Self-care is a buzz word that is regularly thrown around, but too often it’s overlooked, not fully understood, or deprioritized. This is especially true for busy entrepreneurs or small-business owners, who have no clear start or end to their workday. Amid ongoing demands and stressors, it seems easy to put self-care at the bottom of the to-do list or to feel that it’s indulgent to take time off your schedule for it. However, self-care is anything but indulgent. It’s one of the most important things you can do to help you stay healthy, motivated, energized, creative, and productive. As a result, it’s crucial that you fully understand self-care and prioritize incorporating it into your daily routine.
Why Self-Care Matters
Self-care is anything you do to help promote mental, physical and emotional health. For many successful business-owners, self-care is the key to living a balanced life. Among its many benefits, it helps with managing stress, improving your overall happiness, keeping you motivated, maintaining a healthy weight, increasing your resilience, and making you a better caregiver. Further, it helps to reduce anxiety, stress, and burnout.
Self-Care Everyone Should be Practicing
While the right self-care routine looks different for every person, there are a few self-care habits that everyone should incorporate into their lives to improve their overall well-being, and to ensure that they are functioning at the highest level possible:
1. Build Healthy Sleep Habits
Sleep plays an integral role in how you feel both physically and emotionally, and it has an impact on almost every aspect of your life from decision making to energy levels to nutrition choices. Given the importance it plays in both your overall health and productivity, it’s critical that you prioritize healthy sleep habits. This means both allowing adequate time to sleep every day and creating healthy sleep habits to ensure that you are consistently getting a good night’s sleep.
Healthy sleep habits include a nightly routine that helps you to unwind and unplug, avoiding caffeine sugar and heavy meals right before bed, and establishing the right sleep environment that is free from distractions, dark, and comfortable. On the busiest days, it can be tempting to sacrifice sleep, but avoid falling into that trap and make healthy sleep a regular priority.
2. Prioritize Nutrition
Much like sleep, nutrition has an impact on many facets of your overall health and well-being. It’s important to eat regularly and to consistently eat well-balanced meals and snacks. Doing so helps you maintain a healthy weight, improves energy levels, prevents diseases, improves your moods, and increases both your focus and productivity. A few foods that are particularly good for self-care are fatty fish, blueberries, nuts, green leafy veggies, and broccoli.
On busy days, it can be easy to skip meals or to grab junk food or processed food for a quick meal or snack. However, taking the time to ensure that you have a consistently well-balanced diet is self-care that should never be overlooked.
3. Incorporate Daily Exercise into your Routine
Much like other self-care habits, exercise is an easy one to cut from the list. However, it’s hard to overestimate the impact that it has on your overall well-being. Exercising daily helps you to maintain a healthy weight and prevent diseases while also improving your moods, decreasing stress and anxiety levels, increasing focus and improving productivity. It doesn’t really matter what type of exercise you do, as long as you make it part of your routine. Many of the most successful businesspeople incorporate daily exercise into their routine and credit it with helping them to stay focused, sharp, healthy, and productive. So, whether you want to add a daily walk to the schedule or prefer to go to the gym, make sure that exercise is a part of your routine.
4. Learn to Say No
Learning to say no might seem like an unusual way to practice self-care, but it might be the most important of these self-care routines. Taking on too much responsibility or saying yes to too many engagements or activities will leave you burnt out, overwhelmed, anxious, and irritable. By learning when to say no and having the discipline to say no, you can ensure that you are not juggling too much, and that you have time to focus your time on what really matters. It can be uncomfortable and difficult to say no to things, but it’s an important skill to learn. Rather than taking on every new opportunity that comes your way, be discerning about what you add to your schedule to help improve both your mental and physical health.
In addition to these basic self-care habits, it’s a good idea to set aside some “me time” every day. Even in the busiest seasons, having 30 minutes set aside for yourself can be incredibly important to give you a chance to reflect, calm your mind, and do something you enjoy. This time looks different for everybody and should be used doing whatever you’d like to do whether that’s journaling, being outdoors, reading, cooking, meditating, or enjoying a hobby.
It’s easy to take pride in overworking or to consider it self-indulgent to take daily time for self-care. However, doing so is bad for your overall health and well being and your productivity. If you haven’t already, it’s time to change your mindset around self-care, and to recognize how important it is to your health and success.