How to Prioritize Self-Care as a Small Business Owner
Self-Care Tips for Business Owners
As a busy small business owner, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of running your business and working in your business. Between managing employees, handling finances, managing social media, updating your website, and keeping up with customer demands, it can be difficult to find time for yourself— which is probably one of the top reasons why you started your business in the first place if I had to guess. However, prioritizing self-care is crucial for maintaining your physical and mental well-being, and ultimately, your business's success.
In honor of May being Mental Health Month, I wanted to share a few ways and ideas that you can implement in order to start prioritizing self-care as a busy small business owner. Here are some tips!
Schedule Time for Yourself
Just as you would schedule a meeting with a client or a deadline for a project, schedule time for yourself. Whether it's a 30-minute yoga session in the morning, a lunch break to read a book, or taking an evening walk, make sure you carve out time in your schedule for activities that bring you joy and help you relax.
If you have a particularly hard time making time for things like this, I highly recommend adding it to your calendar, as if it were an important meeting with a client. When you block off time for yourself, it’s a little bit easier, I think, to ‘justify’ taking time for yourself, because it’s kind of like, “Well, is is in my calendar, and I have nothing else planned at that time, so I might as well use it to do something for myself.”
As a small business owner, it's easy to fall into the trap of doing everything yourself. However, outsourcing certain tasks can free up time for you to focus on self-care. Consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle administrative tasks, outsourcing your social media management to a freelancer, or website maintenance to a web designer, and the list goes on. This will give you more time to focus on the aspects of your business that you enjoy and that align with your strengths.
I highly recommend writing down a list of all the ‘jobs’ and tasks that you do yourself in your business. Take note of the ones that take you the most time, that you expend the most energy on. Take note of the tasks and jobs that you love doing and are great at in your business that you’d rather be spending your time on. Then, I’d recommend starting with outsourcing those tasks that drain all your time and energy, so you can focus on doing what you love!
It's important to establish boundaries between your work and personal life. This can be difficult as a small business owner, as work can easily bleed into your personal time (speaking from experience, here). However, setting clear boundaries will help you avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Consider setting specific work hours and sticking to them, or designating certain days as "off" days where you don't work at all. If you’re used to working 24/7 like I used to, then this will definitely be difficult to do at first but will be so worth it.
When I plastered my business hours everywhere— my website, my email signature, and occasionally reminding people of them on social media, I started getting fewer requests for client work to be done or requests for meeting outside of those hours. The key to making this work is sticking with it. If you set these office hours and plaster them everywhere, but give in every time anyway, it's not going to help you! You might still get a few requests for things outside if your business hours occasionally, but when if a client starts making a habit out of it, it's okay to send them a firm email reminding them of your business hours.
Prioritize Sleep and Exercise
Sleep and exercise are both crucial for maintaining physical and mental wellness. As a busy small business owner, it can be tempting to sacrifice sleep or exercise in order to get more work done— we've all been there (and more than once!) However, neglecting these areas can ultimately lead to burnout and decreased productivity— and can even manifest itself in physical ailments, too. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night or more if possible, and try to fit in some form of exercise, even if it's just a 20-minute walk during your lunch break, or right before or after work!
If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking some Melatonin or Magnesium an hour or so before bed. (Disclaimer: this is not medical advice, just what has worked for me in the past, and what currently works for me). I used to take Melatonin before bed, but I found that while it made me sleep better throughout the night, it was a lot harder for me to get up— I was groggy, and sometimes slept in too late. But I've been taking one Magnesium about an hour or so before bed, and along with all it's over health benefits, it's helped me relax my mind and body before bed, and get a better night's sleep without feeling groggy the next day!
As far as exercise, you don't have to pay for a gym membership, because we all know they can be pricey! You can start out with home workouts from your phone, or your TV, or go to a local park to get exercise, walk, and jog— or use your neighborhood!
Running a small business can be isolating, but it doesn't have to be. Seek support from friends, family, or other small business owners (I like to call these "business besties"). Join a networking group or attend industry events to connect with others who understand the challenges and stresses of running a small business. Having a support system can help you stay motivated and inspired, and can also provide a valuable outlet for discussing any challenges or stressors you may be experiencing. You can usually get good advice from other business owners who are facing the same challenges, or have overcome those same challenges in the past!
To Sum It All Up
Remember, prioritizing self-care is not selfish; it's a necessary part of maintaining your physical and mental well-being. By taking care of yourself, you'll be better equipped to handle the hurdles that running a small business can throw at you, and ultimately, achieve greater success and happiness in the long run.
Are you a local business owner and wanna get together to grab some coffee or lunch and talk about business ideas, or challenges? I'm always down for that! Reach out via email by tapping the button below!