Time and energy are two key components to running your own business. And, because you love what you do, it can be easy to put in hours of work without taking time to think about your own needs. But self-care is worth taking time for. The last thing you want is for motivation to wane due to a fast-paced, demanding schedule.
It’s okay for work-life boundaries to blur—in fact, that’s pretty normal for independent professionals. Just make sure that your needs take priority as well. Here are five self-care tips to avoid burnout and successfully run your business.
1. Schedule Time Off
Taking actual, dedicated time off from work (not just a few minutes here and there) can help lower your stress levels and renew your energy. Think about what type of time off feels best to you—is it a few hours every Tuesday afternoon, a full day once a month, or a quarterly one-week vacation? The good news is, you have a lot of flexibility as a self-employed professional. Taking time off simply requires planning ahead and being transparent with your clients.
Once you establish your set time off and set expectations with friends, family, and clients, enjoy yourself. Don’t feel guilty for giving yourself time to refresh and reset. Remember, the time you dedicate to your mental health will be reflected in the quality of work you deliver for your business.
Check out: How to Take a Vacation as an Independent Professional
2. Prioritize Social Interaction
A lot of your job probably requires interacting with clients and networking, which doesn’t leave room for much casual conversation during the day. Taking a few minutes to chat with a family member or friend can do wonders for self-care. Perhaps you want to talk through a client issue you’re dealing with or just need to talk about something other than work. Meeting up with a friend for coffee, lunch, or happy hour can be a great way to reset your mood.
Check out: How to Network with Your Peers
3. Get Moving—Any Way You Want
We all know how easy it can be to get sucked into answering a stream of emails or jumping from client meeting to client meeting without moving from your office chair for hours. Building time into your daily routine to get up and move around can have a positive effect on your mental health and productivity. Whether it’s walking your dog, going to a gym, or doing a quick 5-minute meditation, schedule a little time on your calendar each day to move.
4. Find Your Favorite Creative Outlet
Yes, you dedicate a lot of creativity to your work each day but that doesn’t mean you won’t hit a roadblock or simply need a change of scenery from time to time. If you’re in a work rut or just need to get out of the daily grind, find a creative outlet that speaks to you.
Home improvement projects, puzzles, writing, painting, or reading are all hobbies that you can easily pick up and put down to take your mind off of things whenever you need a change of pace.
Check out: 5 Books for Remote Workers
5. Work in a Space That Makes You Happy
Having a dedicated workspace is an important part of both self-care and daily productivity. If you work from home, where you work can help you maintain the important boundary between your home and work life. Whether your home office is an actual spare room or simply the corner of your living room, make sure you have the basics covered: a comfortable chair to sit in, good lighting, a reliable internet connection, and at-hand office supplies like paper, sticky notes, and pens and pencils.
Then, give your space a little personality. Decorating your area with family photos, a plant, or a cozy blanket will help you feel good going to work each day.
Check out: Create a Home Office with These 10 Tips