October is Emotional Wellness Month. According to the National Institutes of Health, "emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life's stresses and adapt to change and difficult times." A key ingredient of remaining emotionally well is participating in regular self-care.
As a business owner, you likely know the importance of focusing on self-care. You may wish to make it a priority. Amidst the challenges of running a company, though, who has time to squeeze it in?
If you routinely skip taking care of yourself to focus on other priorities, business owners like Mark Bowers, founder of Blountville Family Eyecare, suggest rethinking that stance.
"I wish I had focused on self-care as I grew my business, but I didn't make it a priority," says Bowers. "This led me to burnout, which made it difficult to muster the necessary energy to effectively grow the business. This vicious cycle left me feeling like I was running on a hamster wheel."
Bowers rearranged his schedule to fit in self-care routines, which helped eliminate the burnout.
"Nowadays, I make it a priority to travel regularly," says Bowers. "Sometimes it's as simple as a drive through the country or a walk along the river. The time away helps clear my thoughts so that I return to the office refreshed."
The time you set aside for self-care also helps your employees, believes Stefan Weitz, CEO of Jetson, a dietary supplement company.
"Making sure that you routinely focus on self-care sets a positive tone for your team," he says.
Fitting Self-Care Into Hectic Schedules
Self-care sounds like a welcome change of pace, but how do you realistically fit taking care of yourself into an already packed schedule? The following business owners explain how they're able to do it.
"I find if I don't schedule self-care, then it doesn't happen. Of course, the best-laid plans never work out perfectly, but the key is that when I get out of sync, I have a plan to go back to."
—Nate Checketts, CEO, Rhone
"I time block my schedule on a daily basis. Throughout the day, I set aside 15-minute blocks of uninterrupted time to do something for myself. This can include reading, eating a treat, journaling and yoga."
—Nicola Knobel, CEO, My Inner Creative
"On Sundays, I schedule my week and put self-care into my calendar every day. Whether it's going to the gym, getting a massage or just taking a walk, self-care goes into my calendar and becomes non-negotiable. I also schedule one no-meeting day per week. I see this as a form of self-care, because I have a full day of uninterrupted work. That brings me a feeling of productivity and accomplishment."
—Amy Foley, co-founder, Inbound Back Office
"I schedule time blocks for self-care each day, as if they are business meetings. I don't tell anyone that the time blocks are for self-care, but I stick to the commitment to myself. These time blocks include attending spin class, walking on the beach, enjoying a quiet cup of tea in my courtyard or just quiet time in meditation."
—Violette de Ayala, founder and CEO, FemCity, and author of The Self-Guided Guru Lessons for Everyday Humans
"I am religious about scheduling self-care into my life and routine, just like it's a huge corporate meeting or appointment. I treat my me time as sacred and don't move it around on a whim. It takes a pretty significant issue for me to change my self-care appointments."
—Trent Evans, CEO, Puzzle
Make Self-Care Routine
"I dedicate time to self-care every morning. It's a part of my routine. I work out—preferably a full-blown workout, but even just 15 minutes of walking the stairs at the office is better than nothing. My daily routine also includes 15 minutes of mindfulness exercises."
—Page Pate, founder and trial lawyer, Pate & Johnson
"I find one of the best ways to make sure that I get some self-care into my day is by incorporating it into my morning rituals. Just like I brush my teeth, get dressed and grab a quick bite for breakfast, I include other habits that nurture me. These include listening to a favorite song, taking five minutes to journal and doing yoga. I find the secret is breaking self-care activities down into 5- to 10-minute rituals that can be completed each morning before I start my workday."
—Nate Masterson, CEO, Maple Holistics
"I ensure self-care by setting routines regarding free time in stone. This includes going to bed at a certain time. Initially, when I started ensuring that nothing compromised my routines, it was challenging. I found it difficult to drop things partway through to pick up later or the next day in order to respect my routine, but after a few weeks it became very natural."
—John Moss, CEO, English Blinds
"My self-care routine includes getting up early every day. I'm up by 4 a.m. each morning, which means I own my world for the next two hours. During this time, I exercise and then get ready for the day."
—Peter Shankman, host, Faster Than Normal podcast and founder, HARO
Plan Something Fun Every Day
"I try to schedule one activity that I love every day. Whether it is [having] lunch with a friend, [spending] time at the playground with my son or going to a wellness class. It's important to put these events in your schedule and prioritize them just as you would an important meeting or a deadline."
—Andrea Bertola Shaw, owner, The New York Website Designer
I find the secret is breaking self-care activities down into 5- to 10-minute rituals that can be completed each morning before I start my workday.
—Nate Masterson, CEO, Maple Holistics
"I fit self-care into my everyday work life by starting the day doing something I love. I read or write to get in the spirit of the day. As a writer and public relations practitioner, I don't always have time to juggle my professional writing responsibilities and ... journaling, writing poetry and reading for pleasure. My mornings are for those things."
— Kaylin R. Adkins-Staten, APR, Hourglass Media
Set and Stick to Boundaries
"I take the stance that self-care is the priority that everything else must be squeezed around. I set boundaries and non-negotiable rules when it comes to self-care. Look at your schedule as something that you own and manage it accordingly. Build in the protected blocks first, and then schedule everything else around it. Additionally, bow out of activities that waste your time and use that time for self-care."
—Aja Edmond, co-founder and creative director, Everesse
"I consider self-care an important value worth protecting. I have established boundaries to protect my self-care. This includes sharing my self-care calendar with those in my life, like my wife. When you share your self-care and document it, taking care of yourself becomes real and there is accountability."
—Carlos Hidalgo, CEO and co-founder, VisumCx
Keep It Simple
"Self-care doesn't have to be a big deal like a day at the spa. Self-care can be drinking an extra glass of water, standing up from your desk to stretch, taking five minutes to do a guided meditation on your favorite app or a mid-afternoon coloring break. Little chunks of time here and there throughout the day can add up to a huge amount of self-care benefits."
—Kriss Judd, owner, Kriss Writes
"I suggest eliminating the expectation that taking care of yourself has to be expensive and time-consuming. The two minutes you have before bedtime can be used to practice a visualization exercise. The five minutes that you're in the shower can be used to jam out to your favorite song and pump yourself up for the day. And the ride to work can be used for listening to a motivational or educational podcast."
—Jessi Beyer, owner, Jessi Beyer International
Read more articles on work-life balance.
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