ntrepreneurs often experience burnout from working long hours, failing to get enough sleep, and not taking care of their personal needs. It’s vital to incorporate self care into your daily routine because it will have a significant impact on your productivity and your business’ success. With that in mind, we’re sharing 8 best self care practices to add to your life.
What to Know About Self Care
Developing good habits helps you to stay healthy, making it easier to tackle the difficulties of being an entrepreneur. It takes motivation, grit, and resilience to survive as a small business owner. It’s not for everyone, but you’ll be in a better position to cultivate your entrepreneurial spirit and find business success if you practice some physical and emotional maintenance. Now, you really shouldn’t stick your head in the sand when it comes to this stuff.
In fact, productivity losses in the workplace cost the U.S. roughly $44 billion every year. Stress, which is a common reason why productivity declines, costs about $300 billion annually in the U.S. annually. Allowing this stress to grow can worsen your physical and mental health, which makes it harder to focus and perform at a higher level at work. This issue can lead to burnout and business failure. You might already know that in order to avoid getting crushed by the weight of stress, medical experts recommend eating right, mindful practices, working out, and more. But you may not know the costs or benefits associated with these activities, or how prioritizing self care can positively impact the health of your business - and most importantly, you.
The 8 Self Care Moves You Need to Make
1. Sleep Needs to Be a Priority
“I have read stories about how the most successful people sleep less. The real secret is the most successful people have awareness of what their body needs and sleep whenever necessary.” -Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO. We all function better when we get a good night’s sleep, and that’s no secret. What you may not know is just how much getting adequate sleep can improve your productivity. One study examined more than 4,000 workers and found that those who slept less had “significantly worse productivity, performance, and safety outcomes.” It also said that poor sleep cost businesses about $1,967 per employee annually. And if you’re a small business owner, this dollar amount is likely higher since every hiccup caused by poor sleep patterns may cost your business more.
2. Nourish Your Soul With Hobbies
A hobby is a great way to stay active and stimulate the mind outside of work. When you find a hobby you enjoy, it’s also an opportunity to grow alongside an activity you enjoy, and become better at it. Doing this can give you a mental break from your business, making you more motivated once you return to your entrepreneurial goals. Hobbies such as gardening are excellent because they allow you to engage with nature, while also cultivating living plants, and maintaining them over time. Studies have found that gardening can improve your mood, reduce stress, and bring out positive emotions in you. If you’re interested in rocking out, you could always pick up a musical instrument. Playing the guitar, piano, or something else can improve your cognitive function, boost your memory, and relieve stress. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to maybe someday perform in front of a crowd and show them what you’re made of. Even a hobby like becoming proficient in a video game can help you immensely. Video games improve your puzzle-solving skills, which can be a valuable skill as an entrepreneur when you face roadblocks. They can also improve your strategy skills, as well as giving you an outlet to socialize if you play online.
3. Exercise Can Boost Your Business
You need sleep so you can get enough rest to perform well at work, and exercise can be just as important. Keeping active is a long-term investment in yourself that makes you a more productive entrepreneur. A Briston University study found that when employees had a workout day, they would achieve a 21% higher concentration level. These employees also scored 22% higher for finishing their work on time on workout days, 25% higher for working without taking unscheduled breaks, and 41% more motivated to work. There is evidence that shows running and other aerobic exercises can keep your mind sharp, while lifting weights improves your focus. And if your schedule is especially busy, you can always walk 10,000 steps a day while running tasks, which will boost your brain’s performance in the workplace.
4. Healthy Eating Is Productivity Fuel
It’s no secret that you’ll feel good when you eat healthily, and not so good when you don’t. Healthy eating increases your energy levels, which also makes you more focused and motivated to crush it as an entrepreneur. The World Health Organization found that healthy eating can boost your productivity levels by 20% on average. Vegetables and fruits are of the essence when you’re trying to be healthy, while seeds, seafood, whole grains, and lean meats can make you more energetic.
