SELF-CARE FOR ENTREPRENEURS (AND OTHER BUSY PEOPLE)
Today's post is a little bit different - we're going to leave the tips and tricks for getting your small business message across and focus on you for a minute. Because, as it turns out, we're also small business owners (like you) and (like you) we have a lot of challenges that are unrelated to business. In fact, (probably...like you!), work challenges are often the easiest to navigate.
When you're running a business of any size, there are a lot of demands on your time. While lots of people will envy the flexibility you have (and rightly so!) in "not answering to a boss," you're still answering to someone in order to keep your business afloat. And when you can (theoretically) take a vacation at any time, this vacation can also be interrupted at any time as you remain just a little bit plugged in to be sure everything's running smoothly.
All this is to say, that it can sometimes be tough to take care of yourself when you're running a business. And (like you!) we are more than just business owners. We're moms, spouses, friends, we have hobbies and interests and other things that take up our time. But after getting sick a couple of times this winter, I personally made a resolution to take better care of myself. With two small kids and a company and clients to take care of, it wasn't like I was making weekly spa appointments. But, I was able to implement a few small changes - and I feel better already! Thought it was worth sharing them today because these are small steps any business owner (or busy person in general!) can take that aren't going to put a big dent in your time or budget but will give you a big boost on how you feel.
I know, it's so obvious it shouldn't even be on this list. Except it's not. I found myself running around downing coffee, handing over my cups of water to my kids and never refilling for myself - you know the drill. So I did two things: (1) I bought a really pretty and (this is key!) easy to clean water bottle that I keep filled at all times, and (2) I went out and stocked up on seltzer and herbal teas. Because even when I don't feel like drinking straight water, I almost always am up for one of these. I try to have something hydrating with me at all times, and I feel 100% better throughout the day.
Building a Library of 30-Minute, At-Home Workouts
Like many people, I feel a ton better when I move. Winters in New England are way too cold to get a walk or even a run in (for me, anyways!) and I hate wasting time driving to and from the gym. I also like to work out at about 5 am, before the day gets ahead of me. So I've built a great library of workouts that are about 30 minutes or so, suit a variety of my moods and can be done in my living room. These range from tabata, AMRAP and bodyweight workouts that I have bookmarked on my browser to a Daily Burn subscription to T25 DVDs. I pick my workout the night before, lay out workout clothes and just get it done with the alarm goes off.
Taking Care of My Skin
Maybe it's winter, maybe it's age - but I think all of us have times when our skin does not look so great. I was stumbling into bed after using a makeup wipe every night and it just wasn't cutting it. Like many things, accessibility was key here, so I added super hydrating lip balms to the pocket of all my jackets, put a night cream that had been sitting in the drawer on top of the counter, and started doing a skin regimen right after the kids went to bed (ensuring that it didn't get tossed aside at 11 pm when I was too tired).
Everyone's outsourcing needs are different, whether they are business or personal related. House cleaners, babysitters, landscapers, freelancers, virtual assistants - they're all options. I made a list of the things that were my biggest time sucks AND that I disliked doing and figured out ways to outsource those. It's removed stressed and freed up time for what I want (or need) to get done each week.
Cutting Down on Evening Work Time
We all do it. Every single one of us sits in front of that episode of Scandal answering emails or building spreadsheets or invoicing. Personally, I then find I have no idea what happened on Scandal, or what my husband just asked me... and also my eyes are burning from too much computer time. So I reworked my week with the goal of only working more than 30 minutes at night once or twice a week. (I found that cutting myself off completely was actually stressful, so a quick email check-in and list for the following day is the routine most nights.)
Giving Up the Guilt
My kids did not have handmade Valentine's Day cards. Sometimes on Saturday I need to go to Starbucks to concentrate on work for two hours instead of to the bouncy house place. Sometimes I have to take a day off because I (or someone else) is sick or because Disney on Ice is in town. All of these might have sent me into a guilt spiral a month ago, but as it turns out, waking up every day and taking the best care you can of your family and your clients means everyone is happy with you, whether there's glitter on the Valentine's Day cards or you bought them at Walgreens.
Writing All This Down
Probably the most important component of sticking to this for the past month or so has been writing all of this down for myself and checking in with myself frequently to make sure I'm actually doing it. It's not perfect, it's not 100%, but it's a lot better than forgetting to take care of yourself when you get too busy, and it's simple to do.