When it comes to achieving success, many driven individuals focus solely on the upward climb and ignore what happens along the way – as well as what happens when they get there. It should be said that taking care of yourself at any stage in your life is just as important, if not more so, than any professional goals you may be striving to meet. After all, you can’t get or stay ahead if you’re sick, stressed out, exhausted, or depressed. These self-care tips can help provide some balance in your busy entrepreneurial life.
Everyone knows about the important role that exercise plays in maintaining good physical health, but in addition to cardiovascular training for your heart, strength training to build muscles, and stretches to stay more limber, working out is also crucial for mental and emotional wellness. Walking in particular is considered an excellent choice for full-body exercise, and there’s also the old adage about a walk enabling you to clear your head or otherwise get your brain going. Swimming, while not as readily accessible to all, is also a very effective workout that takes a minimal impact on joints. More intense workouts, such as running or kickboxing, or other activities like yoga, can further help you blow off stress-associated steam, whether personal, professional, or both.
Whether you’re grabbing junk food on the go, following a fad diet, or simply see yourself as too busy to eat properly, bad dietary habits can take a significant toll on your body, mind, and your overall health. Ensure that you’re getting enough fibrous hearty grains, protein-rich nuts and legumes, and nutritious fruit and vegetables in your diet and make sure to drink plenty of water. Avoid processed meat, dairy, sugar, and consuming too much caffeine. Give yourself time to prepare well-rounded meals the night before work or for the entire week in separate containers, along with healthy and easy-to-grab snacks. Knowing what you’re going to eat in advance will help prevent you from resorting to quick and easy fast food.
Learn to Say ‘No’
If you’re trying to please everyone, here’s the big problem with that approach: you can’t do it. Learning to say no is a difficult skill to learn, but it’s a necessary one to add to your repertoire. (Just don’t add it to your CV; hiring managers likely won’t be impressed.) There’s a tactful and diplomatic way to not just commit to every task you’re asked to accomplish, and while it may feel selfish to those of us accustomed to being people-pleasers, this will actually help you immensely by saving you time and allowing you to focus on the tasks you already have. Be polite and respectful, and depending on who’s asking, like a superior, try suggesting a longer timeline than they’re asking for, or kindly noting that you’re not able to stop or delay working on the other things on your plate. And don’t be too proud to enlist a colleague or partner for help as needed.
Getting yourself to bed at a consistent time that allows for deep sleep is crucial for productivity. And while there is certainly a belief among many that the more time you spend awake, the more you can accomplish, that’s not always the case. The reality is, if you burn the candle at both ends, you’ll likely find yourself fading during the day, nodding off when you need to be at your sharpest and negatively impacting your immune system. Staying up all hours can actually cost you time. You’re more useful to both yourself and others if you’re well-rested and healthy. Try to get to bed around the same time each night and get up around the same time each morning, with as close to the recommended eight hours of sleep as possible.
Unwind with a Hobby
Spending some time relaxing and doing what you love, whether it’s creative, active, or both, will help you take better all-around care of yourself. Giving your mind and/or body an outlet to simply enjoy something is great for your self-worth and peace of mind. Return to that sport you used to love playing, sign up for a yoga class, or just grab a good book to read. Even making time to meet up with some friends over a weekend can go a long way towards helping you rebalance yourself ahead of another busy week dealing with your entrepreneurial duties.
Self-Care Isn’t Always Easy
Figuring out the best way to balance work and self-care can be challenging. While fiercely focused on achieving success, many people neglect looking after themselves because it seems like a nuisance or an indulgence. At the end of the day, however, those who make the time to eat well, get proper rest, exercise, enjoy a hobby, and even say “no” to people on occasion will likely be the happiest. There’s more to life than just work, after all.
Robyn Karmazyn | Contributing Writer