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Investing in Yourself as a Business Asset

As a business owner, your time is precious. It is very easy to put yourself near the bottom of your priorities when there are so many other pressing needs. Or, to deal with your stresses only when they threaten to boil over and you can’t ignore them any longer.

But would you treat any other business decision like this? Would you pay your bills only when the collector is knocking on your door? Wait to resupply inventory until your very last item has sold? Repair the leaking roof as soon as it caves in and no sooner?

As the owner of your business, you are one of its greatest assets, and a Healthy You is worthy of investment. Indeed, self-care is as critical to your business as selling your product and paying bills. Self-care keeps you going so you can keep your business going.

Put yourself on the list

It is easy to say you will make time for yourself (or for someone else to tell you to do so), but it is hard to actually do it. In the case of self-care, it is far more efficient to spend a little time now than burn yourself out and make up the neglected time.

Think of this as feeding your internal parking meter with intentional, self-focused energy so you can keep doing what you need to do. Regular refills are far less expensive than letting it run over.

First, create a schedule and stick to it as closely as possible. Establishing a routine takes some of the chaos out of your workday. It also highlights your regular ups and downs in activity and energy. Then, treat yourself like a valued client—set a regular appointment to check in with yourself. Avoid the temptation to cancel it, and schedule it offsite so you are not tempted to work through it.

The meeting agenda should focus on you. Go on a walk while listening to your favorite music or (not work-related) podcast. Use this time for some mindfulness and meditation practice, which can help to manage stress and strengthen focus. You can use the time to connect with a friend or to catch up on a book. As long as it recharges you, it is fair game.

Take note: this is not the time to catch up on emails or write your to-do lists. Also, avoid the temptation to scroll on social media or engage in “doom scrolling.”

Keep your body—and mind—right

You don’t have to be training for a marathon to reap the benefits of movement. When it comes to self-care, exercise is less about activating your body than burning calories or building muscle. If breaking into a sweat and pushing your body is rewarding, go for it! However, a walk around the block, light yoga and playing with the kids also get the endorphins flowing.

A similar principle applies to eating. Certainly, consuming healthy foods is good for keeping your body and mind fueled. But eating and preparing food can be a form of self-care and mindfulness all on its own.

Finally, get curious and keep your mind fit. Curiosity improves memory and learning, strengthens relationships and is positively correlated with overall health and happiness. Tap into your own curiosity with a TED Talk or online class, read an interesting article, learn a new language or take up that hobby you have always wanted to try. Flexing your curiosity keeps you open to new angles and possibilities in your personal and business life.

Give yourself permission

As business owners, we are often pulled in many different directions, and it can feel like there is never enough of us to go around. Taking time for ourselves can seem indulgent—irresponsible, even—when there is just so much else that needs our attention.

But taking time for yourself is giving yourself permission to break out of the scarcity mindset that says you are not enough and will never be enough. If you declare to the world and to yourself that you are enough, you are declaring that you are a valuable resource and worthy of investment. You are also giving yourself permission to be imperfect, to quit the comparison game and to set and respect your own boundaries.

In addition, give yourself permission to care for your mental health. It is normal and valid to feel overwhelmed sometimes. To get through this, mental health professionals recommend techniques such as focusing on what you can control, grounding, strategic ball-dropping and mindful meditation.

Finally, if it all becomes too much, give yourself permission to ask for help from colleagues, family and friends, staff or health professionals.

However you practice self-care, give it the attention and energy an invaluable business asset deserves. Investing in yourself means you are investing in what makes your business special—a Healthy You.