Compiled By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada
This Sunday, July 24th, marks International Self-Care Day. Self-care is the care provided by you, for you and is all about identifying your own needs and taking the necessary steps to meet them every day.
As entrepreneurs, we are usually leading chaotic, non-stop lives, and because of that, we forget the importance of taking time for ourselves (outside of our business). Having a good work-life balance can have more than just benefits to yourself, both mentally and physically, but can also benefit your business.
To spread awareness about how important self-care is to entrepreneurs, and all the busy bodies out there, we chatted with some of our Futurpreneur’s about their self-care practices and how they keep their health in check even on top of balancing their own businesses.
As an entrepreneur I understand now more than ever that everything rides on my health. In order for my business to run efficiently and have the stamina required to do it all, I need to be in great shape… both mentally and physically. My self-care practice includes a combination of: running, yoga/meditation, Elle fitness classes, Lagree and spin. I typically do five of these per week and find that mixing up workouts keeps it interesting, dynamic and fun! Beyond all the well-known physical benefits exercise has to offer, it has also been consistently linked to significant improvements in mental well-being, cognitive functioning and better sleep. All huge value adds!
Emotional well-being is also extremely important to me. I make sure to carve out meaningful time each week for hanging out with family and friends. That is real soul food! Speaking of food… I am a firm believer in everyone taking a proper lunch break at work. No matter how busy we are at the RADLEY studio, we always make sure to step away from our desks and recharge over lunch. This mid-day break allows us to come back with a clear head, more relaxed and ready to take on challenges with a fresh perspective. Let’s bring back the lunch break today!
I don’t think I really understood what being busy meant until I became a full-time caregiver. My husband suffered a traumatic brain injury from an ATV accident, and suddenly I was working with a care team, participating in therapies, managing finances, attending endless appointments, etc. Despite everything that I had going on, I was determined to help other caregivers, which inspired me to start my own business. I had so many goals and so many responsibilities, that I quickly learned I had to care for myself to prevent being overwhelmed and exhausted.
This led me to develop a self-care plan for myself. I needed to include some routine habits that would enable me to stay focused, energized, and organized. Getting fresh air on a daily basis was really important for me. Even if it was just a brisk walk around the block, I needed to get outside to de-stress and stay focused. I also found that getting 20-45 minutes of exercise increased my energy levels and kept my motivation up. Finally, journaling was a great way for me to set goals, evaluate my progress, and let my feelings out. These three self-care habits kept me healthy and productive despite a really chaotic schedule.
Self-care is an extremely important aspect of my life. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, one must take care of yourself first in order to be able to give the most to others.
Every morning I take the first hour to drink water, move my body, and meditate, in that order. My movement practice in the morning will range anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes and my goal is to communicate to my body that it’s a new day. Following this light movement session I do a 30 minute meditation. No mantras, no music, just me and my thoughts for 30 minutes. Being in the present and surrendering to the moment.
This morning practice has been crucial from keeping me feeling burnt out or overwhelmed with all the tasks and unknowns that are inherent in a startup. Not to say that that doesn’t happen anymore; that’s part of what you sign up for when you choose to run your own business. However, when it does happen, I have a practice that allows me to stay grounded and go back to what I know keeps me fresh and focused on my business.
To recharge and feel happy, I have learned, accepted, and adopted new methods to help me cope with the challenging, and sometimes overwhelming nature, of starting and maintaining a new business. Such remedies have included:
All-in-all, I encourage all entrepreneurs to seek healthy remedies that are both enjoyable and manageable. Take time for yourself, because at the end of the day, only you can ensure that you are living life to the fullest.
When I am busy, which is often, I find staying physical fit and achieving healthy work-life balance to be the two aspects of my life that suffer the most. It is so easy to stay inside and work an hour longer, and then repeat for a few weeks and have a new (bad) habit set in. So, what’s my solution to this?
I get up two hours early! I get up at 6am rather than 8am. This changes my life in a number of positive ways. It feels like I have an extra two hours in the day, so my work day can safely stop at 5pm, or even earlier, and it gets me up and eating quickly in the day, which sets my mood and metabolism to a healthier state. It also gives me plenty of time for a morning workout, which removes the need to find time for it at the end of the day. This process gets me moving on my work faster and snaps me out of feeling behind, which is emotionally draining—I feel ahead of the game instead! And the after-work rest of the day is mine to enjoy.
I could add that work-life balance, or balance of any kind, is not something you achieve and have forever; rather, it is something you have to actively maintain and coordinate. It is easy to slip back into old habits.
I often find myself working from the moment I wake up, to the point where my brain can no longer function anymore (sometimes this goes on until midnight). With that said, despite always wanting to do more, there are a few things that are non-negotiable in my daily activities.
