If you are anything like me and you own your own business… or have a job you love and can sometimes get a little consumed with, sometimes it’s hard to set some time aside to focus on yourself.
You might wrestle with the idea of entrepreneur self-care (or the importance of it).
It’s often said that more than half of new businesses fail during the first year. According to the Small Business Association (SBA), this isn’t necessarily true. The SBA states that only 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10.Investopedia
Therefore, given those stats, I think it’s part of the reason I’m among the 70% of businesses which survive past a year!
Here are 5 ways I practice self-care and why:
The practice of meditation has been hugely important to me in my personal life. It has given me a healthy coping skill that is easy to practice, can be done anywhere, and at any time. There are so many resources out there to learn how to meditate and apps that can help like Calm and my favorite Insight Timer. I meditate daily and use insight timer every night to get to sleep. Guided meditation is a powerful tool as well because you can choose your intention or affirmations that can apply to your business as well!
I try to be mindful in my words, actions, and way of life. I’m not always a wonderful steward of this practice, but that’s why I love that it’s a practice! Mindfulness doesn’t just mean being “nice or kind and mindful of others”… it’s deeper meaning is to live in the moment and to be present in whatever you are doing, no matter where you are.
Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning shower.
Conscious Time Management
Being a good steward of my time has not come easy for me. I spent the first year in business not paying any attention to how much time I was ACTUALLY spending in meetings with clients (i.e. consultation fees) or tracking how long I was ACTUALLY spending on projects (i.e. billable hours).
For me, I was new to it all and wanted to be as generous as I could be and build up a client base that I could manage and enjoy… and I was able to do that. I didn’t make any extra money — which is also something most businesses don’t do in their first year.
I have found that I love using Harvest as it’s perfect for my small business. I have multiple clients (such an awesome thing) and I do use block scheduling, but also wanted to track how much time I spend building websites, creating logos, working on branding, checking emails, etc. so that I can properly set my prices and bill my clients.
You might not think this is a big deal, but time management is the #1 issue MY clients tell me they struggle with, and it’s no wonder with all of the technology we enjoy and the instant-gratification society we live in.
Consider using a timer — even if you have to use a sticky note on your laptop to remember to turn it on! Harvest is free for the first month and is awesome to use for your team and you can pull reports if you are working with a business coach that wants to keep track, or just for your own information. It’s REALLY shed a light on my business, and my desire to create more balance in my life. Speaking of balance…
Hobbies & Fun
There was a time in my life when someone asked me what my hobbies were and I thought it was a trick question. I had just gone through an awful divorce multiple moves within a short time span and some other challenges that presented themselves. “What are hobbies?” I wondered.
Now, and before I started my business, I fell back in love with creating art, discovering new mediums, and trying new things. Making time for trying new things allowed me to gain the confidence that it takes to run your own business and attract clients. I took a Level One Comedy Improv class at the HIT (Harrisburgh Improv Theater).
This was so fun and the most important thing I learned was how to R E A L L Y listen. I’m an extroverted introvert — so I can turn it on when I need to (then I love to be a hermit and spend time alone as well) and when I’m engaged in conversation — and this happens with a lot of people — our natural instinct is to think about our own response or add our 2 cents.
Rebecca Waber, 30, leads a team of consultants at Innosight in Boston. She started taking improv classes for fun but immediately saw the work connection. “What you need to do in improv is listen closely to every word a scene partner is saying,” she says. “Everything’s moving so fast, you may have missed the most interesting thing. The audience may have heard it, and if you missed it you haven’t really driven the scene forward, you don’t know what to react to.” The boon comes in client meetings. “When you’re in a meeting with a client, you need to not only hear but deeply listen to everything.”Forbes
This is another thing that is sometimes hard for us to do. Since I spend a TON of hours on my laptops (yes there are 3) and checking my phone, I have chronic neck pain. I’ve made some changes to my workday by incorporating scheduled breaks during my day where I do 10 minutes of stretching and yoga.
I also invest in regular massages to reduce stress – although fancy spas are nice, they are pricey and require reservations in advance. Sometimes I’m not sure when I will need one or when my week might open up for an hour or two so I have found an affordable massage therapist at Kare And Foot in the local mall. I have a fantastic masseur that keeps me going!
I pride myself on offering individualized creative services and if I am not taking care of myself and performing regular self-care… I’m not as creative, not as organized, and ultimately not as successful as I’d like to be. That’s why I really try to concentrate on self-care and balance! Thanks for letting me share my tips — let me know what works for you!