Men and women running their own ventures might prioritize hard work over their own well-being. Yet it is possible to knock out goals and nurture a business while simultaneously improving health and wellness. Looking for self-care tips that fit into a busy professional life?
You’ve come to the right place.
From simply sleeping more to changing social behaviors you don’t even realize you’re guilty of, there are many steps you can take to improve your physical and mental health as a busy entrepreneur. And in doing so, you’ll improve your productivity as well.
In this article, we provide self-care tips for entrepreneurs you should consider incorporating into your daily life. Many of them you can start working on right away, but others will take time to develop — although trust us, they’re worth developing.
Even if you adopt only one of the following suggestions for improving entrepreneur health and wellness, your quality of life should improve.
Ready to invest in your well-being? Before we dive into the following self-care tips, let’s first explore what self-care actually means and why putting energy into it is worth your time.
What is self-care?
According to Oxford, self-care can be defined as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”
Whether it’s deliberately drinking that extra glass of water during the day or putting down your phone an hour before crawling into bed, intentional actions to benefit your body and mind are at the core of self-care.
How does self-care impact my productivity?
Productivity studies can be found all over the internet, and they all point to the same thing: You can boost productivity by taking an active interest in self-care and how you live your life.
For example, most people have a smartphone on them all the time. Yet did you know simply having a phone in your pocket is reducing your cognitive capacity? If you put your mobile device in another room while you’re working, your brain will work better and you’ll be more productive. But actually taking such a step requires willpower.
The importance of self-care for entrepreneurs
Like many of the best things in life, self-care requires effort. And if you’re like many entrepreneurs out there, exerting this effort may feel like wasting time better spent working. But there are many proven reasons embracing a few self-care tips can be very worth your energy.
- Many forms of self-care boost your overall productivity. Even if you end up working less overall, if you’re working more efficiently, then you get the same outcome.
- Self-care will help you live longer. What’s the point of wild business success if you can’t live a long, healthy life and enjoy the fruits of your labor?
- You will feel more fulfilled. A big part of effective self-care is targeting a part of your life that could use a boost, and then improving it. Whether it’s working on your social life, physical body, mental state or even spiritual mindset, setting up a long-term plan for enhancing a facet of your life and then acting on it is rewarding.
- You’ll have more time to do the things you care most about (other than work). Maybe that’s a special hobby in your life, spending time with your family, traveling the globe or even just watching your favorite television show.
Worried that self-care will take up too much of your time? Don’t be.
Start off small and adopt one (or several) of the following self-care tips for entrepreneurs that best fits your interests and lifestyle.
18 self-care tips for entrepreneurs
As you begin to build these forms of self-care into your weekly routine, you can gradually include more that seem most beneficial to you.
- Eat healthy.
- Stay hydrated.
- Exercise during the day.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Be assertive.
- Reduce your stress.
- Learn to relax (“Me time”).
- Know when to say “no.”
- Accept (and fix) mistakes.
- Delegate and outsource.
- Prepare for the day.
- Take daily breaks.
- Develop your support network.
- Go on vacation.
- Plan your day (work smarter).
- Use tools to alleviate stress.
- Take business calls during work hours only.
- Get enough sleep.
Ready to take care of yourself? Let’s get started.
1. Eat healthy
While this particular tip is applicable to everyone, entrepreneurs are infamous for prioritizing work over a healthy diet. That’s because eating healthy takes work, and can even cost more money.
But did you know the benefits of eating well include having a better mood, more energy, increased optimism, feeling more relaxed, better social connections and a boosted reaction time?
Even if eating pizza gives meaning to your life (as it does to mine), try eating healthier during work hours — it will do wonders for your productivity and mental state.
2. Stay hydrated
Ever notice someone else’s bad breath? They may have simply been dehydrated.
Other than keeping your breath fresh (thus improving your social outlook), drinking water is important for various reasons, many of which are tied to your body’s overall health. For instance, drinking water benefits your:
- Heart and blood flow
- Oral hygiene
- Joints and muscles
- Kidney and bladder
Plus, being fully hydrated seems to positively impact your memory. Drinking more water may be the easiest self-care tip on this list, so why not fill up another glass now?
3. Exercise during the day
Feel like you’ve hit a wall? Drowning in your entrepreneurial to-do list? Try exercising.
Your body releases endorphins — chemicals that make you feel happy — when you exercise. In addition to interacting with the receptors in your brain to lessen pain perception, endorphins trigger a positive, uplifting feeling commonly known as “runner’s high.” They simply make you feel good. While work can leave us feeling irritable, endorphins do the opposite.
According to a study on the potential effects of aerobic exercise on creative potential, one-third of participants who dedicated two and a half hours each week (that’s 30 minutes, five days a week) to exercise during work hours maintained or increased their productivity.
That’s the power of the all-natural high you get from simply moving your body.
4. Practice mindfulness
Some entrepreneurs feel like they aren’t getting ahead unless they spend every hour working as hard as possible. Unfortunately, these business leaders are generally less efficient as they become more stressed and tired. Sound familiar? Avoid this trap by setting aside a little time each day for self-reflection.
By setting aside just 15 minutes of each day to focus on breathing, you can reduce stress — enabling you to run your business better.
Some studies even show that leaders who practice mindfulness have happier employees. Those employees, in turn, become more productive, possibly because they don’t have grumpy bosses making them anxious.
5. Be assertive
While assertiveness comes naturally for some people, it doesn’t for everyone. If you’re guilty of usually standing down during discussions — even when you have strong feelings about the topic — work on becoming more assertive.
Practicing assertiveness can reduce your stress, make you appear more confident and competent, and will also improve your overall social outlook.
You can start by trying to actively voice your opinions.
