Five ways you can REALLY take care of yourself + your biz right now for bigger results
Five ways you can REALLY take care of yourself + your biz right now for bigger results
Self-care is a hot topic in the entrepreneurial space. And for good reason. YOU are your business’s most important asset. And in most cases, if you’re not feeling your best, your business will show it, making it even more difficult to get the results you want (in life AND in biz).
But lately I’ve been finding that most talk of self-care misses the mark.
It speaks of making time for manicures and pedicures, massages, and yoga classes. And don’t get me wrong, those are all amazing ways to practice self-care, but they come with a decent price tag attached.
I know that in the past, I’ve hit times in my business when it’s been hard to justify those forms of self-care (helllooooo, variable income!). And I’d be willing to bet you’ve been there too.
It’s at those times that I needed to be sure I was making the RIGHT types of investments and spending my time on the RIGHT things to yield big results. Because a mani/pedi, though lovely, doesn’t necessarily yield the same results as DEEP self-care.
So today, I want to share five ways that you can REALLY take care of yourself and your business right now for bigger results. These simple shifts are going to be absolute game-changers for you.
Practice deep self-care
When I think about the basic ways that I practice self-care I think of lighting a candle, picking up a book, and soaking in a tub of lavender epsom salts at the end of a long day. It’s one of my favorite ways to unwind. But I also think self-care goes deeper than that.
DEEP self-care means staying conscious of your energy levels and your priorities. It means checking in with yourself to see how you’re feeling and what you’re needing right now. Because YOU are the expert on you, which means only you know how to best support yourself through what is going on in your life and business at this particular moment.
There are times when the best way I can support myself and my business is by getting everything out of my head and onto a to-do list. There are other times when I put it all on a calendar so that I can visually map out all the thoughts that are swimming around and feel less overwhelmed. And there are other times that I simply know that I need to ask for support, which means asking Brian if he can handle dinner tonight because I literally can’t even.
The more in-tune you are with how you’re feeling and the type of support you’re needing, the easier it will be to grow your business in a way that feels good to you. And we always get more of the results we actually want when it feels good.
Create space in your day to simply be
I’ve found that so many of my clients are amazing at taking care of others (their clients, their partners, their kiddos) but when it comes to taking care of themselves… well, it’s the first thing that they’re willing to let go of. But taking care of yourself can be the MOST important work you do everyday, allowing you to show up as your best self for everyone else in your life and business. And when you shift your mindset to embrace that, you can see amazing results because of it.
One of the simplest, yet most effective ways to reinforce this is by taking five minutes to do nothing each day. Don’t watch TV, don’t check your phone, don’t read a book, don’t practice yoga. Simply do nothing. Create the space you need to simply be.
I’ve worked this into my routine by taking the first five minutes of my bath each night to simply do nothing before picking up my book or scrolling social media (even though that’s STILL my initial inclination). It’s in this void, this space, this emptiness that I’m able to phase out of work mode at the end of the day and into my evening routine.
And it’s through this practice that I began sleeping SO much better. Before I started this exercise, I was noticing that when my head hit the pillow each night, it was the first time I was allowing myself to do nothing—no tasks, no exercise, no tv, no reading, etc. all day. And it was having a negative effect on my sleep. Thoughts would pop in my head. I would toss and turn. It was anything but relaxing. This suuuper small change in my day made me feel so much better and more productive because of it.
This sounds so simple that you might be wondering if it’s even necessary, but you’ll be amazed at how difficult it can be at first. That right there is why this work is so important. Personal development can be a wonderful thing, but remember that you’re already ENOUGH. So instead of working on one more thing, take a few moments and create the space you need to be alone, sit quietly, and do nothing at all.
Because this type of self-care is the kind that shows up ten-fold in your business. Creating this kind of SPACE can help you to sleep better, spark major business breakthroughs, boost your productivity, and fuel your mental wellbeing. And consequently, those are exactly the type of circumstances that boost income as well.
Create a list of grounding exercises
When you’re in the thick of it, finding ways to practice self-care can feel like yet another chore on your to-do list. This is exactly why I recommend creating a list of grounding exercises BEFORE you find yourself on the road to burnout. Bonus points if they’re things you can practice without spending a dime. Because I’ve always found that the moments I need to lean into self-care the MOST are the moments when money is tight and my confidence is dwindling (we’ve all been there!).
