In the modern era, American professional culture has become increasingly focused on celebrating the go-getters, the hustlers, and the workaholics. While working hard isn’t a bad thing, it’s troubling to find ourselves in a world that craves individuals who work 60-80 hours per week.

So with all of the emphasis on working harder and putting in longer hours, we find that a new phenomenon is all getting increasing attention, especially in the small business world: Self-Care. After all, as a sole proprietor, if you find yourself out of commission with the flu, no one’s going to step in to run your business. Small business owners don’t have the safety net of paid time off, sick time banks, or even disability pay (in most cases) – so it’s more important than ever to keep yourself healthy as an entrepreneur!

So how do we do it? Well, today we’re going to take a look at some self-care tips that can keep you happy and healthy, so you can give your business the best you have to offer.

Why Focus On Self-Care?

Self-care isn’t just about making sure you fell good and don’t get sick. It has real, tangible effects on your ability to run your business! Self-care has been show in numerous studies to:

  • Reduce Stress Levels
  • Jumpstart Clarity & Creativity
  • Boost Productivity
  • Improve Mental Health

So taking care of yourself isn’t just about avoiding the latest round of stomach viruses and cold strains. It’s about creating an environment where you are in tip-top shape (mentally and physically) to tackle the demands of your business and daily life.

How Do We Add Self-Care?

First and foremost, it’s important to note that self-care is incredibly personal. What helps you unwind or decompress may be totally useless to someone else, and vice versa. So let’s talk generally…

  1. Schedule Your Self-Care. Don’t just leave it to chance. Put your self-care time on the calendar just like you would with any other meeting or commitment. It’s important to make sure that time exists – not just in your day, but in your mind!
  2. Make a list. Create a list of activities that help you de-stress and put them into categories – for example, you might try classifying them as short, medium, or long based on how much time they take. Once you have your list of activities, find ways to fit a few of them into your day at various intervals.
  3. Start out on the right foot. One of the worst things you can do is wake up, roll over, and immediately spend ten minutes checking your phone. Instead, commit to spending that first ten minutes stretching, doing some deep breathing, or even meditating. Allowing your mind to fully wake up before diving back into the workday will save you a ton of mental stress.
  4. Create a “no” list. Just like you want to have a list of activities that you absolutely will make time for during the day, you should also have a list of activities you won’t do – like checking your email after 8pm or starting a new project fifteen minutes before closing time.
  5. Allow time for one BIG self-care activity each week. Setting aside a time for one bigger self-care activity every week is like making a commitment to yourself that you’re important. Think of it as a one-on-one or improvement meeting with yourself. You won’t regret it!