As small business owners, it is difficult to find the time to focus on ourselves. Whether it is forgotten marketing (guilty often!), working too long, or just turning your business into drudgery, it is easy to forget ourselves for a minute.
Self-care has become a popular buzzword, but among my entrepreneurial friends I find that it has not yet entered the vernacular for many of us. Most of our conversations involve some variation of, “What a day!” or “I can’t wait for Friday,” when we started our freelancing, micro or small business to escape these exact phrases. When does owning your own business turn into drudgery?
When you forget your mission, yourself, and you start working each day because that is what you did the day before.
As humans we are creatures of habit. Working too much is a thing, and if you chase the busy-ness of your business, you will get caught like a carpenter bee in a bee trap.
I know that for many of us, especially our retail brethren, next week will be a busy week, so I am timing this post to give us all a chance to incorporate some self-care into our routine this week. Whether introverted, like me, or you love to be a social butterfly, I’ve included something for everyone.
- Make your bed. According to just about every mom in general, but also to intellectuals the world over, making your bed is an important start to your day, and to socio-economist Randall Bell, Ph.D., making your bed can be a trait indicative of a more successful personality. I have a confession to make. I’m around a 50% true bed maker. Reading the article above by Kathleen Elkins at CNBC makes me want to change that to 100%. My issue is this: How often does Richard Bronson have to get his 5 and 10 year old ready for school, put the laundry on, the dishes, walk the dogs and feed the chickens before sitting down to a desk at 8 am? While I love success stories, we need to be a little kind to ourselves, especially when our road to success is one lane of a three lane highway, and the other lanes are Mom-ing (or Dad-ing) and Spouse-ing. I make my bed to spoil myself – and I don’t mean pulling the covers up so it looks made. I mean fluffing pillows, airing out your comforter outside (sunshine and fresh air smell delicious) or spraying with some smell good (Febreze, essential oil spray, perfume or cologne – up to you).
- Start a morning coffee routine, or make yours extra long this week. I like to sit on my back deck in front of our hummingbird feeders every morning, hot coffee in hand, and listen to the birds and chickens while I mentally walk through my day. This simple time invigorates and focuses me for each day. On the days I roll out of bed, grab a hasty cup of coffee and run to my computer I know my day will continue to unfold like a run on sentence three pages too long. It stinks, and it makes me feel like a day of my life has been wasted. Make time for your day to start off right, and do something peaceful and centering, whether it is yoga/exercise, a coffee routine, or something else. Social butterfly? Make that coffee with friends, and meet at the park.
- Take a long walk. My husband is a definite creature of habit. It’s one of the many things I love about him. During lunch every day he takes a walk on a trail close to his workplace. Find a park close to you and try it for a few days.
- Plan your vacation. Feeling frazzled? There is nothing to pull yourself out of a work rut like researching your next getaway. Start a folder on your computer and when things are getting a bit hairy, take a minute to mentally change focus. This is a great one if you have to stay at your desk!
- Get a plant. Plants give off oxygen and are a peaceful touch to any desk. Really looking for something to relax? Studies have shown that jasmine can be just as calming as Xanax, with no side effects!
- Pick up a hobby or make time for yours. As a teen and into my early married years I was a painter. Once I had kids the paint became a bit trickier to keep handprint-free, so I took up gardening. I still love to garden. Pick up a routine far removed from your work life. Bonus points if it does not include electronics.
- Sleep. Sleep can get pushed to the sidelines when you are in the beginning stages of launching your business, or when you have deadlines and employees. Schedule some time on your calendar to get some extra shut eye, and if you can make it a habit then that’s even better (one extra nap isn’t going to help sleep deprivation much).
There are so many other ways to incorporate self-care into your life, but the common factor is to step away from the mundane for a bit and remember who you are as a person. We aren’t robots, and we can’t treat ourselves like them! If we were, coffee would be lithium batteries and we wouldn’t be able to support high level critical thinking. We are special, but only when we take care of ourselves. Incorporate some self-care into your routine, and make it a habit. Set a goal of a week to start. Over time you will see the benefits.