Meditation

Why Taking Care of Yourself Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur takes on so many roles in order to run a successful business, especially as an online creative. Blogger. Designer. Accountant. Marketer. CEO. This can be one of the greatest joys of running your own business, but also the biggest challenge. So how do you manage all this and not lose your mind? I’ve put together a resource to help with just this problem. Click through to read these helpful tips and access your free self-care resource and meditations.

Working to create a business and life you love can be the most amazing experience. You have the opportunity every day to create something meaningful and help others in the process. Indeed, when you hit your stride, running your own creative enterprise can be incredibly exciting and rewarding. When in the zone, you may have so much on the go but yet you still feel excited and challenged and passionate about what you do, and carried along on a contact high of productivity that it feels like you could go for hours without needing to come up for air.

But this is not always the way unfortunately. Being an entrepreneur can also be exhausting, frustrating and heartbreaking. You give so much of yourself to your work that coming up against challenges and continually not seeing results can leave you depleted and disenchanted. Add to this the countless hours you need to commit to getting everything done, as well as everything else in your daily life still demanding your attention, and pretty soon your health and overall wellbeing can take a beating. Feeling this way can fast become a slippery slope into overwhelm and before you know it your groove gets jolted and you have so much to do and not enough energy or time to do it. Your headspace clouds over and you feel buried by all the junk that life and work throws at you.

I totally get it. We all feel this way at times (sometimes all the time!) and in creating and working on my business I have had times when I’ve felt so overwhelmed and fundamentally challenged that I’ve reached the point of wondering if I should just pack it all in and go back to the 9-to-5 grind. Thankfully my loathing of my former ‘career’ and deep desire for freedom has helped me stay the course, but as I kept coming up against this cycle I knew I needed a way to stop getting to breaking point. I realised that digging myself out of a rut can take a lot of energy and patience, and while it’s totally possible, wouldn’t it be better to just avoid going there in the first place?

Are you feeling this too?

To help you out (because that’s what I’m here for!) I wanted to share some of the ways I know to help get back on track, and to stop myself from spiralling too far into a depression. Along with these tips, I have just created and launched a free (yep, you heard it right, free!) online email series to help folks, especially busy entrepreneurs, to take control of their self-care and get some quick strategies to get happier and able to get back to creating your world-changing empire more quickly. More about that at the end… (or you could just sign up now with this form below if you're keen:)

Okeydokes, here we go. Read on for some of my top strategies for improving your self-care today:

BOOST YOUR OVERALL WELLBEING

If you ask Google to ‘define wellbeing’ (and I did) the first result you’ll see is the definition that wellbeing is ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.’ Sounds like something we all strive for, and certainly worth pursuing, yet so many of us relegate our health and happiness to the bottom of our to-do list and treat caring for ourselves as either an afterthought or something that gets done if we ever get time. “Sweet heavens above, please let me find the time!” We long to take care of ourselves, but as a culture we don’t, or can’t, seem to prioritise it. We idealise an overloaded schedule and constantly strive to prove we can do, be and have more. No wonder we all get so burnt out! 

This behaviour is kind crazy and definitely counterproductive to living a good life. By being in the best state of comfort, health and happiness we are able to more present and engaged in our lives, and filling our time with a frenzied pace doesn't allow us to create the space we need to care for ourselves. When we truly take care of ourselves so much of the drama and overwhelm melts away, we're able to see improvements across all the areas of our lives. We have better relationships because we’re less testy and more present. Our work will naturally improve as our concentration levels are better and our access to creativity and innovation gets clearer. So, to borrow an old-fashioned expression, prioritising everything and everyone else in our lives before our own wellbeing is like putting the cart before the horse. In other words, the wrong way around!

Looking for a way to kick-start your journey back to wellbeing, but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’re doing ok at taking care of yourself but sometimes it gets away from you. Either way I’ve got you covered! I’ve created a meditation to help you stop the busy busyness of your work, your day, your thoughts, and get a wellbeing check in. The best part? It’s under 10 minutes long so is a great way to get started and not be too big a time drainer.

