We always talk about self care as taking a bath, reading a book, watching your favorite tv show, painting your nails, buying some doughnuts, going to the gym, getting a haircut, etc. We treat self care as something we can do that makes us happy when we are stressed or overwhelmed.
But what happens when the source of your stress and feelings of being overwhelmed stem from your business?
As I talked about a little before, there is this ‘hustle’ culture that permeates our society and as small business owners we feel it even more because every part of our business is (usually) run by us. We are the boss, the employee, the creator, the maker, the marketer, the designer, the writer, the social media poster, the bookkeeper, the photo taker...we do it all.
So when we get stressed or overwhelmed, we often turn to bits of traditional self care that involve doing something to make us feel better in the moment. We don’t usually stop to consider that our self care could be taking a small step back from our business. We are so conditioned to GOGOGO all the time. We are told you have to hustlehustlehustle 24/7 to be successful. That’s just not true. There is time to build your business and be successful without giving up all other parts of your life.
Yes, going super hard into your business will get you results faster, but slowing down doesn’t mean you won’t get to those same results. It just means you’ll get there a little bit slower. As mother run businesses, we have so many other responsibilities to think about. If we get overwhelmed by trying to balance mothering, household tasks, our relationships, and our businesses...sometimes something needs to be taken off the table or scaled back. Our children and relationships can’t really be minimized. Household tasks can be to an extent, I’ll admit I sometimes live out of laundry baskets or pull clean clothes out of the dryer until the dryers empty, but they can’t be ignored completely. That leaves our businesses and it sometimes doesn’t even cross our minds that they can be slowed.
So what are some ways we can alter our work in order to better care for ourselves?
+If you have a handmade or product based shop and are overwhelmed by orders, turn your shop off for a week and get caught up!
+If you run a service, see if you can hire an independent contractor to pass work on to when you are too busy! This is what I did in my pet sitting business as I approach the birth of my daughter and it significantly lowered my stress level, especially over the busy holidays.
+If you run a service where you are taking on client work seven days a week, make it a goal to only take clients during weekdays.
+If you make yourself available to clients 24/7, become more strict with your ‘office hours’ and let people know you’ll only be responding to messages during certain times. No one expects you to answer emails at midnight!
+If you routinely stay up late to work after the rest of house is asleep, set a limit for yourself. This can be anything from ‘I won’t work past midnight’ to ‘I will only stay up to work 3 nights a week.’
Don’t neglect yourself in the name of your business. I know it can be hard when you have a lot you want to accomplish and there are dreams you want to fulfill. But think of how much better you will feel at the finish line if you didn’t run yourself into the ground getting there! How much greater will your completed goal feel if you can look back at the process without resentment?
If you feel you have already struck a great balance and don’t neglect yourself while you hustle, that’s amazing! If you find yourself stressed on the reg about your business and overwhelmed by all you just HAVE to do, I’d like for you to identify one small change you can make starting today that will allow you to feel better and care for yourself more. This will look different for everyone. For me, I recently made the change that I would only stay up 3 nights a week to work.
So please, ask yourself: “What can I do STARTING TODAY to eliminate stress and help me enjoy my business more?” Figure it out, implement it, stick to it, and enjoy a less stress filled biz.
Yours in business and motherhood,