Why Self Care Is Essential For Entrepreneurs

When we think of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, we often list attributes such as ambition, ingenuity, and uniqueness of character. And while these are certainly the qualities of a true innovator, the less publicized side is quite simple: they all make time for self care. 

Whether it’s self-mandatory down time, striking a healthy balance between work and personal commitments, eating well and exercising, or practicing daily mindfulness, the greatest minds of our time also understand the importance of taking care of themselves.

Regardless of the stage you’re at in your own career and business-building goals, self care is an inarguable must. And fortunately, it’s easier to obtain than you may think. 

Here we’ll discuss why it’s so important to take care of yourself both on and off the clock, and the steps you can take to achieving success both at home and on the job.

Making Time For Personal Time

Principal Microsoft founder Bill Gates once revealed that he takes a twice-yearly “think week,” retreating to a cottage in the forest to quiet his mind and allow for new and unforced inspiration. 

You may not have the means for such lavish measures, but there is a well-founded truth in making personal time to check in with yourself, recharge, and balance work demands with personal needs. Taking an hour each evening after work to relax or making a point to log off during the weekend can go a long way to keeping you in a sound state of mind.

A lot of pressure is put on entrepreneurs, especially those in the early stages of building their businesses, to put work above all else. However, this can eventually lead to unhealthy stress levels, fractured relationships, and inevitable burn-out.

Being In The Moment: Why Mindfulness Matters

You’ve probably heard a lot about mindfulness in recent years, but the concept is hardly new (or new age). Mindfulness simply refers to the act of devoting your full attention to whatever you’re doing in the moment, whether it’s a board meeting or dinner with your partner. 

By allowing yourself to be fully present, you’re in turn forging deeper connections with the people around you, as well as getting the most out of your experiences. If you watch interviews with some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, you’ll notice that they maintain laser-sharp focus (sometimes to an unsettling degree) and seldom allow themselves to be distracted by phone calls, incoming messages, stray thoughts, or other individuals who may be present.

Renowned figures such Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, and inspirational media mogul Oprah Winfrey have all touted the benefits of mindfulness, and their continued success certainly supports this endorsement.

The Importance of Saying No

Our modern culture dictates that we be all places at all times, either in person or by gadget, with the fear of missing out (alternately referred to as FOMO) an overwhelming pressure for many. We want to please as many people as possible, even if it goes against our best interests. 

As an entrepreneur you understandably want to network and miss as few opportunities as possible to make connections and extend your reach. However, setting boundaries and knowing when to say no is essential to maintaining a healthy, balanced life in which your needs are equally met.

Best-selling author and business executive Seth Godin shares his perspective on the importance of saying no: “The short run always seems urgent, and a moment where compromise feels appropriate. But in the long run, it’s the good “no’s” that we remember.”

Nurture Your Mind, Nourish Your Body

Long hours, sleepless nights, and poor nutrition can and will take their toll in a surprisingly short amount of time. We’ve all had to sacrifice one or more at certain points, but it’s important to treat your mind and body like the crucial tools for success that they are. 

By failing to maintain a healthy diet, active lifestyle, and adequate rest, you’re setting yourself up for a slew of problems down the line, some of which may be fatal. To put it bluntly, when the body starts breaking down, so does the mind.

Make sure you’re getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and setting aside at least 30 minutes a day for physical activity, be it a quick gym session or brisk walk. Incorporate healthy proteins and plenty of leafy greens into your diet, and try to limit compulsive snacking and excess drinking, both of which are casual responses to stress.

Tend To Your Mental Health For Long Term Success

An entrepreneur’s mind is perhaps their most important asset, and while you may not be able to control all of your stress factors or internal burdens, it’s important that you at least make an effort to actively tend to them. A 20 minute meditation session is a fantastic way to minimize stress, refocus the mind, and establish inner calm before starting the day. 

For serious concerns such as depression, anxiety, addiction, or residual trauma, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional therapist to deal with these mental illnesses. A licensed therapist can help you navigate and overcome mental health blocks, as well as adopt healthy strategies for managing sudden and unexpected panic attacks, self doubt, or angry outbursts on the job. Online therapy is especially ideal for those with busy or compromised schedules, with many services earning high praise for their affordability, convenience and discretion.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.