If you’re running your own business, your health and self-care might be low on your list of priorities. There’s so much to get done and so much responsibility on your shoulders! Who has time for self-care for entrepreneurs?
Don’t be tempted to put self-care on the backburner! Self-care for entrepreneurs is an essential part of running a successful venture. You don’t need that much time to fit in a little every day.
Read on for our top nine self-care tips for entrepreneurs. Pick your favorites and start giving yourself a little more love today!
What is self-care?
Self-care is more than just winding down with a bubble bath and a glass of wine after a long week (although there’s a place for that in self-care, too). It’s really any activity that you do to take care of your mental, emotional, or physical health.
Which means, it is different for everyone. The one unifier is that everyone, entrepreneurs included, needs self-care. It’s not just something frivolous to do if you have time – self-care is a key to your overall health.
In fact, self-care is so vital to health that the World Health Organization (WHO) has its own definition of it, and encourages the use of self-care interventions to improve the well-being of individuals and communities.
The WHO defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker.”
Is self-care for entrepreneurs different from self-care for everyone else?
So what does that mean for entrepreneurs? Is self-care for entrepreneurs somehow different from self-care for everyone else?
For the most part, no, it’s the same. However, entrepreneurs are different from the rest of us in a few key ways, and that affects how they practice self-care.
First of all, many entrepreneurs fall prey to hustle culture. They are more likely than others to forgo sleep, forget about exercise, and throw most healthy habits out the window in pursuit of building their business. When they stop taking care of themselves, self-care becomes even more important and, sometimes, more elusive.
Second, many entrepreneurs find sitting still to be almost impossible. They don’t find traditional relaxation activities to be very relaxing at all! Self-care suggestions like taking a nap or going for a walk might not sound appealing to someone who would rather always be on the move.
The good thing is, self-care doesn’t have to be “relaxing.” There are many ways to practice self-care that entrepreneurs, or anyone with an active mind and body, can practice, that don’t involve sitting quietly. Things like dancing or playing with a pet can also be restful forms of self-care.
Why entrepreneur self-care is so important
If you’re starting a business from scratch or already have a well-established one, you know that your business can be all-consuming.
It can seem like work is never-ending and that the more you work, the more successful your venture will be. That’s not necessarily true, though. Everyone, even entrepreneurs, needs self-care. Here are some of the benefits of self-care for entrepreneurs:
1. Increases productivity
Think you have to always be working to be productive? Think again. Does taking time away from work sound counter-intuitive? Well, it’s not.
Making time for self-care actually increases your productivity. That’s because taking care of yourself has been shown to increase your ability to function and be more productive when you are at work. More productivity leads to more business growth, and what entrepreneur doesn’t want that?
2. Self-care for entrepreneurs reduces stress
A lot is on your shoulders as an entrepreneur. You have more responsibilities, more things to manage, and a million things going on at once. And that often equals more stress.
Self-care is a key tool in managing stress as an entrepreneur. It can help make you a better employer and show up more fully for your employees and customers.
3. Opens up the space for more creative thinking
Most entrepreneurs are, by nature, creative people. In order to think up a new business concept or start something on your own, you have to have a creative spark. Creativity remains an important skill when building a business.
But, when you are so busy you don’t have enough time to think, you can end up losing the space for creative thinking. Self-care and taking time for yourself can help open up the space for more creative thinking and get those juices flowing for new ideas.
4. Helps prevent burnout
Lastly, entrepreneurs are highly susceptible to burnout. You can quickly go from working 24/7 on your business, totally ignoring self-care, to crashing and burning out.
Self-care can help remind you to take time away from work and focus on yourself so that you don’t burn out before you’ve even gotten the chance to get your big idea out in the world.
Entrepreneur self-care – how to make time for it?
If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you are really, really busy. Entrepreneur life is not for the faint of heart! Even if you understand the importance of rest and recharging, it can be difficult to fit it all in, and self-care can slip to the backburner.
To fix that, here are some ways to make time for entrepreneur self-care:
Sometimes, it can seem like there’s hardly time to get done what’s on your schedule, let alone other seemingly less important things.
But this just shows how essential it is to put self-care right into your calendar. Because when you put something in writing and on your calendar, you are more likely to stick to it.
What kind of self-care can you add to your calendar? It doesn’t have to be an hour at the gym or an evening spent alone. You could reserve ten minutes each morning for drinking your coffee and doing a crossword puzzle, or walking around the block at lunchtime in between zoom calls.
