We all know that it can be difficult to work for yourself and that stress and burnout are real concerns. As an entrepreneur, you often have to deal with unusual working hours, time pressures, risk of failure constantly looming, irregular money coming in, and limited social interaction.
It’s obvious to most entrepreneurs that in order to successfully run your startup, you need to understand the mechanics of building a business. What’s harder to accept is that to build yourself as your startup’s leader, you need to understand the mechanics of yourself. When you actively bring your attention to your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations at any given moment, you are enabling yourself to see the information at hand more clearly. Then you can make decisions—both self-care choices and decisions for your startup—based on your current reality, rather than on how the past has gone or on an imagined future.
When you start your own business, the line between work and life can become very blurry—even nonexistent.
It can be so easy to pour yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally into the business to the point of burning out.
Fortunately, there are several ways that entrepreneurs can practice self-care. With a little advice and a little willpower, startup owners can get back into a place of mental, emotional, and physical health — all while growing their business.
1. Take a Day of Rest
This can’t be emphasized enough. If you constantly work seven days a week, it becomes difficult to unplug from the stress of running a business. This leads to a feeling that you can’t escape the pressures that are threatening to destroy your life. Though it seems counter-intuitive, one of the best things you can do is walk away from these pressures for one whole day a week — maybe even two whole days!
A day of rest can look different for different people. Some entrepreneurs may want to stay away from their rented office and spend the day at a park with a loved one. If your office is at home, consider getting away on a day trip with friends or family.
2.Discipline Yourself to Separate Work From Personal Life
Professionals are often advised to “leave work at work.” Entrepreneurs need this advice even more. Since you are in the driver’s seat and controlling the direction of the business, your stresses are probably even greater than those of your employees (if you have any). Though you should give your business 110 percent every minute of the work day, it’s important to set boundaries and keep your business firmly out of your personal life.
What does this mean? It will look different in every situation. It could mean not taking that business phone call while you’re on a date. It could mean leaving your phone, computer, and other devices in the office while you play with your child. Whatever it is, you need to create clear boundaries between your personal life and your business life.
3.Allow For One Bigger Self Care Activity a Week
Usually, self care activities are peppered throughout the day, allowing for mental, emotional, and physical stress release. But it is also important to allow for one BIGGER self care indulgence each week. This is about prioritizing yourself, your worth, and your needs. It may be getting your nails done, getting a massage, going for a big hike, lunch with friends, an afternoon off work, social media time-out — whatever you need.
And that’s it! I hope that this helped. Remember: a healthy, calm, coping business owner is much better than a stressed out one! Prioritize yourself and reap the benefits 🙂
4.Find a Co-working Buddy and/or a Support Network
Being a solo founder (or freelancer, even) can get lonely, especially if you work from home. I’ve felt this in recent months, so I’ve been trying to set up work dates with friends where we’ll meet at a coffee shop to get things done.
If you have a long-distance buddy who is also a founder, set up a weekly check-in with her to keep each other accountable, and also just to chat and share in the struggles of running your own company. Having a support network of people who can empathize with what you’re going through is key, and will really help you manage your emotional and mental health.
5.Set Your Priorities
This may be difficult to hear, but ultimately, your health is more important than your business. What good is it if you build a successful company but find yourself crippled with anxiety and health problems? Your quality of life will go down, and there are no prizes for making yourself sick. It’s very easy to pursue monetary success above everything else, but that may not lead to happiness.
Rather, you should take a balanced approach. Recognize when it’s time to work hard and build your company, and recognize when you need to unplug and recharge. Put your family ahead of business. You will find yourself healthier and, amazingly, more energized to run your business well.
It is possible to work hard and have a fulfilling, healthy personal life. But achieving such work-life balance requires you to act.
Don’t know where to start? Pick several of the self-care tips outlined in this article, write them on a sticky note and put that sticky note somewhere you’ll see it often. Don’t forget about your commitment to making positive changes in your life, and remember those changes are worth the effort!