When you run your own business, it’s easy to fall into some really bad habits. If you work out of your home, you might find yourself working at all hours just because there’s no separation of work and home. You eat unhealthy foods just because they’re fast to prepare — and scarf down. You feel pressured to work long hours as you try to get your business growing, or to make up for a recent drop in income.
Whatever your business, and whatever your habits, taking care of yourself is important for a thriving business. Exhaustion and burnout will destroy your business, possibly faster than anything else.
Make a few small changes to ensure that you stay rested, nurtured, and ready to tackle whatever challenges lay ahead of you in your business.
Meal prep for the week (or a few days)
It’s easy to start relying on frozen burritos, pizzas, or fast food burgers because they’re quick and easy to make and can be eaten just as quickly. And when you need some quick energy, a sugary soda or a handful of chocolate kisses does the trick.
Healthy eating takes a little more time, but it’s worth it. You’ll have more energy and think more clearly with the right foods in your body. But I get it — stopping in the middle of a big project to go make soup from scratch or cut up a bunch of veggies and whip up a batch of hummus to dip them in just isn’t realistic.
Instead, prep some foods in advance. Start your week on Sunday by cutting up fresh veggies and fruits (add lemon juice if needed to prevent browning) and stack the cut produce next to containers of hummus, nut butter or other healthy dip. Make a big batch of soup, stew, or pasta that you can reheat and munch on throughout the week. Cook up some chicken or turkey breasts and chop them up to go on top of salads.
If prepping in advance like this doesn’t work for you, try making larger meals for dinner and using the leftovers as lunch the next day.
Get some natural energy
I know how tempting it is to grab a soda or some candy or other sugar-filled treats to get a burst of energy during that mid-afternoon slump — believe me, I’m guilty of it myself many times.
While it might help you with that energy in the short-term, long-term it’s just going to make you even more tired when the sugar wears off and it’ll pack on the pounds.
Instead, as difficult as it may be sometimes, try to get more sleep each night. A minimum of 7–9 hours is recommended, but you may need even more. Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you find a time that allows you to feel rested when your alarm goes off in the morning.
Healthier eating will improve your nutrition, giving you more vitamins and minerals that will improve your energy, but you can supplement with additional ones if you need to. B-12 is great for energy. You can also try a natural relaxation supplement, such as a sleepy or night time tea, that will help you fall asleep easier.
We all know that exercise is also a great energy booster. Try starting your day with some yoga or a walk around the block before you get to work. Throughout the day, take frequent breaks to do a few yoga poses, take another quick walk, or jump on mini-trampoline for a few minutes.
A short 20-minute nap can also boost your energy naturally. Even just closing your eyes while you lie on your bed, even if you don’t sleep, can do wonders.
Relieve your stress and boost creativity with meditation
As a business owner and a parent, your mind is constantly going — working on plans and ideas for the business, remembering appointments and events for the family, trying to make sure that everything is “balanced” and on track.
Meditation is the chance to let your brain cool down. Giving your brain a break will reduce stress and boost creativity, both of which will help you be more motivated and productive in your work.
In addition to an OBM and VA, I’m also a meditation teacher. My recommendation would be to start your day, at least on the days you work, with 10 minutes of meditation. Ideally, you’ll benefit and enjoy it so much, you’ll do it every day. I would also recommend that at times you feel stuck, frustrated, or tired, take 5–10 minutes to meditate again.
Sometimes all you really need to get things moving forward again is a moment for your mind to be quiet. By diving beneath your thoughts into the stillness of the mind, you allow your brain to breathe, relax, and offer up a new thought or idea that you couldn’t see before because you were clinging to all the other thoughts constantly swirling around.
Take at least one day off per week
When you’re trying to start or grow a business, the urge to work as many hours as possible every day is strong. It makes logical sense — the more time you devote to it, the quicker things happen, right?
Logically, yes. Realistically, not so much.
You need to take a day off.
Without occasional breaks and chances for fun and relaxation, you will end up running on fumes. You won’t be able to come up with new ideas. Your mind will be foggy, and you’ll forget appointments, ideas and plans. The quality of your work will suffer with mistakes that go from minor to major. Clients will notice and start moving away, and potential clients will be turned away before they even reach out.
Maybe worst of all, you could find yourself resenting and dreading your business.
Take off at least one day each week where you don’t do anything work-related — not even so much as opening a business email or checking a business voicemail. Close the door to the office, put the laptop up in a closet, do whatever you need to do to shut business completely down for that day.
Spend it with your family instead. Go out and do something together or stay in and have a movie day with popcorn and other treats.
If you can bring yourself to do it, take two days off a week. The hours spent doing anything but work will be more than made up with your improved productivity, motivation and creativity when you return feeling refreshed and renewed.
Don’t limit your time off to days, either. Have a clearly defined start and end to your business day. Even if you have to work in chunks throughout the day because you’re also taking care of the kids, having clear business hours accomplishes several things.
One is that it cuts down on clients reaching out and expecting responses from you at all hours of the day and night. Another is that it establishes those boundaries before future clients even come on board – you might be going all out now, but you want there to be a day when you have regular business hours and plenty of family time. Lastly, it encourages you to shut down and shift into mommy or wife mode, or to go out and enjoy an evening with friends or whatever else you enjoy outside of work.
You ARE the business
You are the business’s best asset. You are the business. Period.
Without you, your business is nothing. That’s why it’s critical that you take care of yourself.
Taking time for you is taking care of your business. Nurturing yourself is nurturing your business.
Even if the ideas listed here aren’t ones you want to try, find something that allows you to do something for yourself so that your business can thrive.
And if the problem is too much work to handle alone? Sounds like time to hire someone to help! Reach out today to discuss what I can do to help you find more time for you!