When you run your own business (or just love what you do), it can be sooo easy to just keep working even after you’re supposed to be done for the day. Because to entrepreneurs, what even IS done? There’s always another email to be sent. Another invoice to be finished. Another graphic to be designed. Something. There’s always something.
We just want our businesses to succeed. I get it. And to be honest, we kind of live in a society that promotes the hustle culture. Don’t get me wrong, hustling is important in growing a business, but it is not everything. There is a time and place for hustling, but you also need to slow down, catch your breath, and just take care of you.
Here are some things you can do to practice self-care (and avoid that dreaded burnout):
1. Re-frame your thoughts
How many times a day do you catch yourself saying “she’s doing this, so I must need to do that too,” or “her business is doing so well, but why isn’t mine?” Friend, you need to stop comparing your step 1 to her step 30. It’s not healthy, and chances are she was exactly where you were once. Instead, celebrate where she is, and just focus on what is best for your budding business.
And do you ever catch yourself saying “how come I ONLY got this done today?” Give yourself grace. Yes, you are an entrepreneur, but you are human first. It’s okay to NOT complete everything on your to-do list all the time. I’d bet you A LOT of money that that task you didn’t complete isn’t going to be the end of the world. Acknowledge that you are doing your best, and that is great.
Focusing on the negatives just adds to your stress, and that is the last thing you need when trying to take care of yourself.
2. Create “me time”
As hard as it may be, do not check your emails when you first wake up. I know it’s addicting, but it also sets the tone for the day, and remember, we want to have a life outside of work. For me, I enjoy reading and writing. So some mornings, I get up, make some tea and sit outside with a book. Other mornings, I stay inside and write for 5 minutes about whatever I feel like. Now, those don’t happen every morning, or even 75% of the time, but when I do have mornings like that, I just feel better the rest of the day.
Maybe you’re a night owl so your “me time” takes place later on. Maybe your “me time” involves some trashy reality TV and a whole bag of Doritos to yourself (no judgement, because sometimes that is me). Whatever it is, just do it. Carve out some time in your day to do things you enjoy, even if it is just for 5 minutes.
3. Say no
As an entrepreneur, you want to do ALL. THE. THINGS. and you just can’t, or you shouldn’t at least. You can say no to anything. People want to “pick your brain” over coffee? Sure, it might be nice to say yes, but is it really going to move the needle in your business or fuel your personal life at all? A well-established business in your area wants to interview you for their podcast, but you have a VERY full plate right now? I mean, yeah, it might get your biz some exposure, but you’d have to miss your sons first baseball game in order to fit that into your schedule. You can always say no. And just because you say no once, does not mean you will never get that opportunity again.
I promise you, learning to say no is so powerful.
Celebrate even your smallest wins. Got your first sale today? Reached your goal of 1,000 followers on Instagram? Whatever goal you reached, use it as an excuse to celebrate. Put on your favorite face mask, watch your favorite movie, order a meal from your favorite restaurant.
5. Recognize what you need
Being self aware is super important, because there are different types of self care that you may need. If you need companionship (this is huge, especially during a pandemic), call a friend, or meet one for coffee. If you need to express yourself, garden, dance, draw/paint something. You could even make a night of inviting a friend over for a DIY paint night or an impromptu dance party.
If rest and relaxation are what you need, try taking a bath, listening to music, or just napping. If you need to focus on your health or spirituality, practice yoga, meditate or pray. go for a walk, or cook a healthy meal.
So, business owner, this is your reminder to take a chill pill. Say yes to the things that fuel you, and no to the things that don't.