Self-Care For Entrepreneurs
I want to talk more specifically about self-care for certain groups of people, like we did for people with chronic illness. Self-care is a huge aspect of self-love, but one of the hardest elements to implement, and it not only changes from person to person, but from population to population. I spoke about three specific groups of people (empaths, entrepreneurs, and people with depression) in a podcast, and I am now breaking them down into smaller blog posts for you to reference. Of course, feel free to listen to the original podcast as well!
Most of the time the problem is we think we don’t have time. Now, as my friend, Sarah Starrs, aptly pointed out, you don’t have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé does. She has people she can outsource almost everything to. She can get her hair, make-up, and nails done while she catches up on podcasts, books, or shows. She can work on practicing choreography and writing songs while her hired help watches her daughter, goes shopping for groceries, and cleans their house. She has more hands, and therefore more time, than the average person.
Of course everyone has different lives. The amount of “free” time you have available drastically depends on if you have kids (and how many), if you have a full-time job, what your commute is like, if you have more than one job, if you have a significant other, if you’re going to school, etc. etc. But the reality is we make time for the things that we determine are important.
One of my least favorite things is when someone tells me I have too much “free time”. I created my own business and can technically “make” my own hours, I’m not in school, I don’t have a commute, and I definitely don’t have kids. In comparison to someone who does have all those things you’d easily be able to say I have “more free time” than them. Still not quite as much as Beyoncé because let me tell you that building a business and struggling financially for years is fucking hard, but still. I recognize I don’t have to be responsible for another human life or spend two hours in a car every day to get to my job.
However, like I said, we make time for the things we think are important. If you say you don’t have time for your hobbies that’s because you decided something else was more important than them on your priority list. There really are only 24 hours in a day and I’m not denying that. BUT, you absolutely need to decide that self-care needs to be pretty fucking high up on your priority list. That might mean you don’t have as much time to dedicate to #6 on your priority list, but I promise that by making time for self-care you will not only start to feel happier and more relaxed, but you’ll have a clearer head which will make it easier for you to figure out ways to fit more into your life.
When I was working full time and commuting forty miles to college where I took four classes every semester, I still had a boyfriend and friends who I saw. I still started a blog that was able to turn into my new career. I still created guerrilla art because it fed my soul. I had to double up on some things. I worked on my blog during lunch hours, I knitted while I hung out with people or during meetings at work so I could further my yarnbombs along. I did things like that because I knew I didn’t have that many hours that weren’t devoted to structured things like work and school, so I wanted to maximize the way I spent my time to maximize my happiness. If it got to be Saturday and I had no guerrilla art projects to post in the city, I’d be sad. So I knew I needed to make at least a couple hours’ worth of time for that during the work week.
It would make me infuriated when I spent weeks trying to find small chunks of the day to knit giant panels and I finally had enough material to cover a bench or a tree in my handmade knitting and people would scoff and say, “You clearly have too much free time”. I would go off on people and say, “NO! I DON’T, ACTUALLY! I JUST HAVE DIFFERENT PRIORITIES THAN YOU.”
Basically what I’m getting at is self-care is one of the most important things people leave off their priority list and if it’s not on yours then you need to make sure you re-write your list tonight. You might not have as much time after work to yourself as your neighbor or best friend, but you decide how you spend that time and if you prioritize self-care you will watch your world open up even more. It pays for itself ten times over.
Today I want to focus on how to practice self-care for entrepreneurs.
An entrepreneur is just someone who is running their own business, or aspiring to be. We have a great new surplus of entrepreneurs, especially creative ones! The internet has provided so many new opportunities for business models and all of a sudden there are tons of creative entrepreneurs running businesses for the first time all by themselves and are so passionate about it they don’t realize they’ve run themselves into the ground emotionally until it’s too late.
I fall into this group. In fact, right now I’m pretty much in this weird limbo where I have so much work to do because I’ve grown a lot, but I’m not making enough money to outsource it to other people the way I need to in order to be an un-stressed and sane individual. It was easier when I had less followers and clients because there wasn’t as much work, but I wasn’t making as much money. And now I just need to hit a tipping point where I’m comfortable with my consistent income to be able to hire other people.
Lots of people are in this situation. If you’re starting your own business, you have a lot of passion and a lot of balls. You likely know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, but you can’t not do it because you know what your dreams are and you have to go for them now—because if not now, when? And because you’re passionate about your business, you genuinely don’t mind the type of work you’re doing. It’s just that it gets to be SO MUCH so quickly. Remember earlier when I said running your own business isn’t easy? I can’t stress that enough. It’s fucking difficult. And I don’t mean that to deter you from going after your dreams. I say it to alert you that if you’re going on this venture you need to be proactive with self-care before you’re pummeled to the floor.
Self-care for entrepreneurs needs to be practiced every single day. Ideally this goes for every person in any group, but it’s so easy for the owner/founder/CEO to keep pushing everything aside to reach a deadline, to make sure things are perfect. They’ll work all night, they’ll hold their pee for three hours till they have no choice but to run to a toilet, they’ll forget to eat and take their medicine. They prioritize their business above all else. It’s amazing and commendable you want to make this the biggest priority in your life, and I’m sure that enthusiasm will pay off ten-fold, but you can NOT make yourself miserable in the process.
Here are a few self-care tips for entrepreneurs:
- Schedule sleep into your schedule the same way you schedule meetings, creation, and social media – you NEED to have enough sleep to succeed
- Generally prioritize health – that means eating (at least somewhat healthy!), taking medication and vitamins on time, making sure you’re not completely sedentary all day (get up and stretch every hour at least!)
- Keep your workspace as clean/uncluttered as you can – an overwhelmingly cluttered space can represent a cluttered mind; I promise if you take an hour to clean your space you’ll feel more inspired
- Make friends with other entrepreneurs; it’s hard for people who work 9-5 for someone other than themselves to truly understand what you’re going through – even if you need to find a Mastermind group online where the people aren’t anywhere local, that’s better than feeling all alone
- Make sure you are scheduling at least one fun thing a week where you can actually not look at your phone and put work on the back burner no matter how much anxiety it may give you at first
What tips do you entrepreneurs have for personal self-care?
Photos: Maura Housley