Making Self-Care a Priority
Self-care. It's a popular term right now, but how many business owners are actually practicing it?
I was the absolute worst at practicing self-care in the first three years of my business, but now that I have an important excuse to slow down (baby on the way), it's becoming more of a priority.
For me, self-care comes in many different forms. It's mental, physical and spiritual. When I first started implementing self-care practices, it was in small doses like an afternoon mani/pedi or taking time to go to lunch instead of eating at my office desk. Little things that did help me feel better, but didn't really move the needle in a big way. What I learned is, that when you only take care of yourself on occasion instead of regularly, you will be more prone to burnout.
How to make time for self-care as a business owner
Now, self-care has taken on a whole new meaning. I am learning to work smarter, not harder. And the best way I have made this switch is by implementing "batch working" in my monthly schedule - meaning I will focus on one task at a time and do only that assignment until it's complete for the month. For example, setting aside 2-3 days within one week of the month to just to focus on photo shoots instead of attempting to create content in small spurts throughout the month. Another example, only scheduling meetings or consultations on a specific day of the week (for me, that is often on Wednesday's). And another idea to keep it going, setting aside one day each month to focus solely on business needs - i.e. taxes, billing, and financials.
When you are working efficiently, it frees up more time in your schedule to make room for self-care.
Part of the issue in me not creating self-care practices previously was that I was working non-stop. I was not working efficiently and therefore, didn't have a spare second to take care of myself. Trust me, burnout is REAL and not a pretty look.
While an afternoon mani/pedi or lunch away from your desk is always nice, that doesn't really help you in the long run. Self-care has to become a routine. Something that is practiced regularly and integrates the things that help you feel your best inside and out.
For me, self-care includes a mix of alone time - a.k.a. a night with no meetings, events or places to be - and having the chance to disconnect. It's also part physical. Like, setting aside time for weekly workouts, doing things that make me feel good and maintain my physical appearance, and things that relax my body - like taking a hot bath or going on a walk outside. Emotionally, it's making room for relationships and friendships. It's having meaningful conversations not connected to technology and getting outside of my circle to meet other inspiring individuals. Spiritually is the area I am just starting on. Right now, it means short meditations, listening to podcasts that open up my eyes and expand my thoughts and embracing moments that allow for deeper meaning.
As I said, self-care is always evolving. But the most important thing is having my schedule to stay on track. For example, Monday night is my chill night at home. It's a night to cook dinner, watch a TV show that doesn't necessarily force me to think (i.e. The Bachelor) and spend time alone. Friday afternoons are when I schedule time for physical self-care, whether it be a massage, blowout or just blowing off steam in a workout class. Having regular routines (some weekly, others monthly or bi-monthly for more special occasions) makes practicing self-care easier.
A few self-care examples:
Take a nap (sometimes you just need rest)
Move your body (walk outside or fitness class)
Do something creative & not work related
Get pampered (mani, pedi, massage - yes)
Catch up with a new or old friend
Go to a place you’ve been wanting to visit
Read a book or write a blog post
Get outside & just be in nature
How do you practice self-care?