Self-care is certainly a buzz word when it comes to YouTubers and self-help gurus. Mainstream media will say that a self-care routine includes a face mask and chocolate cake. A yogi might say the path to self-care is through meditation and sun salutations. In fact, neither of these definitions are wrong – it just depends on what the person needs from self-care.
Self-care for entrepreneurs, however, is different because entrepreneurs are usually a particular type of person. If you run your own business, you’re probably extremely ambitious, working all the time, and focused on meeting your goals. And really – there’s no other way to create a successful business. However, knowing when you’ve gone too far and need a break is extremely important. Similar to many other skills you will hone as an entrepreneur, self-care will become one of your most coveted skills.
In this post I’m breaking down everything you need to know about self-care and sharing five self-care strategies you can start implementing today:
Why is self-care so important for entrepreneurs?
If you don’t take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of anyone or anything else? Think about it for a moment. What happened the last time you went a week without sleeping properly? Chances are you were far less productive than you would’ve been if you prioritized sleep.
What happened the last time you skipped the gym for a whole month? You probably felt groggy, unfocused, and unmotivated. What happened the last time you neglected your spouse or children for your job? You probably felt uncomfortable in the pit of your stomach before falling asleep.
Self-care for entrepreneurs isn’t about being lazy or selfish. It’s truly the best thing you can do for your business and your life as a whole. When you’re feeling your best, it shows in the work you do, in the strength of your relationships, and in your ability to stay the course – all essential to running a successful business.
Here are 5 Self Care Strategies You Can Start Doing Today
To help instill positive self-care habits in your life as an entrepreneur, these are 5 things that show how self-care for entrepreneurs is necessary, even during a busy week.
Self Care Strategy #1: Prioritize Your Health
Without your health, you have nothing. If you’re feeling run down or you’re lacking energy and vitality, you won’t be able to properly run your business. That’s why prioritizing your health should be at the top of the list.
When you’re in hustle mode, it’s easy to shrug off important self care activities like going to the gym and getting proper rest. After a while, it will definitely catch up to you.
Think about it like the entrepreneur that you are. In your business, balancing the budget and hiring good people are essential. They might seem like small actions, but they make all the difference.
This is the same concept when it comes to self care for entrepreneurs. Doesn’t it make more sense to do the little things and take care of the basics in order to avoid burning out and needing three full days to recover? Of course, it does! Taking care of your health is crucial for feeling your best and having enough energy to show up for your business.
Self Care Strategy #2: Schedule Downtime
It’s one thing to schedule downtime but it’s another thing to stick to it. Often, busy entrepreneurs will say they’re going to chill out, binge-watch Netflix, and turn off their email notifications after 9:00 pm. Yet, we find ourselves taking phone calls while our spouse impatiently waits to continue watching the Stranger Things episode you’re in the middle of.
Carving out downtime for yourself means protecting that time, too. Treat downtime like a work meeting because it’s truly just as important. If you’re super goal-oriented, it helps to think of self care for entrepreneurs in this way.
It’s a good idea to start off with actual self care appointments like booking a massage or buying a movie ticket online. That way, you’re more likely to actually treat it like a meeting and be there on time. Eventually, you’ll see the benefits and it’ll be like second-nature to block out part of your schedule for self care and stick to it. Even if you’re just staying home and baking chocolate chip cookies.
Self Care Strategy #3: Plan “Fun” Time
Another bit of scheduling that should be treated just as important as a work meeting is to plan a bit of fun time. You can go check out the new exhibit at your local museum with your kids, plan a date night with your partner, go to the beach as a family, or invite the girls over for wine and cheese. These are all fantastic ways to decompress and are really important when it comes to nurturing your personal relationships.
Part of self care for entrepreneurs is making sure to take care of every part of yourself including the people around you. Making sure that you’re happy in your relationship and friendships will make you a better business owner. After all, isn’t the best part of being an entrepreneur the fact that you’ll hopefully have more time doing the things you love.
If so, make sure you’re actually reaping the benefits of being your own boss and enjoy the life you’ve created for yourself.
Self Care Strategy #4: Plan for the Unexpected
As entrepreneurs, we can be meticulous about our schedules but we often don’t consider unexpected events that can completely throw our entire day off course. In reality, the only thing we should really expect is the unexpected. It’s going to happen! So, it’s important to bake in extra hours to your schedule for things you can’t anticipate.
Your child gets sick and has to be picked up from school – now. Your car breaks down on the way to a meeting. You didn’t get enough sleep last night and you’re not as efficient as you were yesterday. These things happen and it’s silly to be unprepared. Adding buffer time into your schedule allows you to be more effective by doing less yet maintaining your ambition. You’re far less likely to get actually derailed by surprises this way.
And what’s the worst case scenario? You get all your work done with more time to take care of yourself. If being effective with your time and planning for the unexpected isn’t self care for entrepreneurs in a nutshell, then I don’t know what is.
Self Care Strategy #5: Set Realistic Goals
As ambitious people, there’s always that inner desire to “level up” in our business. However, growing too fast has its consequences. In an interview, Greg McKeown author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less explained how there’s always a tradeoff when it comes to our priorities. If we’re constantly working at our maximum without prioritizing things like sleep, our families, or just a single project at a time, we don’t have a moment to pause and discern what’s actually the most important contribution we can make that day.
That’s where setting realistic goals come into play. For example, if you’re pushing yourself to the limits at work instead of taking care of yourself and what’s important, you can end up sick and unable to work on your business at all. Set realistic goals and avoid the temptation to overachieve or you’ll end up feeling lost and confused because you didn’t give yourself a moment to clarify what’s really important.