When you're working to build a successful, long-lasting business, it can be tempting to put the needs of the company before your own health and sanity. With employees to manage, investors to find, and the reputation of your brand at stake, many entrepreneurs knowingly put taking care of themselves at the bottom of their priority list and accept stress as a temporary casualty of running a business.
The reality is that neglecting self-care becomes a habit that sticks with you long after your company is on its feet. It slows your productivity and, eventually, that of your employees, who look to you to exemplify company culture. If you put your health and wellness at risk, you put the health of your company at risk.
The good news is that it only takes a few small changes to start putting yourself first. Here are some tips that will help you nourish yourself while setting a positive example for the rest of your company:
1. Get moving.
Exercise produces endorphins, keeps your body healthy, and is a great way to clear your mind. Whether you decompress with yoga or take on new challenges in CrossFit, the simple act of moving can help create the mental space for new solutions to arise while increasing your overall motivation and competitive edge.
If you have difficulty finding time for exercise, start by taking fifteen-minute walks around your office twice a day. Make a goal to work exercise into your schedule. Find an activity you enjoy, because you're more likely to commit to it if it's something that excites you.
2. Make time for rest.
Many of us understand the importance of sleep, but most of us don't get enough of it. Increasing the number of hours you sleep will help you approach each day with a clear head and the ability to get more done in less time.
Burning the midnight oil can help you get things done in a pinch, but if it becomes a habit your overall productivity and the quality of your work suffer. When you put sleep at the top of your to-do list, you'll face the day with more clarity and energy to function at work and with your loved ones.
3. Spend time with people who enrich your life.
Do you have a mentor? Perhaps a close friend who encourages you and gives honest, helpful advice? Dedicate time to spend with people outside of your professional circles who can give you a fresh perspective on the challenges you're facing and the goals you want to meet. Seeking out a coach or group that you can meet with on a regular basis will help you stay accountable to your goals and provide support during difficult times.
If you're an introverted entrepreneur, the idea of making time to interact with more people than you already see every day may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be an extensive time commitment. Even an hour-long conversation with a trusted mentor or friend can provide the encouragement you need to keep moving forward.
4. Clear your desk to clear your mind.
No matter your working style, it's important to give yourself space to focus. If your desk is covered with papers, sticky notes, and other materials that draw your attention away from the task at hand, your productivity will drop.
Before you leave the office each day, take five minutes to organize your workspace so that you can easily find the important stuff when you arrive the next morning.
5. Treat yourself.
Even if you find satisfaction in your work, it's important to make time for the small things in life that energize you to keep going. Taking breaks in your workday to do things you enjoy (going out for coffee, reading a portion of a good book, or going for a walk) can rejuvenate you and serve as a reminder that life, inside and outside of work, is a cause for celebration.
Putting yourself first may seem counterintuitive to the success of your business, but keep in mind that you're at your best when you're healthy, rested, and energized to face the challenges ahead. Investing time in your health and wellness will help you and your company thrive.