When going out to start a business most of your head space is taken up with how much epic you can give to the world and how much you love what you do. So much so that it’s common to forget about what your business is giving to you in return and why you went out to start a business in the first place. Many entrepreneurs and business owners dream of living ‘the life’, when, in reality, they are busy, overworked and sometimes consumed by their business to the point where they forget about how important taking care of themselves is.
I am often asked the question, “if you love what you do, is work/life balance necessary?”
The answer is yes – self-care is not only necessary, it’s mandato ry and n ot at all selfish.
I know all too well, the tendency of entrepreneurs, and particularly women, to take care of themselves last. They also know first-hand how not taking time to re-fill the tank can result in many health complications from burning the candle at both ends. What they want other entrepreneurs out there to understand is that there is a difference between passion and stresss – hard work is necessary in business, however not when it’s to the point of being counterproductive.
I believe it’s crucial to implement self-care as part of your daily routine, I like to set the habit of “self-care Sundays” and have made this a key part of my business operations. Sunday’s are a great day to do it because most people are ‘rancho relaxo’ on this day, which means there’s less business demands to contend with, however any day of the week is fine as suits.
What is self-care? People often associa te self- care with grandiose retreats. While these are definitely on everyone’s wish list and a great way to recharge your batteries, there are smaller scale daily or weekly self-care measures that you can implement to help you get through. This could be everything from taking the afternoon off to watch your favourite TV show, through to treating yourself to KFC, getting a massage, manicure or pedicure, spending time with a loved one, reading a good book, going for a bike ride or having a hot bath. The activity doesn’t matter as much – the key is that you enjoy it and it gives you down time to refresh.
Why is this crucially important on so many levels? Here are some reasons:
Burn out – One of the most obvious reasons as to why we should take the time out for ourselves especially on a Sunday is to avoid burn out. After all, we are human and we need time to re-fill our tank. Being in business, we want to serve our clients to the best of our abili ty. How can we expect to give the best of ourselves to others when we are running on empty? Believe us when we say some of the worst decisions can be made during periods of burn out. Taking time for yourself is not only vital for you, but also for your clients.
Less the stress – Spending time doing the things you love not only makes you happy but you will feel so much better on and physical, mental and emotional level. Self-care Sundays reduces the negative effects stress can have on the body. It keeps you healthier, burns off energy and reduces cortisol levels. Going to your favourite beach, spending time with loved ones or treating yourself to a nice meal can make the world of difference.
Eye on the prize – Taking some time out to relax not only makes you feel better but will help you and your business in the long run. Giving your mind and body a break helps you refocus and will help you to maintain better productivity once you return back to your work. Giving yourself a break is not the reward, it’s part of the process of being a good entrepreneur and having a steady balance. Some of the business real girls best ideas have occurred while enjoying self-care!
Happy life, healthy life – It’s all about balance. No one wants to end up working 24/7 and feeling resentment for their business. Giving yourself the opportunity to enjoy your business and your life is paramount. Health and happiness go hand in hand – living a happy, healthy lifestyle will help you to be more positive, focused and motivated to take on all the challenges and opportunities that come your way.
When you give your mind, body and spirit the best chance to flourish, you, in turn, help your business to flourish. It’s a win-win situation.