Get it here as part of the free five-day self-care series:

IDENTIFY YOUR DERAILERS

Similar to the point above, looking at your life and being able to identify what is not working for you and where you might have your priorities out of alignment can be the start of some beautiful changes.

One element of this is being able to recognise what keeps tripping you up as you work towards creating and living a great life. I call these ‘derailers’ as they knock you off track again and again. You’re cruising along, then wham, these elements crop up and before you know it you’re either heading in the wrong direction or have stopped moving forward completely.

Being able to identify these derailers will allow you to get back on track more quickly or, even better, stop from being derailed in the first place.

Derailers can be unconscious behaviours like popping into Facebook to check one thing and suddenly realising you’ve been on there for two hours, or hurdles and challenges you weren’t expecting (super common when you’re in business for yourself!). You may find that others are thwarting your efforts to get more done either through general distraction or by expressing their very present needs (such as a hungry child or a client who contacts you in a panic with an urgent project change or request).

When we become derailed from our original focus it can feel upsetting and frustrating, and add to this that all too often we can also feel disappointed in ourselves for not sticking to our original intention. We might become angry or short-tempered and the last thing we feel during these times is calm and in control.

Being able to identify these derailers allows us to get ahead of them and create strategies to lessen or even negate these obstacles. It may be as simple as adding 25% time allowance for every project you plan or setting a timer before you enter the murky time-sucking vortex of social media. Heck, even allow yourself time to check social media where you can just follow your nose and spend an hour there. This is not about denying yourself distractions, but rather it is a way of stopping distractions, disappointments and life from derailing your objectives. You're ultimately setting yourself up for a win, rather than allowing yourself to keep being knocked off track.

Want more tips on overcoming derailers? Check out my post on 5 Common Derailers for Newbie Bloggers

MEDITATION

I know that I find meditation super beneficial (when I remember to do it!). It helps still my busy, busy brain and allows me to find clarity when trying to solve a problem. I’m not alone here. There’s so much research to demonstrate the benefits meditation can have in our lives, health, happiness and so much more. I’m not going to bombard you with statistics and research, but here are few resources worth checking out if you have time:

I have a super active imagination and while this is often one of my greatest assets, it can also make more traditional, silent meditation a big challenge and kind of a drag. My thoughts just keep coming at me and I get annoyed that I just can’t get it together, and the thoughts keep swirling around and around, and thus the cycle continues. This feeling of frustration makes it hard to implement and stick with a regular meditation practice because there's no real benefit. This is where guided meditations come in. I find it so much easier to still my mind when I can be taken on a journey, and just allow myself to let go of my thoughts without having to do all the heavy lifting. I still get so much benefit from the experience but so much of the pressure has been taken off and I find this helps me maintain the desire to keep up the practice.

You know I've got your back, my friend, and I’m here to help you out. Like I mentioned above, I have recently created a couple of guided meditations as part of my free self-care series as I see these as really effective tools in improving wellbeing, and I want to help folks get the benefits of meditation without the hard work.

I’m really proud of how these turned out and feel like they really are the stars of the program. You should totally sign up for this series just to get your hands on them!

EMBRACE ACCEPTANCE

Acceptance is one of these principles we all understand, can see the value in and want to embrace, yet it is also one tricky little fiend. I would love to achieve acceptance in all things and move through the world like a zen monk, being untouched emotionally by others and their shortcomings, and generally being a loving creature. But alas, this is not simple. In fact, I think acceptance is one of the trickiest emotions to embrace.

Acceptance means that we allow something to be, without trying to change it or exert our will, or force something to be other than it is. This sounds simple enough, but when something or someone acts in a manner which is so contrary to what you believe it should be then acceptance can feel impossible.

However, acceptance isn’t about blithely embracing things without question. Rather, acceptance is taking away the anger and emotional attachment to an issue, and therefore freeing you up to focus your attention and energy in a more positive way.

