining daily reading time; for others, it could be making a regular appointment at a beauty salon and spa.
The possibilities for self-care activities are as endless as the different personality traits that humans have. Bubble baths, a new bouquet of flowers, sitting in the grass just being in the moment, trying out a new hobby, cooking — you get the picture.
That being said, as you continue on your self-care journey (as with everything else, you should take it small step by small step), you may want to look into including the five different areas of self-care:
Ultimately, to be a well-balanced human, each of these areas needs to be regularly receiving some tender loving care.
3. How Can I Make Time for Self-Care With So Much on My Plate?
Oh, time — the archenemy of the modern-day entrepreneur. You barely have enough hours in the day to get through your to-do list, where are you going to squeeze in a Brazilian Blowout and another Pilates session?
Here are some tips from other entrepreneurs who have found a way to make it work:
Schedule it as a meeting with yourself.
You wouldn’t skip out on an important work meeting or a client phone call, would you? You wouldn’t think, “Oh, I am just too tired,” or “Actually, no thanks.” Instead, you would honor your commitment and do what you needed to do.
Think of your self-care in the same way. Schedule it in your calendar (color-coded appropriately) and consider it to be a meeting with yourself.
Once you have developed a little bit of a routine, you will start to notice that your business doesn’t fall apart and you are feeling a lot less anxious about the whole thing.
Learn to say no.
You don’t have to (nor can you) do everything, for everyone, all the time. Instead, you have to be laser-focused on your priorities, one of which should be self-care.
This may mean setting for yourself a “free night” quota to ensure that you obtain balance in your schedule. Perhaps you recognize that you need to spend two nights a week at home, unwinding, in order to be the most productive version of yourself. If this is the case, don’t say yes to evening events if you aren’t going to make your quota.
Additionally, never say “yes” to an invitation or a request on the spot. This is generally when people find themselves agreeing to something without even considering whether it makes sense or not. When in this situation, reply with something such as “I’ll have to double check my calendar; at the moment, it isn’t up to date.”
Find an accountability partner.
Grab a fellow entrepreneur’s hand (or a friend who also needs some work/life balance help) and strive to be each other’s accountability partners. Whether that means you actually do the self-care activity together, or you just keep each other accountable in the pursuit of it, you can decide.
But there is nothing better than having someone to encourage you and remind you why you decided to make this change in the first place. (Just try not to talk too much about work when the two of you are in the spa!)
4. How Do I Deal With the Inner Voice That Tells Me to Get Back to Work?
One of the most common pushbacks when it comes to self-care for busy entrepreneurs is the feeling that what they are doing is indulgent or selfish To make it very clear, self-care is not selfish.
Think about it this way — there is nothing selfish about looking after yourself because it is only by nurturing your mind, body and soul that you are going to be able to give 100 percent to your business. You have it heard it before: You can’t keep running a car on empty. (There is a reason it is a cliche!)
Do you have any regular self-care practices? Or are you looking to spend more time focusing on this in the coming year? Let us know your thoughts on this topic in the comments below!