How To Practice Self-Care As An Entrepreneur (Because Burnout Is Real)
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How To Practice Self-Care As An Entrepreneur (Because Burnout Is Real)

When you start your own business, the line between work and life can become very blurry—even nonexistent.

It can be so easy to pour yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally into the business to the point of burning out.

Shower and get dressed in the morning

This feels silly to say, but when you’re in control of your own schedule and working from home, it’s easy to dive right into work without ever getting showered or dressed like a normal human being. My advice is: Never skip this!

You’ll feel much better about yourself, be better prepared to go out for any last-minute meetings or walks around the neighborhood, and generally feel more like a normally functioning member of society.

Ask for help and delegate

I had a moment two months ago when I felt exceptionally overwhelmed, and realized I was taking on too much on my own. I literally wrote down, “Ask for help” in my to-do list. As a Type-A person and recovering control freak, I’m awful about delegation or acknowledging when I need help.

I recently overcame this and brought on a couple of amazingly talented people who are far better at doing what they do than I am, and it’s changed my life. Every two weeks or so, I will dedicate an hour to understanding the areas in which I am doing lots of small tasks that could be delegated to someone else.

And in most cases, that person would be very excited to take on those new responsibilities and projects. Another win-win.

Go outside in the mornings and get some vitamin D

I joke about this all the time with my friends who are freelancers or self-employed, but sometimes we forget to go outside until 4 p.m. in the afternoon! It’s such a small thing but it can be easy to get caught up replying to emails in the morning and boom—it’s halfway through the day and you haven’t stepped outside once.

One trick I use is to make going outside an actual routine every morning. I’m still learning how to incorporate this comfortably into my routine, because I hate going outside unless I’m perfectly kempt and my hair and makeup look acceptable for public consumption.

But, instead of putting on real clothes, I’ll step outside in my leggings and t-shirt, put on some sunglasses if I have to, and take a quick walk to a coffee shop or walk around the block. One other way to assure you get outside in the morning is by walking to the gym, or taking your morning phone calls while taking a walk.

Find a co-working buddy and/or a support network

Being a solo founder (or freelancer, even) can get lonely, especially if you work from home. I’ve felt this in recent months, so I’ve been trying to set up work dates with friends where we’ll meet at a coffee shop to get things done.

If you have a long-distance buddy who is also a founder, set up a weekly check-in with her to keep each other accountable, and also just to chat and share in the struggles of running your own company. Having a support network of people who can empathize with what you’re going through is key, and will really help you manage your emotional and mental health.

Create a “break” activity each day

I try to create routines that keep me out of my home in the mornings and/or afternoons, so that when I step back inside my home, I know that it’s time to relax and unwind versus feeling like I have to continue working.

Real talk though: More often than not, I will want to continue working into my “night shift.” Because of that, I’ve found that creating a daily “break” activity truly helps so that you don’t feel burnt out. For me, that’s going to the gym in the evenings, as it helps me break up my work days and provides health and mental benefits.

Take a vacation!

If you’re feeling burnt out, it might be time for you to take a vacation. No, I mean actually take a vacation.

When I traveled to Miami last month, I deleted many of the news, email, and chat apps that pop up in my notifications. I put a real “Out of Office” message up. I didn’t check Twitter. While it felt a bit isolating at first, keeping myself off these apps helped me feel totally refreshed when I returned. And guess what? The business did not implode on itself. Yours probably won’t either.

If you can manage, take a few days of rest, whether you’re headed to the beach or going on a day-trip. Starting your own business is an emotional rollercoaster, in ways I can’t even begin to describe. Add onto that the physical toll of working 24/7, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. If you don’t take time to take care of yourself, your business will no doubt suffer.

It’s a delicate balance when your life is your job, but sustainability is key. Take baby steps toward your goals every day, and feel positive and proud that you are creating something new out of nothing.

This is hard work and you have to remember that you’re brave for striking out on your own—never forget that!

Alisha Ramos is the founder of Girls’ Night In, a community and weekly newsletter for women who’d rather stay in tonight. Subscribe to the email here and follow on Instagram here.

January is Self-Care Month onGirlboss. Stay tuned for more stories on wellness, well-being and the ways we can all take better care of ourselves (and each other) in 2018.