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Self-Care for Small Business Owners

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Stephanie Davis

Self-care is a topic that is talked about frequently. With increasing stressors, such as struggling to find work/life balance, the negativity that lurks on the news and social media, and just day-to-day stressors, people have been looking for more ways to relax and escape from the negativity. 

As a small business owner, you likely know a thing or two about stress, burning the candle at both ends, and trying to keep your business, and life, on track. Since your business can’t run as efficiently without you there, it’s crucial to make sure you’re setting aside some time for yourself to recharge.  

Breaking Down Self-Care

Simply put, self-care is the act of taking care of yourself. Often times, self-care is associated with spa-like activities, such as massages, face mask, and bath bombs, or staying in to binge your favorite tv show. However, self-care is more than that – it’s about doing what you need to in order to stay healthy, happy, and less stressed. When it comes to running your business, there are some basic life needs you need to look at as self-care:

  • Get your zzz’s in. The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults need 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. However, these are numbers that some people rarely hit. You may feel like you need to be burning the midnight oil all the time to effectively run your business, but you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised to see how much better you feel on regular, high-quality sleep.
  • Don’t forget to eat. If you’re one of those people who ever says “I was so busy I forgot to eat” you’ll want to pay attention to this. Depending on the type of work you do, it may be challenging to fit in full meals every day, but that doesn’t mean you can go without entirely. Perhaps meal prepping gets involved in your weekly lineup, or you stock your office with high-quality snacks or ingredients for quick meals. In addition to eating, make sure you’re staying hydrated all day. Lack of eating and dehydration can lead to sluggish energy levels, lower brain performance, and even fainting, which are all things you don’t ever want to deal with, especially when trying to run a business.
  • Get moving. As a small business owner, we know it can be hard to fit in a workout on top of everything else you’re doing. But just spending a few minutes movement, can release endorphins and make you feel better and less stressed. Many look at as exercise as a chore, instead of focusing on the positive benefits and realizing that exercise is meant to keep you healthy. Perhaps you invest in a standing or treadmill desk or commit to going on a team walk with your employees once a day.

Add On Some Extras

A common phrase surrounding self-care is “treat yourself”. In addition to staying healthy, self-care is also about making time for the things you enjoy and recharging your batteries in a way that makes you happy. However, because of this “treat yourself” mentality, some people think that they can’t afford self-care and are even more likely to remove it from their to-do lists. Self-care is much simpler than we think and can be accomplished in ways such as:

  • Lighting a cozy candle
  • Listening to music
  • Take yourself out to eat
  • Clean and organize
  • Laugh
  • Call a friend or family member

Psychology Today breaks down self-care into seven different types with suggestions for each, in case you find yourself looking for a little more inspiration.

How Do You Apply Self-Care to Your Job?

While you can’t be working on your golf swing all the time when you’re trying to run your business or bingeing your favorite show while you work, you can find ways to incorporate self-care while working. Some ideas:

  • Take breaks. Use these to go for a walk, enjoy a cup of coffee in peace, or spend a few minutes meditating. If you spend all day at a computer, make sure you’re adopting the 20/20/20 rule from the American Optometric Association: take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes, and look at something 20 feet away.
  • Delegate. If you have employees and can delegate some of your tasks, you definitely should be. You don’t have to do all of the work all the time, so be sure to ask for help.
  • Breathe. Just taking a minute to breathe when you’re overwhelmed and stressed is a great idea. Take a few minutes to focus on your breathing and you’ll likely be surprised how calm and prepared you feel to tackle your task. If you are the owner of an Apple iWatch, there is a breathing app that will remind you to spend a few minutes each day focusing on taking deep breaths. For those without a watch, there are plenty of free apps that you can download to help with this goal.
  • Stay organized. Keeping things organized is surprisingly an act of self-care. How often do you get flustered when you can’t find what you want, especially when you need it ASAP? By sticking to an organization system, you’ll be ready whenever you need something.
  • Give yourself a break. Don’t worry, this isn’t a duplicate of our first bullet. In life, we tend to be our own worst critic, which is stressful. We tend to say such negative things to ourselves, put extra stress and pressure on our shoulders when it’s not necessary. It’s time to change this and find ways to be a bit kinder to yourself. Acknowledge that you don’t have to be the best, and if you have a bad day, you aren’t a bad person or bad business owner. Treat yourself the way you would a friend, and be kind.

Bottom Line

Self-care is a trend worth getting behind. As you can see, it’s not all face masks and Netflix binges. It’s about truly taking care of yourself to be the best version of yourself as possible. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to take care of yourself, we wrote an article with tips to achieving holistic health in terms of being physically, mentally and financially healthy. Remember, self-care is not selfish. Taking care of yourself is necessary to thrive as a small business owner, so don’t feel bad about taking a few minutes to focus on your needs.

Do you have a self-care routine you turn to? Share with us by tweeting @SurePayroll.

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