GUEST POST from Lauren Stewart of Plant Your Peace
Do you take time for yourself? No really—do you actually?
When you’re the owner of a business, your days are a rollercoaster of excitement, uncertainty, and strong emotions. Thankfully, you’re chasing your dreams so it all feels worth it. At least it should! But if you aren’t taking care of yourself in the process, no matter how successful your business, it’s impossible to reach your full professional potential.
We’ve all heard the analogy about putting on your oxygen mask on the airplane before helping others. Think about your business as your baby because let’s be honest, it is. In order for a business to thrive, the person running it has to be thriving too. You’re the fuel to its fire, the backbone of its success. If you aren’t taken care of first, something’s going to end up lacking down the road.
So if you’re a business owner who needs more self-care in your life (and you do!), here are some tips to get you started:
Schedule time away
Yes, this is hard and there’s always more to do, but you don’t have to do it all. You likely have a long to-do list because you’re passionate and ambitious. You’re also not superhuman. To function properly, your body and mind need rest; they aren’t meant to be “on” all the time.
Schedule time away from work—whether it’s taking a half day off to go see a movie or window shop, a couple hours to get coffee with a friend or walk your dog and be out in nature, a full day of reading a book on your patio, or a mini daycation trip, think about what would help you recharge and put it in your calendar. Treat it like any important appointment that you wouldn’t miss.
Learn when to say no
As much as it seems like the right thing to do putting others first—whether it’s clients, friends, or family members—saying yes to everyone without considering yourself first takes away your power, which can lead to resentment and self-doubt.
When you’re asked to do something, pause. Think about whether you really want to be involved in that thing. Are you really willing to prioritize the time for it in your schedule, or is there something for yourself or your business that needs that time more? Remember you are in control of how you spend your time and your energy.
Eat away from your desk
I know this can be hard. You want to multitask by checking email while you have breakfast or plough through lunch while drafting your latest blog post, but research has shown multitasking is actually not efficient. The same goes for eating while doing something else.
When you eat without really paying attention to your food, your body isn’t able to process and assimilate as well as if you were fully present while eating. This can cause digestive upset, bloating, fatigue, and leave you feeling unsatisfied with what you ate.
Why does this matter? When your gut is out of alignment, it can affect your physical and mental health. You won’t properly absorb the food’s nutrients that provide fuel to your body and brain for powering through your work. So, give yourself extra time for meals to enjoy your food.
Create a daily practice
Spend at least a small amount of time at the beginning of your day on a grounding self-care routine. It doesn’t have to be long—20-30 minutes at the most. Try to add each of these to your morning:
Set a timer for 15 minutes and list five things you’re grateful for that day. Use the rest of the time to write about whatever is on your mind. Feeling really negative? Write it out. Emotional? Write it out. Pissed because you don’t feel like writing? Put that on paper.
Journaling helps release pent-up emotions, get in tune with how you really feel about whatever is happening in your life, and know yourself better. It can also help you see your progress as time goes on. It’s fascinating to look back on how you were feeling a week, month, or six months ago, and learn to appreciate how you change over time.
At the beginning of each week, spend five minutes choosing positive intentions for your week. These are phrases that express something you’d like to act on during each day. Some examples could be:
- I intend to wake up excited about all opportunities the day brings.
- I will make this a beautiful, productive day.
- I plan to love myself through each challenge.
- I will give myself rest when I need it.
- I intend to appreciate where I am in each moment.
Choose as many as you’d like. I’ve used as many as nine a week, but it doesn’t have to be that many. Just think about what you’d like to change or move toward in your life. Write them out with a pretty colored pencil if you’d like and add stickers or washi tape. Or, just write with a normal pen—whatever works for you.
Now, go through your list and read these intentions out loud to yourself at least three times. Really pay attention to what you’re reading. Listen to yourself and think about how these intentions relate to you now. You’ll be surprised how much they stick with you throughout the day.
I’ve found people are often intimidated by meditation at first. It doesn’t have to be that way if you keep it simple.
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, set your timer for three minutes, and take a few very deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then continue to breathe naturally through your nose. Close your eyes and focus on your breath coming in and out. Your mind will start to wander to thoughts about your day, so just imagine yourself seeing those thoughts and gently moving them to the back of your mind. Focus again on your breath. Continue this until the timer goes off.
Practice this meditation each day, and gradually increase the amount of time as you get more comfortable with it.
When you’re self-employed, self-care is your anchor. Regularly making time to work on yourself is an investment in the betterment of all areas of your life, including the health of your business. Be patient with yourself and appreciate yourself for taking this important time for self-care. You deserve it.
Lauren Stewart of Plant Your Peace is a health and wellness copywriter, plant-based blogger, and coach devoted to helping others improve their health and heal emotional concerns through natural self-care and mindfulness practices. Her mission is to bring more compassion into the world, especially in the way we treat ourselves. Improve your own self-care by signing up for her 8-Day Self-Care Challenge!