When you start your own business, the (thin) line between your life and work quickly becomes non-existent.
It happens slowly — checking your emails as soon as you wake up, working late into the night, burying yourself into work, until one day you find yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted. Worse, you realize you’re burned out.
I have been let go from the position of Chief Content Officer at a prestigious IT company. I loved my job, I knew my responsibilities, I had a set schedule, life was good. But this news shattered me. Rather than sulking, I decided to launch my own food blog. With fresh off the adrenaline, I decided to take my work even more seriously. I slept no more than 5 hours every day (even on the weekends) and worked non-stop.
My wake-up call came in an interview soon after I collaborated with a chef for an article. She made a comment on how exhausted I looked and politely offered another time for the interview. I had been running in fumes and had not put in any energy to take care of myself, which had clearly taken its toll. As soon as our video call ended, I shut down the laptop and decided to take a step back and reflect on my work and myself.
I started reading about self-care and decided to incorporate a few things into my schedule to maintain a work-life balance. Now, I’ve gotten better, healthier, and sensible enough to know how to balance the two.
Here are my favorite strategies and tips that have worked for me. I hope you incorporate into your life, so you don’t have to learn it the hard way.
1. Create Your "Me Time" Routine
Make it a point to do something exclusively for yourself. Not your business, not your partner or your children, just yourself. It can be anything that relaxes or calms you down and lets you organize your thoughts like petting your dog, painting, etc.
For me, my routine starts in the morning. I brew myself a hot cup of coffee and note down my thoughts. This simple little trick helps my mind flow. Next, I water each and every plant in my balcony. I do it with mindfulness (rather than robotically) to truly savor these moments.
2. Don't Let Your Thoughts Control You
As a business woman, it’s easy to fall into the rabbit hole of negativity; “Why can’t I be more confident like Sarah?” “Why can’t I ever reply to all the emails?”
You can blame yourself for everything that goes wrong around you, or you can be practical, acknowledge these thoughts, and let them pass. Dwelling on negativity is an incredibly dangerous road you don’t want to take if you’re going to succeed.
Start saying encouraging things to yourself like, “It’s okay to make mistakes. I’m human, after all. My work is difficult, and I’m doing the best I can. I’m good at what I do.” Keeping your thoughts at bay is a great way to practice self-care as a business woman.
3. Learn to Say NO
I can’t emphasize how important this is! In fact, if there’s one thing you absolutely need to take away from this article is learning how to say no. Being a business woman means juggling tasks, handling partnerships, being present in almost every meeting, and more.
My advice? Say no to at least 80% of these things. Why? Trivial issues tend to distract you from your bigger goals. You need to preserve your energy for combatting more significant battles than figuring out the little things.
4. Focus on One Task Per Day
Closely related to the above point, focusing gets more challenging with every year that passes by. You suddenly have even more responsibility, more tasks, and things to worry about. Everyone from the marketing head to the editorial head needs your advice. It gets overwhelming, doesn’t it?
The best approach is to schedule your days. I plan two weeks ahead in time and focus on a single task per day. For instance, Tuesday’s could be your ‘hiring day,’ Thursday’s could be your’ social media strategy’ day. This realistic approach will help you focus on what’s important and give your 100% to it, leaving you feeling satisfied and accomplished.
5. Shower and Get Dressed In The Morning
Sounds silly, right? For people like me who are currently working from home, delaying baths quickly becomes a habit.
Diving into work without showering might seem tempting, but you need to pull yourself together and shower and dress properly. You end up feeling more ‘awake’ and confident when you’re well-dressed instead of your cat PJ’s with cookie crumbles on it.
6. Learn to Delegate
As I mentioned earlier, I was doing everything on my own and had so much on my plate that I couldn’t do anything properly.
I started asking for help and delegating tasks. I currently have a team of 2 amazingly talented writers and a photographer working for me. Every week, we have a Zoom meeting where we discuss everything in detail and assign tasks. Usually, my team is super excited if I give them new responsibilities or projects. Win-win!
So, be sure, if you are feeling overwhelmed that you delegate as a form of self-care as a business woman.
7. Have A Stable Support System
Being a business woman can get lonely even if you don’t work from home. You need to take a break every now and then and hang out with the people you like. It can be your friends, cousins, or even work buddies.
Doing so gives you a break you deserve and breaks your usual chain of thought. Your support system will empathize with you, support you, and will have your back no matter what.
It’s crucial you show them that you’re there for them just as they are for you by showing up to meet-ups and get-togethers.
8. Pick A 'Break' Activity
Break the monotony by doing something new or fun every week. It could be anything from learning calligraphy to salsa dancing. By picking a small “break” activity to do each week, you are ultimately practicing simple AND fun self-care as a business woman.
Allow yourself to enjoy your business journey and everything that comes with it. But, don’t lose yourself in between.
Take care of your mind and body to see the difference it makes in your life. You’re awesome, and you will continue to be even if you relax a little — don’t ever forget that!
No matter how busy you become, it will always be important to practice self-care as a business women. Let us know in the comments below what you do to care for yourself while you run your business!