For me, this list of grounding exercises is so simple it’s easy to take some of these for granted. Nonetheless, these things help me to be sure that if my business is slipping that my own mental and physical wellness don’t start to slip as well. When things are hard it’s even more important to lean into those exercises and habits you know can support you through it.
Here’s what mine looks like:
→ You guessed it! Going for a run.
→ Ten minutes of pilates.
→ Taking the dog for a walk.
→ Filling the fridge with healthy options.
→ Keeping my office clean and organized.
→ Taking a shower or a bath.
→ Hopping on the phone with a friend or family member.
→ Getting at least eight hours of sleep.
→ Journaling about fears.
→ Updating my vision board.
→ Reading a book or listening to a podcast.
Because if I don’t make time for pilates or a run in the morning → I find myself anxious and uneasy for the rest of the day.
When I don’t fill the fridge with healthy options → I reach for the entire bag of chips and my own-self confidence suffers as a result.
When I don’t get at least eight hours of sleep → every. single. thing. on my to-do list feels like a chore instead of joyful and fulfilling.
And all these things can have a tumbleweed effect, making it impossible to feel good and take actions that are in line with the results I want in my life and business.
Your list might look completely different. But by creating a list of grounding exercises specific to you, you’ll be able to take care of yourself through the rough patches rather than spiraling even further into stress and overwhelm.
Know your numbers
One of the best and simplest ways to take care of yourself and your business is to know your numbers. This is as simple as creating a spreadsheet in excel or setting yourself up with bookkeeping and budgeting software. (I use Quickbooks Online for bookkeeping and YNAB for budgeting.)
And if you’re rolling your eyes right now, it’s because you know that as a business owner, this is something that you need to be doing so that you can grow. Why? Because you won’t even KNOW that you’re growing if you don’t know what numbers you’re starting with. But more than that, because UNCERTAINTY is stressful. Wondering and worrying is stressful.
When you have tabs on your numbers, you know the amount of money you need to cover your basic needs. I learned this tactic early on in my business and it was an absolute game-changer for me. At the time, I had left my full-time job in NYC to move to Colorado and I had very little idea how to operate as a freelance designer.
When you start a business there are SO many things you have to learn—sales calls, invoicing, bookkeeping, W9s, estimated taxes, let alone doing the work you’re paid to do. So less time worrying that I was going to be able to support my basic needs meant more time working and learning everything else I needed to know to run a business. Consequently, knowing your numbers—your income and your expenses—is also a great way to make sure you know your worth and are charging enough for your goods or services.
Even today, knowing my numbers serves me well. When I’m in a slow season (because yes, we all have them!), I can rest assured that I’ll still be able to cover my bills. That mindset shift gives me the clarity and confidence to take the actions necessary for business to pick up again, rather than spending that energy wondering if there will be “enough.”
I can’t stress enough how important this is. Because so much stress comes from worrying about the unknown, so if you know your numbers, you know you’ll be “okay” so you can stop waking up in the middle of the night and start getting the sleep you need to GROW.
Know the difference between healthcare and self-care
Last week I woke up with a serious pain in my neck. I had trouble turning my head from side-to-side at ALL, let along without being in pain. Actually, pretty much any movement of my upper body hurt. I don’t think I’ve ever booked a massage appointment so quickly in my life because the way I see it, that pain tipped that scale from self-care to healthcare. This subtle difference is something that I’ve learned from the ladies over at Being Boss and I couldn’t agree with more.
Preventative care, such as going to the dentist and yearly trips to the lady doctor, is SO important as a business owner and ultimately should be non-negotiable. But it’s also easy to let these things slip, telling yourself you don’t have the time or money to support yourself in this way right now.
When I find my own thoughts going in that direction, I remind myself that healthcare is an investment in my overall wellbeing. That ultimately it will cost me MORE in the long-run if my neck situation worsens and I need six months of physical therapy later on. Best to take care of it at the early signs so that I feel my best and can pour that into the big results I want in my business.
The bottom line:
DEEP self-care doesn’t have to be a huge time or money investment. It simply means staying conscious of your energy levels and your priorities. It means checking in with yourself to see how you’re feeling and what you’re needing right now. Only YOU know the best way to support yourself through the hard times in your life and business, but establishing good self-care habits from the get-go, creating a list of grounding exercises, knowing your numbers, and keeping up with your preventative healthcare are great places to get started. And remember, self-care fuels growth rather than takes away from it.
Tell me in the comments below:
What is one way that self-care has fueled your growth as a business owner?
Photography by Jennifer Morgan Photography