Being a freelancer is hard work, there’s no doubt about that. But, if you’re doing it right, it’s also incredibly rewarding. Still, sometimes in our effort to grow our businesses, we can forget something very important: ourselves. In this post, I’m going to share my top self-care tips and habits for how busy entrepreneurs like yourself can stay healthy and happy, so you can continue growing your business sustainably in the long run.
Prioritize your mental health
As a business owner, you are likely to be juggling a lot. Between different projects and dealing with clients, you may find yourself working long hours with little time to yourself. I know that I tend to prioritize everything else and can sometimes put myself last, so it’s important to make sure that you leave time for yourself. This can mean different things for different people; whether going for a walk alone, taking some time to meditate, or adopting a journaling habit. At the moment, I am trying to make sure that I have at least thirty minutes every day that are just for me. Sometimes it’s gentle yoga when I wake up, or journaling before bed to get the impressions of the day out of my mind.
Make exercise a habit
The importance of exercise cannot be overstated, but very easy to overlook. Exercise is known to reduce stress, improve sleep quality, help improve mental health, and boost energy levels. As many of us probably sit down for long periods of time working on our projects, exercise is even more important. Personally, I’ve never been super athletic and sports generally don’t interest me. However, I make it a point to do some form of exercise at least three times a week. I’ve found a few things that I really enjoy, like spinning, yoga, or swimming, and blocking my calendar helps ensure that I keep my exercise promise. I recently joined Urban Sports Club and am really enjoying that I can go to different gyms, either close to my home or the office.
Find a creative outlet
Your work as a freelancer is demanding and can be all consuming. It’s important to find ways to relax and recharge without constantly thinking about your work. Having a creative outlet is so important, because it gives you a different way of expressing yourself. Personally, I love working on photo albums and scrapbooks of the trips my partner and I have taken. It’s a way to be creative while reminiscing about special times we’ve shared. If you don’t feel particularly creative, maybe your outlet can be doing pottery with friends, or making a card to send to your loved ones. I find that focusing on something creative is another way of mindfulness because I’m not thinking about my work or any upcoming deadlines that I need to meet.
Schedule time for socializing
Being an entrepreneur can be lonely. Often, you are the only person in your business and when you’re not working, it can be difficult to find someone to talk with about what’s on your mind. Because there are so many opportunities and things to work on, it can be easy to get tunnel vision and not prioritize seeing friends. But don’t forget, having a strong support network of family and friends is important!
I would also recommend joining a coworking space if you’re working alone. Doing so has helped me network, and I now have friends that I see every day. When I’m stressed, I know I can bounce ideas off of someone and get advice if needed. You might also find it helpful to join a network to meet other like-minded people, or go on a work retreat to meet other freelancers.
Prioritize taking time off
Remember, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of your business. If you don’t take time to recharge and refuel, then there’s no way that you’ll be able to do your best work for long. In the beginning of my freelance journey, I felt that I couldn’t take time off because that would have a negative impact on the money I would bring in. However, now I block time off in my calendar and try to schedule long weekends once a month to make sure I have time for myself as well. It can feel daunting, but I also think that what draws people to freelance or self-employment is having complete control over our time. Make sure you make the most of this!
While being a freelancer or owning a small business may be your dream job, it’s not always easy. You might feel pressure to work all the time and can even find yourself sacrificing your physical and mental health in order to keep your business afloat. Don’t forget to prioritize yourself and make sure you take time to also do things outside of just work 😉