This blog post was written by Jade Marie, a mental health and autism awareness blogger and valued member of The Independent Girls Collective. If you’re a member and would like to contribute a post to the IGC blog, email email@example.com.
Running your own business can be an emotional rollercoaster at times.
Don’t get me wrong I love having my own business and I can’t imagine ever wanting to change that, but there are times when things can get a little overwhelming and you need to take some time to look after yourself.
It can seem like a daunting idea to fit some self care time into an already busy day, but there are lots of little ways you can practice it.
The thing is, anything can be an act of self care and everyone will find something different that works best for them.
Sometimes you need to have a bubble bath and light every candle you own (which in my case is a ridiculous amount!), but other times it could be things like tidying up your workspace or putting a wash in so you actually have some clean underwear for tomorrow.
I try to schedule some time in my daily calendar dedicated to self care.
Sometimes it will be an hour halfway through the day to make a cup of tea and read a book, other times it will be 5 minutes every hour to get up, stretch and fill up my water bottle.
One of the best things about being self employed is being able to schedule your day around your own needs, so do what works best for you!
Have a lunch break
I’m so bad for eating at my desk while still tapping away and working; if I even remember to eat at all.
When I first started working for myself I would regularly end up skipping meals, and only notice when I started to get a headache and feel dizzy.
Not great for your productivity…or your health!
Now I make sure that I take at least a one hour break for dinner, that I eat it away from my desk and that I don’t touch my phone or laptop during that time. To make sure I actually do it, I include a “food + self care” section of my daily time blocking with a pop-up reminder so I can’t forget about it.
Get up and stretch
This won't apply to all businesses, but if you’re like me and you find yourself sitting in one place for long periods of time, standing up and having a stretch is vital.
Not only does this keep you moving and stop you from sitting in one place all day (something I’m guilty of doing way too often) but it also gives your eyes a rest from your screen; something that is also really important for your health.
I’ll normally fill up my water bottle, have a quick look at what’s going on outside my window and maybe run through a few quick and easy yoga positions.
Work somewhere different
One of the perks of working for yourself is that you can work wherever you want.
With my social anxiety I end up just staying in the house a lot of the time, but I do try to take my work to a local coffee shop or take advantage of the fast internet in my uni’s library at least once a month.
I’ve noticed that a change of scenery can help me feel more productive if I’m struggling with low mood or writers' block and that some of my best ideas come to me while I’m travelling to or from one of these places.
Plus it stops me becoming a social recluse and only leaving the house when I run out of milk for my endless cups of tea!
Get some fresh air
I’m a self-confessed and happy introvert, but even I need to get some fresh air every so often.
Going out and working somewhere different, or even just going for a walk around where you live is a great way of doing this, but sometimes leaving the house isn’t an option.
So on days like this, I’ll just stand at the door or open a window for 10 minutes.
I’ve found that taking some time to get some fresh air not only helps my mood but that it can also boost my productivity and help me get past writers' block.
Drink enough water
This can be easy to neglect at the best of times, even more so when you’re busy with deadlines and the million other tasks that come with being self-employed.
One way I make sure that I drink enough is to have a large reusable bottle next to me at all times.
I make sure to sip from this throughout the day, and even though it wasn’t an easy habit to get into I now end up drinking at least two full bottles a day.
Turn off notifications
This could be permanently or just for a set a few hours a day, but having some dedicated time away from your phone/laptop is a great way to take some self care time.
I decided last year that I was going to permanently turn off all social media notifications, as I was getting so many that it was becoming a distraction and I noticed I wasn’t getting anywhere near as much work done as I wanted to.
Plus it was seriously draining my phone battery!
Keep a journal
As much as I love being self-employed, running a business is hard. There are times when I feel stressed, overwhelmed and like I’ve not achieved anything.
At times like this, I grab my bullet journal and write down every little thing I’ve achieved.
Things like sending out an email to someone first (something I struggle with due to my autism), having a stall at a networking event and all the praise my latest client has been giving me for the designs I created for her.
Keeping a journal of all of these achievements and positive memories is not only a great way to track everything you’ve achieved in your business, but I use it as a tool to help my motivation and fight off negative thoughts when my depression tells me I’ve not achieved anything or that I’m useless.
What’s your favourite way to practice self care as a business owner?
Jade Marie is a mental health and autism awareness blogger who creates content aimed at educating and inspiring people through her personal stories, experience and outlook on life. She creates content on subject such as anxiety, depression and self care; both from a personal and business owners point of view.
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