When you launch your business the first things you focus on are usually creating your brand, building your website, and getting your first clients. But there’s one thing that’s more important than all the designing, marketing and networking, and that’s making sure you practice good self care every day.
Setting up some healthy habits from the start can stop you feeling burned out further down the line. Here are some suggestions to help you stay sane and navigate even the most stressful of days!
1. Get A Business Buddy
Last week I met up with my biz bestie (Judy Heminslea of All Things Bright & Good). We started with a catchup over a brown bag lunch, then headed out for a walk while we brainstormed our business ideas and discussed our challenges, progress and profits.
Judy is fortunate to live in part of a converted mill surrounded by rolling Somerset countryside, so we strolled through shady woodland carpeted in wild garlic before heading out into open fields where we had views for miles. Feeling rather virtuous and full of fresh air we then headed back to base for tea and cake.
Getting outside is the perfect way to recharge, re-energise and reconnect in a world that is so often based on virtual connections. Regular get-togethers have become an essential part of business for both of us, an opportunity to discuss ideas, get some feedback and offload any frustrations we’re having, usually with technology!
So I’d highly recommend it – even if you don’t have a business buddy with handy access to rural bliss you can meet for a coffee and a walk around your local park. There’s something about getting away from your desk while still being in work mode that really helps to broaden perspective and generate more creative ideas.
2. Stick to A Schedule
People often start a business to achieve a better work/life balance or manage family responsibilities, only to find themselves constantly in ‘work mode’, checking social media and email messages at all hours and feeling exhausted and overwhelmed
It’s important to create a regular routine, even if you need to maintain a flexible schedule. Our brains love familiarity and habit, so a little ritual at the start of your working day can help you focus on your to-do list instead of getting distracted with the ‘busy work’ that somehow seems to eat into your day but never moves your business forward.
A cup of coffee in your favourite mug, playing some upbeat music or listening to some affirmations can act as a clear signal to your brain that you’re crossing from ‘domestic’ to ‘work’, even if all you’ve done is clear the breakfast things from the kitchen table to make room for your laptop.
It’s also important to have a stopping time and a ritual to end your working day. Schedule ten or 15 minutes to review what you’ve achieved and make a few notes so that it’s easy to pick up later in the evening or the following day. Then down tools and switch off to give yourself a break.
Writing down three things you’ve achieved today might sound simple, but your list will quickly start to grow and you’ll have a clear idea of your progress over time. Being able to reflect back on how far you’ve come can really boost your mood and confidence on days when you’re flagging or feeling like progress has stalled.
3. Don’t forget to have fun
As well as having a regular routine with clear starting and finishing times, it’s also important to step away from the keyboard and spend time having fun with family and friends.
When you first start out you’ll probably be doing everything yourself – not just delivering your product or service but also managing your own marketing, book-keeping, website maintenance, blogging and social media.
As your business grows and develops you’ll be able to build a support team to share some of these tasks. But whether you’re a team of one or a team of ten, self care is still an essential for any business owner.
So look for ways to get more bang for your buck from your down time. Book a couples aromatherapy massage for date night with your partner, take your kids for a bike ride in the park instead of scheduling a trip to the gym, or batch cook meals for the freezer that give you a few no-prep suppers during a busy week.
4. Sleep – the ultimate self care!
Look for ways to make self care easy. I recently came across the quote above and it’s a habit that is definitely making a difference to my productivity! If you’re burning the candle at both ends, aim for at least one early night in the middle of the week. I promise you’ll feel better for a couple of extra hours sleep and will be firing on all cylinders the next day!