7 WAYS TO PRIORITISE SELF-CARE.
Self-care is essential for everyone, but especially for the self-employed. With running a business at the front of your mind, it can be hard to prioritise. When your work is self-directed and motivated, it's down to you to take care of the most important tool at your disposal - you!
Here are my 7 favourite ways to support self-care at work:
Create space in your routine.
The sheer pleasure of self-employment means that you absolutely don't have to stick to working a traditional 9-5 day (and in fact, I advise you not to unless it really really works for you). It is however even more crucial that you set yourself some sort of working routine. It doesn't have to be rigid or the same everyday - but it should involve at least a small buffer between finishing work and winding down for bed.
A place to sleep is not a place to work.
Even if you don't have a dedicated room for your business, it's important to try and create some physical separation between work and rest. This might mean you set up a corner of the kitchen table or even a desk in your bedroom. It also means that working in bed should be reserved for a very rare treat. Creating at least some space in between work and sleep will help you to subconsciously switch off when you're in bed.
Social media is both work and play.
So be mindful of it. We're all guilty of trying to 'unwind' while also scrolling around on autopilot. If you're not actively engaging or posting on social media, give your eyes a break from that screen and put it down for a few minutes.
A hobby can become a business, but then it's no longer a hobby.
If you're lucky enough to have turned your hobby (especially a creative one) into a business you might fall into the trap of working ALL the time - because passion will do that to you! It's great! You love your job! But then, spoiler - you no longer have a hobby. If you need to - make sure you find a new hobby. Try a different creative thing, take up a sport, get really obsessed with a tv series, find a new favourite author. It doesn't necessarily need to be active (I'm all for passive hobbies), but it needs to be distracting and without stress (ie - not attached to your finances or feelings of self worth).
Fresh air is good.
I'm not a naturally outdoorsy person, but even I (reluctantly) admit that the days I choose to walk to the post office are often the days I feel better about. Fresh air should be daily if you can manage it - preferably received by actually being outside, though a big open window will do at a push. Blowing the cobwebs away with ten minutes outdoors can do wonders for your mood, and be very helpful at prompting problems to untangle themselves away from your desk.
Looking after your health is looking after your business.
Prioritise any health conditions or worries over your work. Take your meds if you need to, don't forget check ups if you're supposed to have them, and adjust your workload to suit your lifestyle. If you need to sleep ten hours a night, go for it. Same for afternoon naps. Extra sleep can boost your daytime energy levels and help with productivity. For food - taking the time to eat something vaguely slow-releasing and nutritious is a great way to help you stay efficient and on task (if you don't like cooking, can you split it so that a family member/housemate cooks alternately with you?). Stay hydrated, practice good hand washing hygiene (especially during winter bug season - which is usually neatly timed with the busy christmas selling period) and avoid picking up viruses!
Mental health is just as important.
Knowing yourself and the way your emotions work is helpful if you work alone or at home. Use this knowledge to develop some coping strategies to the things you feel vulnerable to (if you get lonely can you arrange to meet a friend and work in a coffee shop occasionally? If you get very stressed can you work out a way to unwind effectively using exercise or fresh air?)
Most importantly of all - if you need help, talk to someone.
Do you have any important routines or rituals you set to take care of yourself? How do you create space for you while running a business?