There’s a delicate dance going on inside the strong, resilient entrepreneur. It’s called balance.
You have to be your own CEO, coach and cheer squad while you’re hustling the day away.
When I began running my own business, I realized I’m responsible for it all. That kind of grind can only last so long and, eventually, I found it more and more challenging to keep up the pace. I’m not the only one. New business owners, pumped up from starting off may even begin to feel deflated like someone is slowly letting the air out of your tires. The creativity will slowly be replaced with frustration followed by fatigue and a drop in motivation.
If motivation is the oxygen to feed the flame and if we’re running on empty, how will we achieve the goals we’ve set?
One of the most important pieces of our business strategy has to be an intentional self-care plan. We can’t kid ourselves into thinking we can just add a leisure day whenever we like. I know if I’m starting to fizzle or finding the Monday morning blues showing up on Sunday night, it’s time to take action.
Changing a rut or routine is hard, period. Yes, being an entrepreneur means challenging yourself. It’s still a tough mindset change to acknowledge you’re the only one that can give you permission and make the shift to improve your body, mind and spirit.
Here are some ways we can use self-care to increase and maintain our motivation through the week:
Take Your Shoes Off
When we’re feeling disconnected to our work and life, we can recharge and give a boost to our energy simply by walking barefoot making contact with the earth. This technique is known as earthing or grounding. It has so many benefits physically, emotionally and spiritually. Connecting by foot with the earth could mean walking on grass, the beach, or snow on the ground (okay, take a deep breath for that one and don’t stand still or stay out too long).
Our feet are one of the most sensory parts of our body and once you touch the earth, it will help disrupt busy thoughts and may help with supporting body discomfort and healing. It can be quite meditative and relaxing. If walking barefoot is not quite your cup of tea, then lean against a tall tree and breathe deeply. I know it sounds whoo-hoo but really, it’s a lovely experience and a healthy way to take a break.
Go for a mid-day run or take the dog and go for a stroll, fresh air is beneficial and you’ll give your mind a break plus it’s good for your waistline and your heart. Leave the earbuds out, take some time to listen to what’s around you and admire the landscape. If you’re a chronic multi-tasker and can’t be without your earbuds, then why not try mindful walking to help empty your brain and connect to nature while you’re taking a break outside.
Jump for Joy
Invest in a mini-trampoline for your office. While I’m waiting for an app to load, a meeting to start or taking a Pomodoro break, I jump for a few minutes on my Bellicon rebounder. It’s fun, mood changing, good for my body and resets my mind so I can go back to what I was doing feeling slightly refreshed, ready to focus. It’s the best investment I’ve made for office equipment.
Take Time to Smell the Plants
Or, like me, essential oils. I’ve been using naturally sourced oils for the healthy support of my body, mind and environment for over 25 years. Before I begin work, I set up and turn on my diffuser. I add a couple of drops of oil that help with focus, alertness and keeping the air fresh and clean. Sometimes, I’ll use a drop or two along with a carrier oil in my hands and enjoy the scent for a quick burst. Aromatherapy and the use of scent within workplaces for mood, behaviour and performance have been well documented. It’s an enjoyable way to reduce stress, shift a mood swing and increase your productivity.
Take a Siesta
Are you getting enough sleep? This is the number one key to optimum health, motivation and success in your business. Most entrepreneurs struggle with this one, plagued by mind traffic, working late and not using a proper sleep ritual. Consider taking a short mid-day nap or siesta. This practice has long been employed in a variety of countries where they close up their businesses, have lunch followed by a brief nap. Even just taking 20-minutes could boost your mental alertness, productivity and a whole host of other benefits.
Grab a Virtual Cuppa
Get together with a work colleague, a good friend or meet someone new. You can meet via an app like Facetime, Skype or Zoom, head to a coffee shop or simply get on the phone. Scheduling time with an accountability partner or mentor is another helpful way to re-group and regain perspective. Make a pact that you’ll both respect a time limit and keep it positive so that it’s a chat that supports you both. I like to close the conversation with a celebration of success and what we’ve both accomplished. Gaining a little clarity about your work and fixing what’s not going right can increase your motivation to get you moving in the right direction.
Avoid the rough vortex that is sugar and caffeine to perk you up. When working for ourselves, sometimes we skip proper meal breaks and nibble away at sugary snacks (hello, HobNobs with Dark Chocolate) like a mouse at the keyboard washing it down with a lukewarm cup of tea or coffee or guzzling energy drinks. As you’ve read a million times before: drink more water, limit your caffeine and cookies and try to add a smoothie or two into your week, along with eating more plant-based foods. A habit tracker (app or on paper) is a perfect way to stay on course with creating a new routine.
If you haven’t discovered the hidden benefits of doodling or drawing, I’d recommend it. If you’re a professional stick man artist and want to expand your techniques, one of my faves is Sketchbook Skool. This online community is full of lovely people that enjoy drawing, no talent measured and there are online courses to take with inspiration abound. Other forms of creativity can be watching a Ted Talk, reading a book or listening to a few tunes or an episode of your favourite podcast. Fifteen minutes of creativity will help supercharge your brain and improve your mental clarity.
Get a Massage or Relax in a Flotation Tank
These kinds of breaks might take a bit longer but the health benefits are lasting. It’s a moment of quiet that will help you relax and maybe even give you some time to daydream a few more ideas. I like to do this one at the end of my week so that when Monday rolls around, I’m ready to charge ahead.
It seems contrary that doing all these ‘non-work’ things will actually help you get more work done.
Think of motivation as a renewable resource.
Take time for self-care is my surefire advice for staying motivated as an entrepreneur. It will help replenish and rebalance, and help you build momentum for your projects. On top of all this, I recommend using the right tools in your business along with improving your skills and taking time to plan your week (and sticking to the schedule) to help with keeping your motivation levels up.
Tough, yes, but the benefits in the long term will be worthwhile.
I help entrepreneurs and business owners just like you keep pressing forward to achieving a balanced lifestyle. Our virtual partnership can help you focus on your zone of genius while I help with the day-to-day of your business, giving you more time for self-care and the things that matter the most. Learn more.