If you’d like to explore how to better embrace acceptance in your life and business, I have a handy meditation to help you in creating more acceptance in your life, I have a whole section dedicated to this in the self-care series.

MAKE THE COMMITMENT. SHOW UP.

One of the best things you can do to honour your self-care is to continue to make the commitment to be kind to yourself, and actively engage in ways to improve your health, happiness and comfort. Not only will you find it easier to pull yourself out of a spiral into overwhelm before you're too far gone, but you'll find that you head toward these negatively feelings less and less because you naturally have a better mindset.

Will you let me help you get started?

In the self-care series I've put together some of my best strategies to help cultivate the right mindset for creating a better business and life. I know I’ve spoken a lot about the series in this article, but this is because I created it especially for the purpose of helping folks, especially bloggers, creative and entrepreneurs, to make self-care easier and allow themselves to enjoy the process of running a business and working towards creating an amazing life.

I wanted to make sure this series gave you resources to get ahead in the self-care game as well as tools you could use when you're in a bad headspace and need some help to get you out.

I'd love it if you signed up. I know it could help you improve your overall happiness and believe that when we are in the best headspace, we are able to create our best work and show up fully in life.

5 Quick Happiness Boosts for Bloggers

Calling all bloggers! Love your blog and your life with these 5 happiness boosts. Working on a blog can sometimes be a lonely, frustrating business, and I’m here to help you get happier and enjoy your work more. Click through to read these quick happiness boosters for bloggers and download your free cheatsheet.

You have passion. You have ideas. You have something to say. When it comes to this whole blogging thing, you’re in!

Although there is a lot to love about being a blogger, it is certainly not without challenges. When you're starting out on anything new your initial enthusiasm is enough to carry you through for a while but once you really start digging in, unexpected challenges come up and it’s easy to start questioning everyone.

Blogging is no different.

Let me tell you, I’ve been there my friend and am here to help!

I’ve looked at some of the most common happiness detractors for bloggers (newbies and seasoned!) and have put together happiness boosts to help you overcome these. Quick and clean, these tips have been designed to help you get more done by lifting your overall mood. Plus, by getting into good habits you’ll become an unstoppable blogging machine before you know it!

Happiness Boost #1: Step away from your desk. Go for a walk or even just look out the window. 

Sitting down all day can be a real happiness drainer. You may the day feeling fresh but before you know it you’ve been sitting in front of a screen for hours on end without a break. Your eyes are feeling glassy, your brain is muddled and your back (and derrière!) are sore from prolonged periods of sitting. When you get to this point it’s time to get up and move around

Getting up and walking around returns much needed blood-flow to your body and your brain, and helps straighten out the tiredness that comes from inactivity. Go outside. Get some fresh air. Or, if the weather is a bit crap then even just standing by a window will benefit you by extending the distance of focus for your eyes. Our cave-dwelling ancestors didn’t spend all day staring into the short distance, and this evolution means our eyesight needs to be stretched to long distances in order to not become strained.

Bonus points: get up and move around before you get to full fatigue.

It’s easy to forget to take breaks when you’re caught up in your work, so taking regular breaks will keep you from getting to this fatigued state. If you find you seem to forget to take a break, maybe you just need to schedule this in every hour or so. Your body and brain will thank you for it.

Happiness Boost #2: Meditate

Meditation is awesome and it’s not just me saying that. Research has shown time and again how beneficial meditation is in positively impacting anxiety, depression and stress, improving our relationships as well as helping to boost creativity, focus and happiness. No longer just the practice of monks and mystics, meditation has been adopted worldwide to improve lives and overall wellbeing. Taking some time out – even just a few minutes – can help focus your mind and reduce stress, and meditation is a great way to enhance the benefits you experience from a break.

