Self care – it’s key to business success, even if you think it’s a wishy-washy term. While ignoring your personal needs might help your business get ahead in the short term, it’s the path to burnout in the long term. Sometimes, taking care of business means taking care of yourself.
- Get rest. Sleep and rest regularly – and properly. Trying to run a business on a few hours of sleep won’t work for long.
- Eat right. Your body is a machine – give it the best possible fuel.
- Exercise. You’ll keep your health in check, build positive endorphins and burn off steam. For me, exercise is often a way to clear my mind – and then great ideas start to slide in when I’m more open to them.
- Relax. Make time to sit around and do nothing. Goof around. Go for a walk. Lie on the sofa. Swing in a hammock. Sleep in. Linger over a meal. Savour a drink. Toss a ball around with a friend. Just hang out. Like Frankie says, "Relax!".
- Get in touch with your values. Feeling connected to your core values can help you feel more connected to your life and your work. If you feel like the work you do is aligned with your values, your personal beliefs may sustain you through good and bad times.
- Review your expectations. If you’re used to being successful, you may think you can have it all. And, hey, you can have it all – just not all at once. Sometimes, you may need to revise your expectations to meet the challenges of time, money, family, talent and even the economy.
- Manage your time. Whether you feel overloaded, stretched, conflicted or under the gun, you may be able to turn things around through time management strategies. Make a to do list and go over it to see what you really need to be focusing on. Look for things to drop, postpone, delegate and outsource.
- Have fun. If you’re not having fun – in both your business and personal life – find ways to change that. You’ll have more energy all-round if you make time to enjoy what you do.
- Ask for help. Turn to your friends, family, business colleagues and extended network for help. Consider outsourcing things you dislike or just don’t have the energy for.
If you’ve chosen entrepreneurship for the value the lifestyle brings, you’ll want to be especially mindful of self care. In my 15 years as a business owner, I’ve seen many entrepreneurs run into burnout – even ones who chose their businesses because of lifestyle! In many cases, these entrepreneurs found that letting go of expectations and obligations was the key to turning things around. Some of them were trying to run businesses while working full-time jobs or working as full-time homemakers. While you may still want to work a full-time job or be a stay-at-home parent, making healthy choices, such as enlisting the help of your partner or families and hiring housecleaners, grocery delivery, meal preparation, part-time sitters, dog walkers and other services may give you a much-needed break. If you’re tight on money, you may want to see if you can use barter to meet those needs. Or ask yourself if it’s all really that important – where can you let go? Do you really need to put your all into your business right now? Think outside the box and you may find yourself free again.
What tips would you add?