The New Entrepreneur’s Guide To Self-Care In 2020
Burnout is real. Especially for new entrepreneurs who are learning the ropes for the first time and figuring out quite literally everything while having so much at stake, overwhelm is only to be expected. It is how we manage this overwhelm and prevent ourselves from burning out that will ultimately dictate how long and how well we can thrive as entrepreneurs.
First things first, taking time out for self-care does not mean you’re weak. When I was in college, I frequently pulled all-nighters to turn in research papers the next day. My mantra was “sleep is for the weak!” But as I grew older, I really came to appreciate how important and restorative a good night’s sleep is. Similarly, when you are just launching a business for the first time, it can be tempting to do everything, be on the go 24/7, and forget to look after yourself. Worse, you might even romanticize the idea of hustling non-stop and not taking any time for self-care.
We are so attuned to the idea that we must always be hustling and grinding to justify our existence as business owners or entrepreneurs, that taking some time out to ourselves feels frivolous at best, or unthinkable at worst. If you feel this way, you are not alone. But seriously, do yourself (and your business!) a favour, and take care of yourself. Trust me, you will function drastically better with a rested and refreshed brain.
Before you go all out and buy yourself scented candles and bath bombs though, understand that self-care looks different for everyone. Ultimately, it is less about making yourself feel good in the moment by engaging in a bubble bath or retail therapy, and more about making daily choices that support your physical, psychological, and entrepreneurial wellbeing in the long run. Trust me, I am all for bubble baths and pampering myself, but let us start at the basics:
Do not be the college me. Sleep is not for the weak. Sleep is for the people who want to live a long healthy life. I am sure you are one of them. This sounds like hackneyed advice, but please try to get 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night. If you are having trouble sleeping, try some chamomile tea, night-time meditation, and do not forget your vitamins and magnesium. Chamomile is so soothing and helps you doze off in no time. Check with your doctor or dietician to see if magnesium is right for you because I can only speak for myself. I struggled with insomnia for the longest time but turns out it was only Magnesium deficiency. Once I started taking my Mg supplements, I was sleeping through the night.
Again, sounds like cliched advice, but it is so oft-repeated only because it is so crucial. Watch what you are putting in your body. Ensure you are getting all your macros – make sure you are getting your proteins, fats, healthy carbs, and fibres. Speak to your dietician about whether you should be taking any supplements. Skip sugar as much as you can. We blame fats but sugar is so much worse. If the fats you are consuming are from healthy sources, you really do not need to worry about your fat intake so much.
This one especially rings true for those of you fighting depression. Sometimes you wake up and it is so hard to even get out of bed and use the loo, let alone take a shower. On regular days, you probably do not need to feel motivated to shower, but on some days, all the motivation in the world could not get you to go take one. If it is especially hard, make sure you are seeing a therapist, or at least have a solid mental healthcare routine in place that helps you cope.
Journal, meditate, read, do something that relaxes your mind. Indulge in a hobby. Adult colouring books are all the rage now, and with good reason. It is strangely calming to watch the paint spread on paper. You do not even have to invest in a colouring book if you don’t wish to. Get some paint and brushes and get artistic on any surface of your choosing – does not have to be paper or canvas. Try ceramic, wood, fabric, or even glass!
Oh God, this one is hard! For those of us running online businesses, it is even harder! And I admit, I do not always practice what I preach when it comes to unplugging. So, I would encourage you to observe yourself. Observe when being online and on social media is directly affecting your mental health. Last week when another Facebook friend uploaded yet another picture from her vacation (in Santorini, if you were wondering), I had had it. I unplugged from Facebook and Instagram for two days and it did me a world of good. If two days sounds impossible, try two hours, but do it with intention. During these two hours, every time you find yourself reaching for your phone, catch yourself in the act and refrain. If you slip and find yourself scrolling down Instagram, forgive yourself, put the phone down, and continue your social media detox.
Avoid distractions. If your mind begins to wander, guide it back to the task at hand. The most you can allow yourself to stray is to scribble a quick note to get to whatever task or idea you thought of after you are done with what you are doing now. I practice this all the time because I am probably the literal definition of a scatterbrain. I was terrible at this initially, and while I am by no means a pro yet, I have improved significantly.
I really hope all these tips help you on your journey as a person and as a business owner. Remember you are stronger and more resilient than you may feel. You are loved, and you are not alone.