Bonus points: practice every day for even more benefits

Bonus resource: Personally I really like guided meditation as it takes the pressure off me having to sit in silence and attempt to still my monkey-mind in full swing. Being able to hand my thoughts over to the process of just listening in really helps me feel calmer and more centred right away. It is because of this that I created a series of meditations to help with common work- and life-related problems, two of which can be accessed for free as part of my self-care series – a five-day email course that was created to help bloggers and online creatives implement a self-care plan in order to get more done.

Want to get these meditations? Enter your details below for access:

Happiness Boost #3: Daydream

I love me some daydreaming. I’m a big ol’ dreamer from way back. I love to just sit (or lay down!) and think, letting my mind wander all over the place. I adore exploring my mind for ideas on living an amazing life I love. The more I allow myself to stretch the possibilities of what I want and what I could create, the more intuitive I become. This holds me in good stead in shaping a meaningful life, and as a result I have some pretty amazing visions for my future, which in turn guides the work I do in the present to create these dreams.

I find it's important to let go of the ‘how’ when dreaming. Trying to figure out the ‘how’ only puts limits on what you envision and it is the expansive nature of daydreaming that gives you the best insights into what you truly want. Just go with the flow and see what you can come up with.

Sometimes when we’re working on the beginning stages of a project (such as starting our wonderful new blog!) we can lose sight of the bigger picture. Daydreaming can help you reconnect with the reasons why you started out on this project and help you fall back in love with it, instead of just feeling bogged down by all the work.

Bonus points: try journalling your thoughts

I love journalling and often find that my true thoughts magically start to appear on the page when I put my thoughts down in writing. I try not to question what I will write but instead just let it just happen. Intuition plays a big part here and I often leave a journalling session feeling less burdened and clearer on what to do next.

Happiness Boost #4: Get in touch with a loved one. Connect with others.

Spending so much time alone can be detrimental to our happiness. Loneliness and isolation quickly become regular features in our lives if we block out our relationships because we’ve ‘got too much to do.’

I’m speaking from experience here, my friends. I love spending time alone, but know that too much is not good for me. As I tend to be a bit of a homebody, having work I enjoy to keep me busy often means I don’t always book time in to spend with others. However, too long between catch ups with family and friends means I become grumpy and a bit depressed, not to mention feeling guilty that I’ve been neglecting my loved ones. I have found it’s better to just make this a regular priority, and get so much benefit when I do.

The trick is to find the balance between your commitment to your dream and taking the best care of yourself by cultivating your relationships. This may take time, but by taking time to be mindful you will naturally attune your intuition and recognise how much time you can spend alone before it becomes unhealthy and unproductive.

Bonus points: spend time in person with loved ones. Technology is fantastic at helping us humans stay in touch with each other but it will never replace the benefits we get from the eye contact, touch and connection we get from a face-to-face experiences.

Happiness Boost #5: Rest. Nap. Chill out.

Sometimes you just need to stop and switch off. If your mind reaches a point where concentration feels impossible, you’re not going to be able to get much done. Even if you’ve been loving the work you’re doing, your brain will eventually reach a point where it needs a break, and if you don’t listen in, your mood can go south very quickly. Taking a nap, reading a book or just doing something restful can help you reset your headspace and allow you to refresh a tired mind.

While it may feel counterproductive to stop work, getting some rest may just help you get your happiness back on track and allow you to return to your work feeling positive and re-energised.

Bonus points: sometimes you just need to call it a day. The work may feel super important and must be done as a matter of urgency but spending your time feeling jumbled and frustrated is not going to allow you to produce the best outcome, and if a break isn’t going to cut the mustard then maybe you just need to accept that you’ve done all you can for the day. If you do this, it’s important not to beat yourself up for not working – the benefits you get from stepping away from your work will be hampered by guilt and stress over not working.  Enjoy the break guilt-free, and return to your work tomorrow, refreshed from the space you've given yourself.

Want a handy reference of all these tips? Download the free cheatsheet below:

I hope these tips have helped you add a boost of happiness to your work and life. Do you practice any of these already? What is your favourite? Leave a comment below.