You can develop healthier eating habits by getting in the habit of doing weekend meal prep. Cook your meals for the week during the weekend, package them in containers, and heat them in the workplace. If you want some variety, bring a frozen organic microwavable item, or try out a local eatery with nutrient-dense foods. You can develop healthier eating habits by getting in the habit of doing weekend meal prep. Cook your meals for the week during the weekend, package them in containers, and heat them in the workplace. If you want some variety, bring a frozen organic microwavable item, or try out a local eatery with nutrient-dense foods.
5. Take Time to Unwind
We’ve talked a lot about productivity, which some people believe means cramming in as much work as possible throughout the workday. To be productive, you need to produce high-quality work that delivers positive results. And to reach this level of productivity, you need to take time off to unwind. There are many ways to unwind, including:
- Controlled breathing exercises
- Keeping a daily journal
- Spending time in nature
- Meditation and yoga
- Listening to music
- Cleaning and organizing.
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Unwinding ultimately puts you in a better position to make more constructive decisions for your health and the health of your business. Heck, you could even try out HeadSpace on the NYC subway.
6. Vacations Revitalize You
There is great pride in being an entrepreneur. You’re creating something new, working on your own, and adding value to people in some way. However, your entrepreneurial spirit may suffer unless you take a step back now and then. Alarmingly, 84% of U.S. executives have canceled one or more vacations to do work. However, research shows that taking a vacation can boost your immune system, reduce your stress, and make you more focused once you’re back to work. Plus, a vacation can make you more creative.
Disconnecting from your work for a bit and taking nature hikes, going on a meditation retreat, or even doing nothing at a beach and daydreaming can help you immensely. These types of activities create alpha waves in the brain that bolster your creativity, and may lead to entrepreneurial breakthroughs. Hibear founder Mark Tsigounis created a utility water bottle that he built “under the philosophy that my downtime fuels my productivity. The higher the quality of downtime, the higher the quality of work.”
7. The Art of Saying ‘No’
They say you should strike while the iron is hot. When a business opportunity comes your way, the wise jump on that chance. Nevertheless, being able to distinguish a positive opportunity from a potentially damaging one is also essential.
You need to learn when to say “no” to potential business partners, affiliates, or sponsors, even if they present you with an opportunity that looks good on the surface. If you say “yes” to the wrong opportunity, a great deal of stress and inconvenience could come your way. Identify what your business core values are, and make sure you only accept opportunities in line with these.
And even if a suitable opportunity arises, sometimes you have to say no because your plate is already full. Taking on more work than you can reasonably handle will lead to longer workdays, which can take a toll on your sleep patterns, harm your health, and hurt your business.
8. Be Social at Work
A crucial, yet often understated element of self care is being social, in and outside the workplace. Actively engaging in conversation with your co-workers or employees can lead to a healthier, more productive workplace.
A study from Psychology Today found that being social in the workplace creates a sense of friendship and collaboration. These emotions lead to higher motivation, which encourages employees to perform at a higher level.
Other research discovered that socializing could improve mental functioning, and reduce both stress and anxiety. Taking the time to get to know your co-workers and have amicable relationships with them will do wonders for your health. In turn, it will improve your motivation and productivity.
Self Care Quotes from Entrepreneurial Minds
“Keeping active is a huge part of my life. I seriously doubt that I would have been as successful in my career (and happy in my personal life), if I hadn’t always placed importance on my health and fitness.” -Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder.
“I have read stories about how the most successful people sleep less. The real secret is the most successful people have awareness of what their body needs and sleep whenever necessary.” -Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO.
“Meditation is about getting still enough to know the difference between the voice and you… It's a heightened state of being that lets whatever you're doing be your best life, from moment to astonishing moment.” -Oprah Winfrey
The path to entrepreneurial success is easier when you incorporate self care in your day to day life. Taking 10 minutes to meditate, getting 8 hours of sleep, and eating those leafy greens are some of the practices you need to cultivate to become a more productive small business owner. And once you add these elements into the mix, you are in a better position to develop an impactful product or service that transforms the lives of others.