Solo-Entrepreneurs: Self-Care or Burn-Out. The Choice is Yours.
Have you ever felt like you lost yourself? Have you wondered where that playful, energized, and fun to be around person wandered? Perhaps the endless days and nights of starting and running your business has taken a toll on you, and somewhere in the mix of all these things, you lost the most important asset, you. Even more ironic, one of the reasons why you started your business in the first place was to have more time and be the “maker” of your life, schedule, and so on. With the planning, launching, and everything after that, you may find it difficult to find your cell phone, yet alone, yourself. As solo-entrepreneur life can get a little hectic, and losing oneself in the hustle of it all can be one of the biggest challenges. Time, deadlines, and resources can have a profound impact on self-care. It can either shift the value toward practicing self-care or in other cases, put self-care at the bottom of the list. My guess is if you're reading this, you fall into one of those categories, i.e. you proactively practice self-care, or you don't and are at or getting extremely close to a burnout. The purpose of this post is to provide you with a few easy steps to practicing self-care, and the intention is to help you, help yourself and those around you.
1. Check your mindset pulse. What is your current emotional state? Are you energized, drained, or somewhere between those points? Are there triggers that led to your current state? What are they? This will help you first to identify how you feel, what factors impact that state, and perhaps, identify whether or not your current state is positive or toxic to your well-being. Ideally, it is positive. However, having experienced a personal burnout in the past, I know that isn't always the case. I also know how hard it is to stop finally trying to take on everything and work on yourself. It is hard to focus on you. Whether, that be because your ego is in denial that there is an issue or that you value your self-care less than taking out the garbage. Seriously, the garbage? Yep. Stop, and check your mindset. Breathe.
2. Recognize your feelings. If you made it through step one without saying “this is dumb” or “I don't have time for this” then you are making headway. Next, recognize those feelings. For some, this may be a hard step because of putting oneself in the “numb to life” state for so long. Practicing self-care may take years to break through, but once you do, your level of awareness and empathy toward yourself and others will expand exponentially. You may do this exercise by simply sitting at your computer having a cup of coffee, or you may save it for later and write it down in a journal. However you go about doing it, be honest with yourself. Disregard your ego's burning desire to throw you off track. This is your time to work on you. Yes, work on you. There, ego, put that in your ego pipe and smoke it.
3. Don't walk away from those feelings. Making it through steps one and two is tough, but you're stronger and can do it (if you haven't already done so already). You started a business. You have experienced the rollercoaster of emotions as a result of starting a business and making a life – I know, there may be a little “laugh” there with the comment “making a life”. That is an indicator. Perhaps, you've put making a life on the back burner for making a living, and now you're in the state where the making the living is destroying any opportunity of making a life. It doesn't have to be, and you can have both. The biggest step to aid you in achieving that is not walking away from your feelings from this exercise. Denial has a wonderful way of showing up to derail logic. Don't self-sabotage by ignoring these factors and feelings. If a client came to you in need of help with a similar situation, would you get them to this point and walk away? No. Why would you do that to yourself?
4. Identify the things that matter to you. The practice of self-care is a lot to take in. I get it. I've been there. There comes a point in our lives that we must stop and identify what matters. Every person is different. So what matters to me is different for you. The key is to get honest with yourself. What matters to you? What is it that you want to have in your life? In a perfect world, how would your life look? How would you look? How would you feel? Write these things down. Meditate on it. Go for a walk and think about it. These things that matter to you are essential to practicing self-care. Identifying these things and then doing nothing is quitting. You're not a quitter. You're a doer.
5. Make the things that matter to you a ritual in your daily life. Yes, a ritual. The things that matter most to you are precious and daily participation in such activities are paramount to building the life you want. These things make up the life you want. In order to have the life you want, you need to make the time for things you want in your life. Setting aside the sacred time for these things is essential to creating the life. Time is the most valuable asset in the world. We are all blessed with the same amount of time each day. How we use it is how we view that asset. When you shift gears from making everyone else, including taking out the garbage more important than you, your self-care changes become a reality. Furthermore, you're that much closer to making your life while making a living.
6. Monitor your progress and be kind to yourself. Changes may not happen overnight. There will be times of being on track with self-care and times when it is harder. There may be times when you fall back into working too much and forgetting about you. The key is to be able to monitor your progress. Be kind to yourself for your accomplishments, and for identifying times that you may have struggled with your practice. It is okay. You are human. We are not perfect. The practice of self-care is not perfect. The more proactive and genuine you are to yourself throughout this practice, the more you can identify, adjust, and monitor your self-care practice.
In conclusion, practicing self-care is a necessity, especially for solo-entrepreneurs. You do not have to take on all of the issues of the world or all the issues of your business at the same time. You most certainly do not need to put yourself last. That is your choice. It is also your choice to practice self-care or put yourself in situations that lead up to a burn-out. The choice is yours. Small actions of self-care, can lead to big results in the quality of the life you want to live and the life you will actually be living. You can have balance making a living and a life. I hope these tips help, and if you have other suggestions, please comment below. I believe that if we can help one another feel better and have a better quality of life, even through the meaningful suggestions of self-care, we can make a difference in lives of others and our own.
“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom
in the direction you want to go is attainable,
and you are worth the effort.” – Deborah Day.
Have a wonderful day, and remember how blessed you are.
by Katie Doseck, PhD MBA
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC
Copyright 2015 by Viral Solutions LLC
Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner, Infusionsoft Certified Consultant and a Mobit Certified Partner. We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves – so business can be fun again.