It’s important to listen and respect the thoughts of others, but if you never speak up, you will be hurting yourself and those you work with.
Also don’t be afraid to say “no,” or you will establish some dangerous boundaries with the people you work with on a regular basis.
6. Reduce your stress
Another fairly obvious self-care tip for entrepreneurs, yet it’s one that many don’t follow.
If you can find ways to reduce the stress in your life, you will enjoy better mental health and productivity. But how do you mitigate stress?
It starts by acknowledging the cause. Is your stress work-related or tied to your mental or physical health? Once you’re fully aware of what makes you stressed, you’ll be better prepared to address it.
For example, if you’re worried about your weight, take action by eating better and becoming more active. If you’re not spending enough time with your family, decrease your workload or delegate work to people you trust.
Being stressed is bad for you, your job and everyone around you, so prioritize reducing it.
7. Learn to relax (“Me time”)
If you’re stressed, it’s also possible you don’t set aside enough time to relax. Creating time for yourself, where you can focus on a hobby or something you enjoy, will reduce your stress and give you a more optimistic mindset once you’re ready to begin working again.
8. Know when to say “no”
Is a colleague asking for your help at a time that conflicts with an event you want to attend? Do you have a client pushing you to finish something today when you’re already overwhelmed with other work?
For instance, if you go home at 5:30 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m. today, the world will continue to turn. Your personal life and sanity should take precedence over squeezing in more work. So learn to say no. Don’t let people walk on you, and you’ll be happier.
9. Accept (and fix) mistakes
Made a mistake? Take responsibility for it, and learn from it so you can try not to make the same mistake again. There’s a lot of power gained from admitting a mistake.
Entrepreneurs are usually judged by how they react to a mistake, not by the mistake itself. We are human, and mistakes happen — you’ll feel better mentally and physically if you acknowledge your errors and grow from them rather than deny their existence.
10. Delegate and outsource
Want to improve your own life while simultaneously boosting productivity? Learn to let go and delegate.
Truly productive people get the most done with the resources they have. This is why CEOs and senior partners of large law firms are paid so well. They’re talented at moving dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people in the direction they want. They delegate.
Don’t be afraid to hand over important work or a beloved client to someone else.
Be willing to incur the costs of someone helping you — sharing profit and giving up a bit of control. Make yourself available to answer questions and assist when issues come up, but remember that dealing with every work-related problem immediately isn’t necessary. You can and should trust others.
11. Prepare for the day
There are many benefits of having a morning routine. How you wake up and tackle those early-morning moments sets the tone for the rest of your day.
If you read about what many of the greatest entrepreneurs do to improve their overall health and wellness, you’ll notice they often mention starting off their day right. Just remember that a great morning routine begins with a full night’s sleep!
12. Take daily breaks
This doesn’t necessarily refer to taking time to swipe on your phone, either. Consider taking a couple brisk 15-minute walks throughout the course of your workday to mentally rejuvenate yourself while also getting in some much-needed exercise.
13. Develop your support network
Research shows us time and time again that family and friends have a strong impact on our health. Certainly, every day won’t be perfectly balanced between your work and personal life, but you should aim to balance both over the course of a week.
To assess whether you’re putting enough time into your personal relationships, ask yourself:
- If I’m married or in a relationship, how healthy is my relationship? What did I do that supported and strengthened my relationship last year? Where can I improve?
- If I have children, how healthy are my relationships with my kids? What did I do well as a parent last year? Where can I improve?
- Did I make time to connect with friends? If so, how can I be sure to continue these connections? If not, how can I find time to make meaningful connections in the new year?
Related: Finding a mentor
14. Go on vacation
Probably the most fun of our self-care tips, don’t be afraid to take time off from work.
Take time to lie on the beach somewhere tropical if you need to relax. Feel like you’ve been short on adventure recently? Travel to a place renowned for hiking and biking.
Love history? Go somewhere historic. Treat yourself, and your work (and body) will reap the benefits.
15. Plan your day (work smarter)
Are you looking to clearly separate work from your personal life? Plan your day out in advance.
Creating a plan gives you the power to allocate time for key work tasks, but also for exercise, social activities and other forms of self-care that ensure you’re a well-rounded entrepreneur.
16. Use tools to alleviate stress
Speaking of planning your workday, today’s technology makes it easier than ever for business owners to stay on schedule. Put your to-do list on your smartphone so you can access it at any time.
There are also cloud-based technologies that enable you to reach and be reachable to anyone, anywhere. While such technology is incredibly useful, remember that it should only be used to make your life easier and less stressful. Don’t let it control you and disrupt your productivity.
17. Take business calls during work hours only
Ultimate entrepreneur health and wellness are only achievable once you can neatly separate your personal life from your work life.
That’s why another crucial self-care tip is to take business calls only during business hours. Unless you’ve specifically scheduled a night call, don’t pick up the phone for anyone when you’re off the clock.
Set yourself up to only receive business calls during your set working hours, and it will make it much easier to prevent work from interrupting your “me” time.
18. Get enough sleep
Last but not least, don’t forget to get enough sleep. Everyone needs different amounts of sleep, but the bottom line is everyone needs it. If you’re sleeping less than seven hours per night, you’re likely not sleeping enough.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, try putting your phone on airplane mode and turning off all other electronic devices, because such technology is known to negatively impact sleep. Break away from it the hour before you go to bed, and your brain will be more prepared to retire for the night.
Conclusion: Incorporate self-care into your life
It is possible to work hard and have a fulfilling, healthy personal life. But achieving such work-life balance requires you to act.
Don’t know where to start? Pick several of the self-care tips outlined in this article, write them on a sticky note and put that sticky note somewhere you’ll see it often. Don’t forget about your commitment to making positive changes in your life, and remember those changes are worth the effort!
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