Running your own business can feel like a Sisyphean task. If you let up for one moment, you're doomed to fall behind. That's why over half of small business owners work at least 9 hours a day, and a good portion of those are also working weekends. Self-care sounds like something for those other guys, the ones who aren't trying to run a business. However, the truth is that you absolutely have to take care of yourself for your business to meet its full potential. Nora Benian shares how.
Why Entrepreneurs Need Self-Care
Self-care is a necessity if you want to avoid burnout. Burnout can happen to any worker, but when you're an entrepreneur there are two primary causative factors. Owning your own business places you under high stress with no time off, and there are huge consequences for failure.
Burnout is more than feeling tired; its symptoms include fatigue but also frustration, lack of hope, even depression and anxiety. According to the World Health Organization, it also results in cynicism about your job and an inability to be productive. It manifests as procrastination, frustration, exhaustion, and forgetfulness. Spending more time on the job can just exacerbate the problem. The only solution is taking care of yourself.
Physical Steps to Self-Care
Self-care means taking care of your physical and emotional needs. One of the best things you can do for yourself physically is exercise regularly. In a recent study at the University of New England, Australia, participants who took part in four weeks of consistent, monitored exercise felt more positive and "less psychological distress, perceived stress, and emotional exhaustion." Yoga is one practice that is known to have both physical and mental benefits.
Another important physical component of self-care is getting enough sleep. A study at the University of Pennsylvania showed that people who only got 4.5 hours of sleep per night experienced increased stress and exhaustion. If you are already experiencing stress because of your business, lack of sleep compounds the issue. It can be difficult to solve because the anxiety of running a business makes it more difficult to sleep even if you have the time. Following the other recommendations here can make sleep more accessible.
Mental Steps to Self-Care
It is also important to support your mental health. Again, yoga combines physical release through movement and deep breathing with mental self-care through the practice of mindfulness. Together, they counteract the stress hormones that contribute to burnout. Other mental exercises include writing a gratitude journal to adjust your perspective and focus on the positive and setting aside screen-free time each day.
Business Steps to Self-Care
You can approach your business from a self-care perspective. Find ways to save time at work so there is time to focus on yourself. These can be basic structural decisions like using a DBA name for your company. When you file a DBA, you may be able to find a domain to market your goods or services even if your main name is unavailable. It also gives you a convenient way to branch out into different product or service offerings.
Other organizational changes include outsourcing jobs that don't add value to your day. Try a virtual receptionist to avoid hours of spam calls. Hire a marketing firm to handle your social media campaigns. Even simple changes like hiring housekeeping for your home or office free up your time.
Burnout is a real concern that hampers your ability to reach your business goals. By practicing self-care through physical activity, mental focus, and better business planning, you ensure your ability to reach for your dreams and enjoy them when you get there. Start with a healing and invigorating yoga therapy session. Reach out to Nora today.