One of my favorite trends over the past few years has been the renewed emphasis on self-care. And self-care for entrepreneurs is especially vital to help ensure we don’t burn ourselves out.
I’m not talking about mani-pedis or bubble baths (although those are great, and you should definitely #treatyoself from time to time 🛀).
I am referring to the practice of mental and emotional health maintenance, baby.
Oooooh yeah. Sexy, right?
As entrepreneurs, we tend to overwork ourselves. There’s no boss, no time clock, no rush hour commute. And while the absence of these rather stressful items is lovely, it also means that we don’t have the typical external factors which usually dictate things like “start” and “stop” times (or lunch breaks 🍔!)
It can feel impossible to take a day off or call it quits early when our home is also our workplace.
Traditional office workers have been experiencing the effects of this since the pandemic shuttered businesses across the country, forcing most Americans to set up camp on their couches or at their dining room tables.
In fact, the American Psychiatric Association recently conducted a survey that found that most people working from home were struggling with their mental health due to feelings of isolation and the inability to step away from their work at the end of the day.
So how can we build successful businesses while maintaining the necessary boundaries to prevent burnout?
There are a few things that I make sure to practice weekly, if not daily, to ensure that I am taking care of my mental and emotional health. A cocktail of self-care for entrepreneurs, if you will 😉
Bailey’s Self-Care Cocktail Recipe for Overworked Entrepreneurs (patent pending):
Put your phone down!
This is a hard one, I know. But it’s one of the most important ingredients in our self-care cocktail. Designate times each day that are “screen-free.” Studies show that giving your brain an hour to wake up in the morning before engaging with technology leads to better mental health and productivity. The same goes for bedtime- put that phone down!
And it’s more than just giving your brain a little breather. Once we pick up our phones and begin checking emails, looking at socials, etc., our workday has begun. So give your brain the opportunity to wake up and wind down each day. You’ll likely find that you’re more productive for it!
Get moving 🏋️
Exercise. Maybe that’s jumping on your Peloton. Maybe it’s taking an hour-long walk with your favorite pooch. Maybe it’s skating in circles at your local roller rink, listening to Taylor Swift and watching preteens awkwardly hold-hand skate (No? Just me?)
Do whatever gets your blood pumping and allows your brain to take a break. Bonus points if you can remember to take deep breaths.
Write it down!
This is one of my favorite ways to deal with feelings of stress and overwhelm. It can also be the trickiest to get myself to do when I’m down.
I have friends who fill notebook after notebook with the ramblings of their brains, but a guided journal has always been an easier way for me to reflect and clear my thoughts. My current favorite is this anxiety journal.
Don’t sweat the small stuff (celebrate it instead!)
When we are the name and face of our business, it is easy to take everything personally– the good and the bad 😬. We’re used to busting out the champagne when we land a big client, but what about when things go wrong?
I say- still celebrate! Okay, so maybe you’re not popping open the Dom because a deal fell through but DO take the time to reflect and appreciate the opportunity to learn. To get better and to do better next time.
We’re humans, not machines. We’re learning and growing all the time. So, when things don’t work out the way you’d hoped, a client isn’t happy, or you mess up a deadline, don’t despair. You’ve been given an opportunity to learn and do better next time. So, allow yourself to feel gratitude for the lesson and to move on.
Take a break!
I know, I know. Easier said than done. But you know what? The most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met are the ones with the best boundaries. They know when they’ve hit their limit. They take a sick day. Or a half day. They go away for the weekend and leave their laptop at home.
Give it a try. Start small if you have to.
Go to the park for lunch and don’t bring your phone. Reschedule your meeting and take a nap instead. Don’t feel good? Stay in bed and binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy.
The only person judging you is you. So treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend and give yourself a break.
Taking care of yourself isn’t just about being the most productive business owner, coach, consultant, etc. It’s about self-compassion.
Self-care for entrepreneurs is vital!
So what do you do to take care of yourself? Shoot me a DM on Instagram and let me know your favorite app, journal, or other technique.
And don’t forget– Your mental health matters.