I strongly believe that treating my body well will allow me to perform and make smart decisions every day. That’s why every day, since I started this business, there are two things I’ve never failed to do. The first is eating a big, healthy and filling breakfast. These can sometimes take 30-45 minutes every morning to put together, but they’re worth it because they fuel me and keep me energized for the day. The second item is going to the gym. The gym allows me to take my mind away from the business for at least an hour, and empty my thoughts. Despite usually feeling physically beat up afterwards, I always come home refreshed, recharged and clearer on what I need to do.
Finally, I’ve recently started making a point to try new things. Whether this is a new festival that I’ve never been to or simply a new restaurant, the excitement of trying something different changes things up from the mundane, day-to-day tasks in business.
It’s not always easy to find a work-life balance but having a business partner to help shoulder the burdens really helps because we have agreed to always be watching out for each other and make sure that the other is getting sufficient time away from the business. During the heavier weeks, I do my best to call my wife, but I always make sure that if I’m going to talk to her, she has my full attention. It’s not difficult to find 5-10 minutes in a day to focus on loved ones. Never let your loved ones feel like they’re less valuable to you than your business. When you spend time with them, be there. Put a measure into place that allows you to step away from the business for a short time; don’t take work calls at family dinner. It’s the little things that add up and they’ll help you feel more relaxed. In the end, the main thing that helps me find balance is open and honest communication 100% of the time. I find honesty lends itself better to others understanding.
What I like to do is I usually take Sunday’s off as a day to truly devote to myself and rest, recover and recharge. On Sunday’s I like to do as little as possible, I read, watch TV, and do something interesting or stimulating. Maybe go to a restaurant, visit some sights or just head out around town or to the country with my girlfriend. Sunday’s are also a rest day from my ongoing self-care activity of going to the gym, which I do six days a week. Lastly I believe exploring the world through travel is good for the soul, business, perspective and just overall well rounded character. There is no better education than travel and it applies to all areas of your life.
Starting an adventure tourism business is my life dream. When the tours and adventure stop there is tons of work to do, not to mention the two years of financial planning, insurance policies and license applications before I even opened the doors.
Although the ideal of working for myself and not having to answer to a boss is great, the long hours and tough work life balance can be a challenge. One of the toughest aspects for me is that I would really like to do some more traveling, but finding the time and money will be very difficult. I am working to make the seasonality of my industry work to my advantage, along with using applications and technology to make a lot of my off season tasks possible from anywhere in the world. License renewals, wholesale contracts and launching advertisements is more and more achievable from anywhere with mobile internet, tablets and applications like Google For Work.
Embracing the same applications and tools everyday allows me to keep on top of my workload while hanging out with friends and making sure I live the active lifestyle that defines me.”
Self-Care is a constant conversation (and balancing act) for an entrepreneur and mom of two busy children. In the last year I have started many different self-care practices, and I notice a difference in my productivity and peace of mind when I am consistent with them. A healthy, happy mind serves my company as much as it does me! These are my favourite, and most effective practices:
1) Yoga, even small 10-15min intervals of yoga and breathing make such a difference!
2) Eating healthy- having frequent small meals/snacks that include some form of protein or healthy fat.
3) Setting business hours AND sticking to them, keeps me productive, ‘on the ball’, and not stressing about the company ALL day and night.
4) A monthly massage is amazing to decompress, relax, and think of nothing.
5) Making sure I set time to socialize with my favourite people, great for self-care, and also sparks many great business ideas in the process.
6) Winding down and treating myself to a hot cup of detox tea with honey at the end of the day to celebrate my accomplishments… wine also will suffice!
A little more than two months to go until my online sustainable fashion shop officially launches and I’m already thinking about how I’m going to stay healthy and calm during this (what can be) a hectic time. After all, I’ll still be working full-time until my business has grown enough in the next few years to sustain me financially.
After spreading myself too thin over the course of my twenties with multiple jobs held at the same time, double-booking myself for events and saying “yes” to just about every opportunity that came my way, I’ve learned to keep things as simple as possible. I know that working out at lunch is the best way for me to commit to a healthy exercise routine. Evenings are just not realistic for me, but I can easily hop over to the gym across from my work three times a week and get an extra burst of energy to carry me through the afternoon.
I’ve also committed to getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night. I know, what? No sleepless nights slaving away at my computer? Nope. My business is a slow fashion business and I’m going to run it within this same slow, sane, healthy model. But, I know that in order for me to feel okay about heading to bed at a reasonable hour, I need to rely on online tools to automate as much of my business as I can. Doing this will give me the mind space to properly run a successful business and be present with family and friends. What’s the point in running a business if you can’t enjoy yourself while doing it?
What are your self-care practices? Share on Twitter by tagging @Futurpreneur and using #SelfCare.