The topic of self-care has become extremely popular in the last few years. As a society, we are just starting to understand the importance of taking the time to focus on yourself and what YOU need. This is great! But what does self-care as a business owner look like?
Most of us start our professional careers employed by a company. A company that tells you when to arrive, when to eat, when to leave, etc. You know exactly when to take advantage of time allotted to “self-care”. This might mean eating a healthy lunch, reading your favorite book during your break or taking your weekend off to go camping. Your self-care is already pre-determined in a sense.
However, if you are anything like me, you will eventually realize that this type of career and structure isn’t right for you. That’s when you decide to start moving into the entrepreneur space and self-care as a business owner becomes crucial. Wow! What a rush it is to own your own company and make your own rules. But if history has taught us anything it’s that a world, or business, with no rules, turns into havoc in a very short amount of time. If you have no rules in place when do you know when to stop and focus on yourself? How can you focus on yourself and your personal needs when there is a business to run?
Here are 6 ways to practice self-care as a business owner.
Take A Breath
Self-care as a business owner doesn’t need to be a huge thing. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves to sit still and breath for a moment. What this can do for your mind in a stressful situation is truly amazing. There are proven benefits to controlled and mindful breathing, including reducing stress. Do your research and learn proper breathing techniques to get the full advantage of this self-care method.
This may seem obvious to some, however fewer than 1 in 5 (17%) Canadians consume the Canada Food Guide recommended 5 servings of fruits or vegetables, and only 5% consumed the recommended servings of cereal, grains or bread. Why aren’t we seeing healthy eating as a self-care method? I have heard many reasons, including but not limited to, “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have enough energy to cook along with everything else I do”. Your food choices have direct effect on how your body and mind preform throughout the day. The reason that you might be feeling this way is because you are not giving your body the energy to get through your day. Practice self-care as a business owner with your daily meals and don’t forget to drink water!
Setting proper boundaries has been spoken about often, especially among spiritual individuals who feel that another person’s positive or negative energy can drastically affect your own. But setting boundaries is also an important tool for your self-care as a business owner. We work and speak with many people every day as an entrepreneur. It’s an uncomfortable experience when you receive an email at 11:00 PM demanding a prompt response, especially when you didn’t expect to be working that late. But if that individual didn’t know that you had specific “working times” how would they know that this isn’t acceptable? Set your boundaries and expectations with new clients and those you work along side with. This will enable you to have the time and space to focus on you.
You are likely thinking to yourself right now “What do you mean? I talk to people every day, all day”. You aren’t wrong… but this is different. When you are speaking to your clients or business peers throughout the busy day, you are likely talking about work or having a conversation that may lead to business in the future. This can be mentally draining.
You compare this to how you feel after a fun evening hanging out with close friends and the difference of experience and outcome is undeniable. Take a pre-emptive approach to getting face time with other humans: work from a coffee shop once a week or join a local entrepreneur group. If you can’t do this because you are living in a secluded area or the world is experiencing a pandemic get on the phone, facetime, or zoom. Feed your natural human need to be social and show yourself some self-care; social style.
Love Your Workspace
Your workspace has a lot to do with what is happening inside YOU. Have you ever heard the saying “We are a product of our environment”? It applies here too! If your work environment is unorganized and cluttered, you will likely find that your thoughts and mindset mimic this. Working and/or living in a comfortable and tidy space allows you to focus on what you need to do in that moment. This brings me to my next point.
How close is your workspace to your normal living space? Can you see your dirty dishes or laundry pile from your office chair? Can you hear your computer notifications well into your evening? If your answers are “too close”, “yes” and “yes” then you need to make a change.
These types of distractions will greatly affect your productivity, during work times, and relaxation, during times when you aren’t working. Put up a curtain between your workspace and living space, move your computer to a less used space in your home, turn off your computer notifications while not working or find a hub/shared workspace outside of your home. Sometimes self-care as a business owner means to make important changes in your everyday life to feed positivity, productivity and yes, relaxation.
Without the occasional treat or reward we start asking ourselves “Why the heck am I doing all of this work and getting nothing out of it?”. Your mind can be bribed, you can learn more about that here. All of us want to be recognized and rewarded for the hard work we do. As a business owner, we don’t have a boss that rewards us for our dedication so this will fit into our self-care as a business owner.
Small rewards give us something to look forward to on those inevitable hard days. But wait! What does a “treat” look like? I’m not saying that you need to have a box of cookies next to you all day to munch on. Well if that’s really what you want, I can’t stop you. But what I’m talking about is ANYTHING that will motivate you and lift your spirits. This could be anything from a box of your favorite cookies to a new video game. PEW PEW.
Self-care as a business owner can be a tricky thing. Just remember that it’s important and unique to you. You may need to try different self-care methods until you find the ones that work best for you. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated. Listen to what your mind and body is telling you to do. That will tell you what you NEED.