For many women in business, the thought of taking care of your personal needs is probably lower on your list of priorities than it should be. It’s instinctive to look after others, care for the children, or in my case, a parent.
We’ve all heard about self-care, and I’m sure most of us actively practice the basic elements of self-care in our daily lives but do you associate care of yourself with business success?
Where your work is concerned, I’m sure you have felt obliged to work all the hours you can to build and grow your business. If you’re a solopreneur, you are the company’s start, middle, and end without a team to delegate to or support you. However, this determination often comes at a detriment to your health and well-being.
If you work in a large organisation, you may be fighting your way up the career ladder and spending time supporting others. What about you? Does your company have a health and wellbeing programme to support you?
You may have heard self-care authors or speakers refer to the oxygen mask as a key factor in self-care. When on an aeroplane and the oxygen masks drop from the compartment above, you are told to fit your own before helping others. Looking after yourselves first and foremost needs to become a priority.
Managing your self-care to fit around your business, your career and personal life is vital, so why do so many women in business experience burnout before realising this important fact?
A few months ago, I shared a post on LinkedIn about packing five days of work into four days because of a bank holiday. The extra work wasn’t done because I had to or because I was stressed. It was done because I love what I do. However, there was a time when I did feel low, stressed, and tired. I used to dread waking up in the morning and going onto the office. Clock watching became an obsession. Can you relate to this?
“I’m the author of my own destiny, and I have the power to make the changes I need” – that’s what I began telling myself. If I don’t like something, I change it. My self-care became a priority, and it’s something I take seriously.
- Do you want to make changes?
- Are you ready to make self-care a priority?
Become better at looking after your personal needs, and you will see the benefits of this in your business life. If you don’t look after yourself in business, how can you be expected to look after your clients?
Move more – getting regular exercise is well known for its physical health benefits, but the impact a simple routine can have on your mental health is also worth recognising. Richard Branson often talks openly about how much he can get done in a day by keeping fit, associating his career success to the importance of his health and fitness.
What exercise can you fit into your daily routine? How about a walk for 15-minutes at lunchtime, joining a walking or swimming club, or even lifting cans of tinned tomatoes as you watch the TV? I love walking my dog as it gives me the time and space to enjoy being outside and creative thinking time.
Say no – Sometimes, it can feel like you are hardwired to say yes to everything, even if you don’t necessarily want to. When faced with a situation you would rather not say yes to, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable, but the refusal sticks in your throat for fear of upsetting or angering anyone. Repeat after me – it’s okay to say no!
When you fill your diary with Zoom calls, meetings, and events, it can begin to drain your physical and emotional energy. I took time off after the Woman Who Achieves Awards because I knew how full-on my calendar had been leading up to the event. I used my self-care strategy of saying no and gave myself time to regroup.
“Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish. Anybody who gets upset or expects you to say yes all of the time clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Always remember: You have a right to say no without having to explain yourself. Be at peace with your decisions.” Stephanie Lahart
Keep learning – We have an amazing community of ladies here at Woman Who, and many of them are authors of books that nourish your soul and entertain your mind. Not only have many of our female entrepreneurs published their own books, but they have also shared inspirational stories in the I Am a Woman Who series of books.
Reading personal development books allows you to keep learning and to improve on your self-care strategies. There are so many topics that can offer you life-changing techniques, from meditation, NLP, nutrition, and mindfulness, to time management and productivity.
Do you have a favourite personal development book? Why not recommend it to a fellow woman in business, or start a business book club in your industry?
Find your tribe – Community and networking might not be the first thing you consider when talking about self-care, but never underestimate the power of sharing your struggles or concerns with like-minded people. As solopreneurs, you may be working all day, every day isolated in a small office or working from home, only interacting with people online. That isolation has a long-term effect on your mental health. Speak out. Ask for help and support.
The Woman Who Achieves Community prides itself on offering support at every stage of your business journey, and that includes caring for yourself as well as your profit and loss.
“Since becoming a member of the Woman Who Achieves Academy, I’ve built some fabulous relationships and gained valuable business knowledge and skills through attending the weekly and monthly networking events. I’ve got the opportunity to share my story in the next Woman Who book and became a Finalist in the Solopreneur awards. None of this would’ve happened had I not made a decision to invest in my personal development. I can highly recommend the membership which is a one off lifetime investment which allows you to grow, develop and achieve business success with like-minded women and learn from Sandra’s personal experience which is incredible” Claire Cahill, Accendo Coaching
Me-time – Yes, your business is important, and working on it helps you stay focused and driven to achieve the success you deserve. However, you must create time away from the business to support your self-care.
Carve some me-time into your schedule and give yourself the time and space to have fun, be creative, step back and breathe. Your business will thank you for it.
When was the last time you went to the seaside or a theme park? How about sitting down to read a book, have a bath, or potter in the garden? Me-time can be as simple as journaling, going to the cinema, or having a leisurely coffee before starting work. Find your favourite way to include me-time into your self-care strategy and stick to it.
Supporting your self-care should become as important as brushing your teeth, but it can take time to work out what strategy suits you and your life. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
The Woman Who community is here to help you. Join us online on Monday 8th November 2021 for the Woman Who Inspires Online Network. We’ll be chatting all about Self Care.