You are your business’s most valuable asset.
Can I just say that again?
You are your business’s most valuable asset.
Everything and everyone else is replaceable. You’re not.
Your physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual health are the glass ceilings of your business. Yet so few entrepreneurs (and I’ve observed that women are particularly prone to this) view investing in their own wellness as a justifiable use of their time, energy, and financial resources. So many businesses fail, not because they’re not viable, but because the person behind the vision hits burn-out, followed by the inevitable crash.
But that doesn’t have to be your story. By implementing a few basic strategies for self-care, you can work from a place of rest and wholeness, leading to fresh innovation and busting your own glass ceiling.
Ready? Here we go.
Accept you need it
Not like you “need” that new dress or that delicious dark chocolate salted caramel truffle (and now you know my weakness). Like you need food to eat, shelter to protect you, a business plan to success, internet and electricity to allow you to connect with your clients. You will not prioritize the resources it takes to practice self-care until you see it as a vital part of your business plan, and not just a luxury.
We are relational beings. Even the most introverted among us needs to connect regularly with friends and family to feel whole and emotionally recharged. I don’t mean clients. I don’t mean networking opportunities. Intentionally say no to the clamoring to-do list and have a real conversation with your spouse, go out to breakfast with your girlfriends, call your mom, or play in the leaves with your kids. Keep those important relationships in your life strong and healthy, and allow them to encourage you, lend perspective, and soothe the battle wounds of the entrepreneur life.
Attend to your physical health
You knew I was going to touch on this, didn’t you? Make sure you’re regularly getting 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Cook your own meals, instead of eating out, and make sure they include lots of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. I’m not a sports person, so I attend a dance class once a week and practice yoga at the end of every work day to keep me limber and signal my brain to switch off “work mode” and begin to relax. Just as stress affects our physical health and energy levels, our physical health drastically affects how we feel and our energy levels.
Feed your soul
Do what makes your soul happy. Check in with your soul and sort through any personal struggles that are seeping through into your work life. For you, this may look like a walk in the woods, curling up in a chair with a book, or taking a few hours to paint your feelings. For me, feeding my soul looks like journaling, reading my Bible or a devotional book daily, and weekly involvement in my church. Remember, out of the fountain of your soul flows the heart of your business.
If it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist, right? Create space in your schedule for self-care and stick to it. Learn to say “no” to the urgent and prioritize the important. We want to live life well and strategically! Every morning I take an hour to journal, write down my goals for the day, and feed my soul before I start my work. In the evening, I set aside my projects and practice yoga or dance before sitting down to eat real food with my husband.
Every Saturday, I dress up in my favorite outfits and go to a coffeeshop for a couple hours for some “me” time to read, journal, and enjoy a delicious chai latte. Developing self-care routines creates space and ensures this oh-so-important aspect of healthy entrepreneurship doesn’t get shoved in the corner in the perpetual “to do someday” pile.
Practicing self-care and intentionally incorporating it into your life and business can feel at first like you’re being “lazy” or irresponsible. And maybe your friends, family, or business partners agree! Trust me, the guilt trips are normal. But allow yourself to make the mindset shift from self-care as a luxury you don’t deserve, to a task as critical as stopping by the gas station to fuel up in the morning.
You don’t want your business stranded by the side of the road because you didn’t take the time to fill up! I’ve found when I invest in myself through self-care, I’m more productive, I complete my other tasks more quickly, creative solutions just come to me, and I still have energy and a sense of well-being at the end of the work day. Self-care allows me to step outside of the “crazy hustle cycle” and create unforced rhythms of life flow that increase my energy and empower me to make even bigger dreams a reality.
Katie Phillips is a fiction editor, author, and writing coach who’s passionate about helping writers tell their story with clarity and confidence. She’s passionate about emotionally-healthy entrepreneurship and living your story well. Follow her on Twitter @katiepcreative and Instagram @katiepcreative.