When you own a business, life can get hectic fast. You wear so many different hats - accountant, manager, designer, CEO, and more - and it can get hard to remember who you are outside of work.
It’s great to be passionate about a business venture. But when you own and operate a business, it’s more important than ever to take time out to practice self-care. Without self-care, you’re on the road to burnout. You don’t need to choose between self-care and running a business; practicing self-care, if done effectively, will help your business to flourish and prosper.
Here are 5 ways you can take care of yourself in effective ways as a business owner.
Learn to Delegate
One of the most important ways you can take care of yourself as a business owner is by learning how to delegate tasks. When you’re the boss, especially of a business you created, it can be so hard to let go and allow other people to take things off your plate.
They won’t do it as well as I can, you might think to yourself. Or, I don’t want to bother anyone. I’ll just do it myself.
While it’s admirable that you are willing to be so hands-on with your business, the problem with this type of thinking is that it’s not sustainable. As your business grows, there will be more and more tasks to take care of -- and at some point, you won’t be able to do it all yourself.
What business tasks can you delegate to other people, and how can you make that possible? Do you already have a staff you can delegate tasks to, or can you work on budgeting for a freelancer? When you free up your time from the more tedious parts of your business, you’re more available to spend time creating and innovating.
Related Download: Life Balance Workbook
Take Small Breaks
This is a tip that would benefit us whether we’re business owners or we’re employees. Yes, when you own a business, your to-do list is never fully complete. But productivity slows down after a while -- none of us can be at 100% capacity 100% of the time.
Instead of trying to power through your whole workday to get as much done as possible, schedule in small breaks when you can to be as productive and energized as possible. When you schedule breaks for yourself will depend on what works for you and your energy levels. Some people may find it helpful to work for several hours, and then take a long break in the middle of the day. Others may like to take a 10 minute break every hour.
However you do it, make sure to use your breaktime in a way that feels nourishing to you. It’s easy to slip into escapism when you’re exhausted - using all your free time to scroll through social media, for example - but try to use your leisure time as intentionally as possible. Take a walk and get some sunshine. Call a supportive friend. Take a nap.
This way, you can take care of yourself and make sure that when you are working, you are well-rested and productive.
One of the most stressful things about owning a business is that you feel like you have to be available all the time. Clients need you at their beck and call, and you might be afraid that if you turn off your phone, you’ll miss out on an important order. This leads to the cycle of checking your email first thing in the morning and last thing before going to sleep at night.
But having clear limits and boundaries is an excellent way you can take care of yourself and make sure that you don’t burn out on the road of entrepreneurship. Stores have opening hours; dentists only take appointments at certain times; you can also set clear limits between “work time” and “leisure time”.
What are your office hours? If you had a choice, when would you arrive at “the office” in the morning and when would you leave? Set these hours according to when you feel the most alert and productive. If you’re not a morning person, for example, don’t feel like you need to be available and responding to emails at 8 A.M.
There are easy ways you can communicate your office hours to your customers and clients. Including it in your email signature, putting it on your website, and communicating it directly to your clients (especially those who continuously expect quick responses outside of your working hours) are all great ideas.
Seek a Community
Being a business owner can be a lonely experience. Unlike being an employee at a company, there’s no one to chat with at the water cooler; no one to go out to happy hour with. Whether you own a large business with several employees working under you or a one-woman-show, there’s no denying that being a business owner is sometimes isolating.
That’s why it’s critical for your self-care as a business owner to seek a community. Try to have at least some people in your life who can relate to your struggles as a business owner. You can meet like-minded entrepreneurs at coworking spaces, local networking events, and even on social media. But a community can also be unrelated to work whatsoever. You can join a local meditation group, bowling league, or dance team - whatever floats your boat!
No matter how introverted you are, all humans need other humans. By being connected to a community of people that supports and uplifts one another, you’ll make sure to always have others to share your business’ trials and triumphs with. You and your community can exchange business tips and lean on each other during the rough patches.
Self-Care for Business Owners Is Critical
No matter how big, small, new, or established your business is, as the person who leads it, you need to practice self-care. If you burn out, then your business will fizzle out along with you. Practicing self-care doesn’t need to mean that you’re prioritizing yourself over your business; it means that you’re prioritizing the success of both.