As business owners, it’s far too easy to get caught up in an unhealthy work frenzy. Sadly, it’s hard to recognize overwork until it’s already taken its toll on your mind, body, and relationships.
That’s why prevention is the best medicine, as the saying goes. We’ve identified 11 self-care strategies that we believe can best help entrepreneurs foster a healthy work-life balance.
1. Develop a morning routine.
A lot of business owners wake up before the sun, especially those in the restaurant industry. But even if you have to get up really early, carve out at least 10 minutes for a morning routine.
It could be as simple as drinking a cup of coffee while looking at your garden. Or you might want to do a series of stretches and exercises. Maybe you use those 10 minutes to read a book.
Just choose something that energizes you and prepares you to tackle the day.
2. Keep a journal.
Some people hate journaling, but few will say it doesn’t help them.
You could try journaling about what you think you did well that day and what you could’ve done better. Or try writing down 5 things every day that you’re thankful for.
We won’t tell you what to write—that’s up to you. But the very process of journaling your thoughts, goals, or reflections can help you process the day and prepare you to move forward.
3. Drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruits and veggies.
Want more energy? Try improving your diet. When things are stressful at the office, it’s easy to resort to junk food, sodas, and alcohol to take the edge off.
But nothing will help you feel energized like proper nutrition and fluids. Consider packing an extra apple in your lunch bag for the next time you’re tempted to reach for that candy bowl during a hectic day.
4. Exercise regularly.
If you’re an early riser, then maybe morning workouts won’t work. But you can still carve out time at the end of your day to move around.
Workouts like running, dance classes, and strength training are all fantastic. But if you’re not there yet, that’s OK. Start with walking every day or stretching for 20 minutes.
5. Get a healthy amount of sleep each night.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
Many entrepreneurs reading that might shake their heads and think, “7 to 9? I can barely get 5 or 6!”
If that’s you, then aim for getting a good amount of sleep at least 4 nights a week. Then, once you’ve attained that goal, aim for 5, then 6, and finally 7.
6. Don’t be afraid to delegate and outsource.
Are you scared to delegate certain tasks in your business? Are you worried that whoever takes it over won’t be able to do it as well as you can?
We understand. But what we understand even better is how much your life will improve when you stop trying to do everything yourself. It’s OK to let go and let others help you.
It might take a little training in the beginning, but it will save you much more time and stress in the long run.
7. Plan a vacation at least once per year.
Yes, at least once a year! Not sure where to begin with preparing to go on a vacation as a business owner? We recently wrote about that! Here are 5 steps to prepare your business properly so you can take that much-needed vacation.
8. Hire a business or financial coach.
Sometimes the biggest stressor in an entrepreneur’s life is the feeling of trying to figure everything out themselves.
It’s scary to put yourself out there and not know what to do next. But thankfully, there are hundreds—even thousands—of people who were in the same position you’re in right now. Find someone who has the insight you need, and be willing to pay for it if needed.
Our clients regularly tell us how relieved they feel after hiring us to advise them on accounting and finances. Let an expert speak to your situation!
9. Pursue a hobby that has nothing to do with your business.
That’s right—nothing to do with your business. Your brain needs a break from constantly thinking about your line of work.
If you run a bakery, try drawing or gardening. If you own an accounting business like we do, try hiking or horseback riding.
The possibilities are endless. Do something that fascinates, entertains, or stretches you. You won’t regret it!
10. Do something relaxing every day.
It might be a bubble bath, a long run around your neighborhood, a funny TV episode, a well-written book—whatever it is, do something you enjoy every day.
Doing something fun or relaxing helps release those important “feel-good” hormones like dopamine and serotonin into your body. This, in turn, can help you manage your stress better in the long run.
11. Set work boundaries and stay accountable.
Now we come to our most practical tip: Set your boundaries and stick to them.
What do we mean by boundaries? It’s different for each entrepreneur. For you, it might mean refusing to work past 5:30 more than 3 nights a month. Or it might mean you refuse to check your work email on the weekends.
Your job is to figure out what work boundaries are best for you and your family. Then, get an accountability partner to help you stick to them.
We recommend not having your spouse be your accountability partner because that can potentially lead to greater tension or arguments. Instead, try finding another business owner or a friend who’s willing to help you stick to your work-life resolutions.
Do you have any other self-care tips you practice? Share them in the comments below!