It’s almost a new year and somewhere a resolution or two is being drafted. If you are in the process of drafting your 2023 goals, you should consider making your self-care a priority. Running a business can be taxing on your mental health and with burnout on the rise, it is worth it to be proactive before you hit the proverbial wall. While it may seem like a hassle at first, having a self-care plan will actually help you and your business in the long run.
Self-care, then, is intentionally integrating activities that support your wellness plans and goals. It is the continual practice of making your mind and body a priority and ensuring you get what you need to maintain and press forward. press forward in life.
But Why Do I Need to Practice Self Care?
Like many, you’re busy. You don’t necessarily make yourself a priority. I mean, who has time? There’s work to be done. Projects to be launched. Personal and family obligations to take care of. And there’s just not enough hours in the day for “self-care”. It sounds great in theory, but who has time for it in practice?
Whether we admit it or not, there’s a lot of pride in being busy. Many of us are defined by the things we do, especially when it comes to work. Our job titles and responsibilities often take up far more real estate in our lives than they should, encroaching on time that should be spent enjoying with others or even ourselves.
We’ve equated busyness with importance, giving some things a bigger value they need to have. Somehow adulthood is being defined by pushing ourselves beyond our limits to keep up with an impossible race that taxes us in every way possible. 30 years from now, you probably won’t think too much about all the emails you sent. Whatever is currently stressing you out now most likely won’t matter in the long run.
You can only put so much tension into something before it breaks. Here’s the reality, our physical and mental bandwidth (not to mention time) are limited. We are not built to be the constant micromanager of all that happens in our corner of the universe. The truth is there has to be a space and time to recharge.
So How Can You Practice Self-Care?
The good news is that practicing self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. You can make small, realistic changes to ensure you are putting your wellness first. Each person is different so how your self-care plan looks may be different from someone else. The most important thing is to start with changes that you are able to stick to. Here are five ideas to get you started.
Turn off the gadgets. Set a particular time every weeknight to turn off your phone. If there’s no worthwhile reason why you don’t need it on, turn it off at least before you go to bed. If that’s not feasible, set your phone on Do Not Disturb (except for emergency calls from the super important people in your life.) Also, turn off your email notifications so that you are tempted to see what’s going on at work when you should be resting your mind and body.
Monitor your diet. When you work for yourself, it is super easy to get into the rhythm of the grind, especially if you are working from home. You can easily skip meals or even just make poor food choices, because you’re in the middle of getting work done and haven’t set aside time for a healthy meal or two. You might find yourself snacking on some unhealthy choices or consuming far more caffeine than you should. Make sure you are putting time on your daily calendar for meal breaks. Treat these just like you would any other meeting, except it is one for yourself.
Do something fun and be present. Multitasking is somewhat overrated. Sure, it’s needed in some limited circumstances, but it’s not a skill you need to follow you in all aspects of your life. Take stock of the activities you enjoy doing, and then do them. And don’t just do them, stay focused on the activity while you’re doing. No point going on vacation or hanging out at the movies only to think about what’s happening at work.
Create boundaries. You need clear lines of demarcation. No cross zones. Set aside times and spaces that are for you. These times are set to replenish. Write them on the calendar and make them consistent. The more you block out specific time for your needs, the more the rest of the world will learn to adhere to it. This is important. If you don’t carve out valuable time AND keep it, you can’t expect others to respect it.
Hang out with people. As a solopreneur, it is really easy to get into your work bubble. You run a business and most likely the face of it. This means, you are often working in front of a computer screen, quite a bit. Now, you might be doing this in an apartment, a coffee shop or even a co-working space. But you might find yourself in your isolated world often. Schedule some time to hang out with a friend or two to just chill. It can be anything from a weekly jogging meetup to brunch, but do activities with people that have nothing to do with your work.
These suggestions aren’t complicated and they aren’t meant to be. But instead they are starting points with the hope that you’ll value your “you” time a little more and develop new practices to prioritize you and your wellbeing.