Working for yourself is incredibly rewarding. You’re in the driver’s seat, and you get to pick the best path for yourself. But entrepreneurship comes with huge challenges. You may not report to a boss, but the market becomes your boss — and it’s a tough one. Understanding your chosen market and working to satisfy it can become an all-consuming task. Before you know it, you are working nonstop, never taking a break, whether mentally, physically, or emotionally.
Fortunately, there are several ways that entrepreneurs can practice self-care. With a little advice and a little willpower, startup owners can get back into a place of mental, emotional, and physical health — all while growing their business.
1. Take a Day of Rest
This can’t be emphasized enough. If you constantly work seven days a week, it becomes difficult to unplug from the stress of running a business. This leads to a feeling that you can’t escape the pressures that are threatening to destroy your life. Though it seems counter-intuitive, one of the best things you can do is walk away from these pressures for one whole day a week — maybe even two whole days!
A day of rest can look different for different people. Some entrepreneurs may want to stay away from their rented office and spend the day at a park with a loved one. If your office is at home, consider getting away on a day trip with friends or family.
2. Turn Your Phone Off
Though it is difficult, one of the best decisions you can make is to turn your phone off, leave it at home, or at least silence it, and resist the urge to check it for one whole day. Becoming “unreachable” on your day of rest can go a long way toward restoring your mental, emotional, and physical health. If your phone is a source of stress, simply say no to it for a day. The world won’t crumble without you.
3. Discipline Yourself to Separate Work From Personal Life
Professionals are often advised to “leave work at work.” Entrepreneurs need this advice even more. Since you are in the driver’s seat and controlling the direction of the business, your stresses are probably even greater than those of your employees (if you have any). Though you should give your business 110 percent every minute of the work day, it’s important to set boundaries and keep your business firmly out of your personal life.
What does this mean? It will look different in every situation. It could mean not taking that business phone call while you’re on a date. It could mean leaving your phone, computer, and other devices in the office while you play with your child. Whatever it is, you need to create clear boundaries between your personal life and your business life.
4. Set Aside Time for Physical Activity
Today’s entrepreneur is dependent on many digital technologies to build a business. That means long hours spent in front of a computer (or using a tablet or mobile device). Human beings were not designed to be sedentary. While it is okay to sit for short periods of time, it is much healthier to remain active.
Physical activity can be a great stress reliever for entrepreneurs. There are many forms which this activity can take, depending on preferences. You can join the local gym to lift weights and run on the treadmill. You can swim at the local pool. Bike rides are especially good for your cardiovascular health, especially if you push yourself. Even a hike in the woods with your significant other provides good exercise.
Whatever it is, you need to remain active. Get out of the office, and work up a sweat!
5. Set Your Priorities
This may be difficult to hear, but ultimately, your health is more important than your business. What good is it if you build a successful company but find yourself crippled with anxiety and health problems? Your quality of life will go down, and there are no prizes for making yourself sick. It’s very easy to pursue monetary success above everything else, but that may not lead to happiness.
Rather, you should take a balanced approach. Recognize when it’s time to work hard and build your company, and recognize when you need to unplug and recharge. Put your family ahead of business. You will find yourself healthier and, amazingly, more energized to run your business well.