Self-care gets knocked around a lot.
People think it’s over-indulgent. That it’s a waste of time. That it’s an unnecessary expense.
But self-care – at least in the true sense of the term – isn’t about frivolity.
It’s about meeting your basic human needs so that you can stay happy and healthy.
And when you’re happy and healthy, you’re more energized and motivated in the office. When you take care of yourself outside of work, you have more resources to devote to your work.
Self-care matters. We know this because we can clearly see in the clinical research that overworking yourself and being constantly stressed out is a shortcut to all manner of health problems – health problems that can completely sideline your business, if you’re not careful.
If you don’t already have a self-care practice, it’s time to get one. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
They’re right, you know. You really should take a break.
A Bad Reputation: The Source of Our Opposition to Self-Care
For a lot of entrepreneurs and freelancers, self-care is a frivolous idea better left to the so-called influencers on Instagram. (#treatyoself!)
Problem is, we’ve distorted the meaning of self-care to the point that the people who need it the most are the same people to whom it appeals the least.
According to social media, self-care is spending money you don’t have on fancy things you don’t need so that you can impress people you don’t know.
That’s not self-care; that’s self-sabotage.
And for a lot of driven entrepreneurs, it’s this caricature of self-care that first comes to mind when we think of the term. Which is why we equate self-care with sloth, gluttony, and greed.
That’s a lot of deadly sinning right there.
Lord, grant us the Serenity. Just that. Just the Serenity. We’ve got it from there. Shiny.
Why Self-Care Matters: Because Your Business Depends on You
But what if self-care wasn’t selfish? What if self-care was actually a smart business strategy?
When your ability to support yourself (and your family, your contractors, your employees, etc) depends on your brain, mental wellness becomes an important priority. And that means taking proper care of yourself is just as essential to your business operations as answering your emails or filing your taxes.
Being constantly burned out, stressed out, wound up, and on the verge of strangling someone is no way to live. And if you’re not properly dealing with the many demands that running a business will place on you – if you don’t have a self-care practice – then you’ll end up being completely overwhelmed when things get busy. You’ll grow to hate your business and your life.
And that’s when you’ll be tempted to just go get a job.
But when you take care of your own psychological needs first – when you accept the fact that you are a human, not a machine, and you are not meant to work 29 hours a day every day until you die – that’s when you start feeling motivated. That’s when you start getting the brilliant ideas that will change everything. That’s when you learn to love your business – and that’s when your business starts to love you back.
We all know that one person who should really learn how to just chill out.
Easy Ways to Start Practising Self-Care Now
Self-care isn’t supposed to be difficult or complicated. Like most things in life, it’s actually quite simple, and we make it complicated.
Go for a walk. Turn your phone off. Spend quality time with someone you care about. Start dancing, even if you have no one to dance with, even if you’re not all that good of a dancer. Start volunteering. Find a new hobby. Take a spontaneous vacation – everything will still be here when you get back.
The world will not end just because you stepped away from work and let yourself be human for a few hours.
Self-care isn’t some hippie-dippie thing, and it isn’t selfish. It’s actually one of the best things you can do for your business.
How are you practising self-care today? Let us know in the comments!