Things that might seem silly to add to your schedule are just as important as meetings with investors or customers.
Do it first thing in the day
Adding self-care to your morning routine (or creating one if you don’t have one yet!) is an ideal way to ensure you incorporate it into your day.
Entrepreneurs are probably familiar with the concept of “eating the frog.” It’s a productivity hack that encourages you to get your most important task done first thing in the day so you don't procrastinate by doing unimportant things.
What could be more important than self-care? Why not start putting yourself and your well-being first and start your day with self-care?
Have a list of self-care go-to's
When you do find yourself with time for self-care, do you even know what to do? What helps you relax and recharge? What is restful?
Self-care is different for everyone. What recharges someone might burn another person out. That’s why you need to experiment a little and learn what self-care means for you.
Once you’ve tried various things, you’ll understand what works for you. The list below will give you a great start, but use your imagination, experiment and have fun with it!
Then, when you’ve come up with a few things that work for you, write them down. Keep adding to your list as you find more things that refuel you. This will turn into your ultimate self-care list that you can turn to whenever you have time and need to recharge.
Self-care for entrepreneurs: 9 tips to try
Are you ready to dive into some entrepreneur self-care? Remember, self-care for entrepreneurs looks different for everyone, but here are our favorite nine ways to try it:
It’s not a secret that moving your body is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and improve your overall health. It’s one of the simplest forms of self-care but tops the list because it’s also one of the best.
2. Listen to a podcast that has nothing to do with work
Entrepreneurs are notorious for trying to squeeze in work at all times. Instead of popping on your headphones and listening to a business podcast, try choosing something totally unrelated to your work.
A comedy show, a reality TV recap, true crime – whatever helps clear your mind and take you out of the work zone counts!
3. Do something creative
Give yourself a break from thinking about work and try getting a little creative again. Start a new hobby and treat yourself to doing something fun and creative.
You never know; giving yourself the space to do something creative and letting your mind wander might just open up the space for your next great business idea!
4. Meditation as a form of self-care for entrepreneurs
It’s hard to wind down when you’re always on the go. An entrepreneur’s mind is almost always on, and that can get tiring. If you’re looking to give yourself a break and relax, meditation is one of the most beneficial self-care practices for calming your mind and entire body.
5. Declutter your workspace
Take a look around your office. Is your space full of clutter and distractions? That can lead to a jumbled mind and can add to your stress.
Take an afternoon to declutter your workspace. Not only is the act of decluttering itself calming, but you’ll also get to enjoy your newly cleared out space, which is an ongoing form of self-care!
6. Outsource personal tasks
As an entrepreneur, you understand delegating tasks at work. This is true for personal tasks, too. It's good to ask for help when needed and to outsource tasks to others.
Do you spend all of your free time running errands and cleaning your house? If so, consider outsourcing some of that. By paying a small price, you’ll free up your time so you can spend it on self-care!
7. Go to a coworking space
Lots of entrepreneurs work from home in less than ideal work environments. If that’s you, consider splurging on a workspace that is more conducive to getting your work done effectively and efficiently.
A coworking space (or perhaps a coffee shop) is a great way to get out of your own home and into a space better suited for your needs.
Treating yourself to a real office space, with coffee and snacks, is a form of self-care for entrepreneurs that can help you focus on your business.
8. Schedule a vacation
Just because you don’t have an official vacation policy like you would working a 9-5, doesn’t mean you don’t need to take some time off.
Schedule a vacation, even if it’s just a quick getaway. You’ll return to work recharged, refreshed, and ready to get back to it.
Last of all, one of the most overlooked entrepreneur self-care tips is to get enough sleep. It sounds simple, but it’s uncommon for busy entrepreneurs to get enough sleep. Sleep is the foundation of it all.
If you take one self-care tip away from this article, it’s to put away your work and log some more sleep. Your work will still be there in the morning, but your business will suffer if you’re not well-rested.
Self-care for entrepreneurs is a key aspect of a successful business
There you have it, self-care for entrepreneurs in a nutshell. For all of the entrepreneurs and side hustlers out there, remember that taking time for yourself doesn’t mean you’re taking time away from your business.
Practicing self-care only improves your ability to succeed in business, so be sure to fit it into your jam-packed schedule.
Clever Girl Finance is an amazing resource for entrepreneurs or anyone who's busy with their career. Check out our articles about how to start a business as well as how to choose the right job!