When you’re running your own business, the line between work and play often gets blurred. You started your business from the ground up—it’s your baby. And because of how important it is to you, it’s so easy to pour everything you have into it—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Before you know it, you’re teetering on the edge of burn out. And once you find yourself at this point, trust me, it’s harder to take a step back and remind yourself how much you love what you do.
As you try to claw yourself out of this hole and try to get back in the game, it’s very likely that the skills and expertise that helped you grow your business, to begin with, will be in short supply. You’re tired and unfocused. And your brewing disinterest in hustling will inevitably cause your business to suffer.
This was the realization that became the huge turning point in my self-care journey—and why I’m a firm believer that prevention is always better than cure.
For a lot of entrepreneurs, prevention from burn-out comes in the form of self-care. But I want to stress this very important fact: self-care is more than just “taking a break.” There is no universally prescribed regimen that defines self-care. What works for one person and rejuvenates them may not necessarily work its magic on another. Taking a break from work is certainly a part of it, but if you run your own business, it’s not sustainable. You can’t be on vacation every other week for mental health. But you do have to find ways to manage stress, eat better, exercise, unwind, balance work and play—and find a combination of all these that will work for as long as you’re in business.
All that said, what do I hope you take away from all this? Put yourself first. Self-care is any decision or act where you consciously choose to do what you want without compromise—even your business. I know that’s going to be hard and based on my own experience, you’ll probably resist it at first. Choosing yourself and taking time out to do so isn’t necessarily celebrated in most work cultures, but it opens up so many more opportunities for growth.
In my case, I focused on building my non-negotiable morning routine where I essentially unplug from everything. Just a few hours out of the day where I’m not anxious about who’s calling, where I’m not worried about the emails I have to send, where I’m not constantly rushing to meet deadlines. It was just me—and understanding what I truly needed to focus and succeed. This led me to realize other essentials that my body needed—better sleep and time to rest, for example. Personal development through reading and learning was another. And a real tangible balance between my professional and personal life became evident.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to keep our customers and clients happy. We go out of our way to answer emails on time, return calls ASAP, finish paperwork and deliver our reports. You just have to remember that to get all these done, you have to be healthy as well. So, find the time to think about yourself and recharge—so you not only get the job done, you get the job done right.