You’ve got the clients, you’ve got the dreams, and you’ve got the plans. And you’ve got the packed schedule and dark circles to prove it all. You haven’t seen a vacation or slow morning in ages. And you can’t remember the last time you did anything NOT at warp speed.
This month we want to invite you to take a deep breath and loosen the death-grip on your calendar. Let us walk you through some encouragement and insight regarding life as a solo-preneur and how to take care of yourself.
Believe it or not, there are some things you can do right now to start taking better care of yourself and breathing a little easier. Here’s a simple list of ten things you can do today to prioritize peace and (gasp!) increase productivity.
Go For a Walka. And when we say, “go for a walk” we don’t mean walk around the block with your phone glued to your nose. Keep your phone in your pocket and make a couple of loops around the neighborhood. Start your day walking or jogging a trail at a nearby park. Cold outside? Throw back the curtains on a big window and stretch or practice yoga. A sun salutation would be perfect!
Drink a Glass of Watera. Yes, it really can be this simple. Staying hydrated is one of the most basic and easiest ways to keep your mind active and your body functioning. Those dark circles under your eyes may get a little better with adequate water. Try drinking a tall glass first thing in the morning. Yes, even before your coffee. There, I said it.
Open Your Windowsa. Guess what! Opening your windows will let in fresh air. Fresh air is good for you. Profound, I know. Fresh air awakens our minds, it lifts our spirits and reminds us that this world is so much bigger than us. There are other people out there with their dreams and aspirations, and we are all in this together. Breathe that air deeply, my friend. Inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. And then get back to work with renewed energy and focus.
Move Your Officea. You see it all the time: people working at the coffee shop, the library, or the park. Believe it or not, there’s a reason people do this! Moving your office just for the day to another location helps shake off the cobwebs and makes you look at your work a little differently. Being in the company of other people, even strangers, is perfect for reconnecting ourselves to the world we live and, in turn, to the work we do to make this place a little bit better through our work.
Make a Lista. You probably already do this, and that’s great. But sometimes we can get so caught up in putting out fires that we forget the things that are important. Of course, we don’t want anything to burn to the ground. Fire-putting-out is important; but, without a plan, it will end up being all you do. Start now. Right now and pull out a piece of paper or your calendar. Write down the top three things you need to accomplish today. Now write three additional things that would be good to complete. Now write three more things that would make you feel like superwoman if you got done but aren’t necessary. Sometimes, looking at our work in snack sizes to be consumed at a relaxed pace (rather than attempting to eat a buffet on a five-minute timer), can make a huge difference in your outlook.
Call Your Mom or a Trustworthy Frienda. Push away from your desk (when you’re done reading this post, of course), find a comfy place to sit, pick up your phone, and call that one person who “just gets you.” Have a conversation with the friend or relative that puts life into perspective, which makes you laugh, and the one that doesn’t take you too seriously. Share your thoughts or just talk about the magical return of Gilmore Girls (yippee!). It doesn’t matter. Just connect. It’s even better if you can have this convo in person. A smiling face and a warm hug are good for the soul. And when morale goes up, so does productivity. It’s a real win-win.
Schedule a Self-Care Daya. This one is one of my favorites. You (or your assistant) are probably excellent at packing your schedule with business trips, networking cocktail hours, early morning meetings, and afternoon power hours. So why don’t you schedule some time for you? That’s right. Make an appointment to take care of you. Personally, I recommend an over-priced morning coffee sipped slowly, followed by a healthy dose of retail therapy, then a full-body massage from a top-notch practitioner finished with a make-me-feel-pretty blowout at the salon. But you do you. Take a day to feel refreshed and calm again. It'll make you feel like you can take over the world.
Go to Bed Earlya. Going to bed early should be at the top of your list of “how to take care of me.” Your body needs sleep and, if you are like most functional human beings, you need about eight hours. Don’t skimp. You may be able to skirt by for a short period, but shaving off an hour here and there can do real damage to your body, your mind, your focus, your drive, and your work. So power down a little early tonight. Read a book -- like an actual book with a real cover and real pages. Put on your favorite pair of fuzzy socks and sip some chamomile tea. Soon you will be drifting to sleep and waking up with a fresh mind ready to conquer.
Get Inspireda. Our brains crave beauty, whether in the form of art, music, dance, etc. There’s a reason people will stand in line for hours to see David or the Mona Lisa. There’s a reason people pay top dollar for great pieces of art. It awakens the senses, renews our minds, and energizes our imagination. In other words, it’s good for you! The great news is you don’t have to travel to Italy or France (unless you want to!) to see or experience great art. Today, find a local art gallery to stroll through on a power lunch. Or check the performing arts schedule of the nearest college to cap off your self-care day you’ve already booked. Or, start right now and flip on the classical station on your Pandora. You won’t regret it.
Ask For Helpa. You don’t have to do it all. And, maybe, you shouldn’t do it all. If you look at all the things you need to do today, you will likely find something you can ask someone else to do for you. Maybe you need groceries? Have them delivered. Maybe you need to mow the lawn? Tell that neighbor kid you’ll pay him $20 if he does it. Maybe you just need a little help with laundry, cleaning up your desk, or taking the dog to the groomer? Call that friend, the one that just “gets” you, and fess up. I bet they’ll be willing to help.
And it goes without saying that we are always here for you. We are ready to help get your schedule and your life back in order. All you need to do is ask.
Taking care of yourself is not just good for you, it is good for business. In fact, research shows that burnt out workers are more likely to make irrational decisions. And, last I checked, irrational decisions aren’t usually ideal for business growth.
In other words, self-care is a good business strategy.
Self-care is not a one-size-fits-all formula, however. It is also not a magic one-and-done pill. It is the process of prioritizing peace, cultivating an attitude and an atmosphere that supports peace, and commitment to it.
What can YOU do today to prioritize peace?