Being in business is great! You can work when you want, pop out for a round of golf whenever, meet your friends for lunch and if you’re tired, just have a nap!
OR… slightly more realistically:
- 5am starts to get to networking meetings
- Skipped meals
- Worry about getting customers/clients
- Tech headaches
- Work encroaching your private life
- Cashflow issues
- Burnout, overwhelm, stress, anxiety, depression, divorce, impotence, heart attack, stroke, and ultimately, death.
Well that escalated quickly!
Remember the saying: being in business gives you the freedom to choose the 18 hours a day you work!
But before you jack it all in and get a job stacking shelves, all is not lost. There are some really simple ways you can get a better work/life balance, take good care of yourself AND run a successful business.
What do you think of when you think of self care?
- A luxurious bubble bath with a glass of cold prosecco?
- A mani/pedi?
- A soothing massage?
- A Netflix binge with pizza and beer/wine?
Well, as lovely as those things are, they’re not what real self-care is all about, and they aren’t going to keep you physically and mentally open for business.
So I’m going to walk you through some REAL self care ideas, both for your business and personal life so can look after yourself and be fit for business, life and all the good stuff!
Lets start with…
Self care as a business owner
1. Have set working hours
Yes, I KNOW this can be hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t aim for it!
Having set times to start work and end work every day will give you structure, and those time boundaries can go a long way to reducing stress and overwhelm.
You’ll always have the occasional breakfast network meeting to attend or a big launch to push through, but having set time boundaries really helps with overwhelm. So give yourself permission to set your work hours.
2. Lunch breaks
Did you know a 15-20 minute lunch break has been proven to boost concentration, energy, productivity and creativity?
So although it’s tempting to grab a sandwich and keep working (or even skip a meal), it’s not good for either you or your business.
So stop working and switch off for a while. You could actually eat lunch, meet a friend, do some shopping (online or in an actual shop), read a book, listen to a podcast, call a friend, meditate, journal – there’s so much you can do in 30 minutes!
And it gives you just enough of a break to come back refreshed and full of creative energy.
I spend a whole lotta time sitting down, and this makes me feel about 90 when I haul my creaky self out of my chair and of course, gives you a nice surprise when shopping for new clothes (has anyone else noticed how sizes have shrunk? Anyone? Huh?)
So at least every hour, get up and walk around a bit, do some stretches, circle your arms about a bit. No-one will laugh…honest!
Increasing movement in your day is great for increasing energy. You’ll know if you go to the gym, you have more energy after, not less.
So go to the gym if you like that, but if you don’t there are a squillion other ways that increase movement that will be just as effective.
I walk my dog twice a day, you could do yoga, or desk yoga, or a 5 minute workout like this:
– even just watching that makes me feel energised!
4. Manage your diary
You’re in charge of your business, so take control of your diary. It’s frustrating having clients dotted all over the day/week, but more importantly you’re always energetically ‘on the clock’ and it interrupts your creative flow.
So when a client calls for an appointment, take control and offer them the 2 times that are most convenient for you. And again, boundaries! I only see clients on 2 days a week now, which leaves me energetically free to produce content, write courses, etc. on the other days because it’s hard to get creative in small 30 minute bursts. And I know Andrew and Pete always keep Tuesdays free for their content prep.
Make your life easier by hiring a virtual assistant or outsource some tasks.
It wasn’t easy for me to get a VA, as my business is my baby and I am very protective of it. I felt that no one could possibly look after it as well as I can!
But when I got busy I realised it was having a negative impact on my business and my bottom line, and that spurred me on to let go and get some help.
Now I have a VA and she’s wonderful! Turns out that not only can she do things as well as me, she’s often better! <awkward!>
She’s reduced my workload and does things in a fraction of the time it takes me which has freed me up to concentrate on the things I need to do that can’t be outsourced, like produce content.
6. Have an end of the workday routine
Working for yourself, and especially working from home can make it so easy for work and home life to get merged.
So have an end of work routine. This could be:
- Wash your cup
- Tidy your desk
- Write a to-do list for the next day so you hit the ground running
- Turning on voicemail and out of office for emails
- Take the dog for a walk
- Change clothes
Something that many of us do to signify the end of our working day is to pour ourselves a glass of wine/beer etc. A word of caution here though – pleasant though this may be, it’s very easy for this routine to slip into something that’s not so good for you. If you are in the habit of pouring yourself a cold one, try some of the suggestions above.
Personal self care to support your business
7. Make life easier for yourself
Think of ways you can lighten the load. For example, I’ve started getting most of my groceries online and have them delivered as I HATE going to the supermarket with a passion! It helps me save money as I’m not impulse buying, and a ton of time and all the hassle of driving, shopping, queueing, packing, unpacking again… well, you’re aware of the process!
Maybe you could get other help – a cleaner, or a gardener, or someone to do the ironing. Yes, you’re having to pay them, but it frees up time, energy and reduces pressure.
I know Pete has a food prep delivery service to take away some of the hassles of deciding what to eat, preparing, cooking and washing up, which all take energy. Hey, we’re busy enough, thank you!
Aah, beautiful sleep! We all love to sleep! So why do we make ourselves manage with so little!
Look I get it, I really do. Netflix is the master of the cliffhanger and making us watch ‘just one more episode’. I remember when my kids were young, after they went to bed was the only ‘me time’ I got, and I didn’t want to waste it sleeping!
But we all know awful it feels to be tired at work: your brain doesn’t quite re-boot, you feel groggy, everything takes longer to and creativity – well, not much chance of that! It’s like walking through treacle, and really not good for business.
So for the sake of your bottom line, get some rest already!
Oh, and if when you get into bed your mind starts whirring, keep a notebook by your bed and just write about whatever’s on your mind.
This is particularly good if you feel angry about something and in your mind, you keep replaying the situation with, ‘I should have said’s’, because you can rant, vent, swear and get it all out in a very safe way. Unless of course, you’re writing about your partner, in which case make sure they never see what you wrote!
So you can see, self care isn’t something that’s just a nice thing to do when you have the time, it’s important for your business. MAKE time for it, because your bottom line depends on it. And you know what’s bad for business? Being off sick!
What one thing can you do this week to increase your self care? Because the better you look after yourself, the more successful you’ll be.
Hi, I’m Jane, and I’m the overwhelmed therapists’ secret weapon.
I’m a therapist, and I’ve helped hundreds of other therapists to attract clients by showing them therapist specific marketing advice on how to attract clients ethically, so you can make a difference while getting the income you desire.
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