Wellbeing and business
As a business owner, you have a hundred and one things to do, and the to do list seems ever growing. I found this to be constantly the case - it never changes, because although, every now and then, you might catch up with all the immediate work, there’s always other stuff you could be working on. As a friend of mine said - the work will always be there, waiting to be done. This is one of the reasons why our own wellbeing can often take a backseat, as technically it’s not as important as meeting your deadlines and responding to client enquiries and requests. It’s one of those things that can easily slip to the bottom of the to do list, if not completely off of it.
You see, this is where I have found myself lately - my wellbeing being pushed to the side, as it’s not in any immediate danger, right? I’ve been guilty of this so many times now. This past summer has been the busiest yet, and of course that meant that I didn’t have time off just for myself. At least that’s what I made myself believe. Over the past few weeks, I have made excuses as to why I couldn’t go for that lunchtime run, or why I couldn’t go to a yoga class that has been so helpful in keeping my stress levels steady.
Overwhelm is here
The more work you have on, the more likely you are to feel stressed and overwhelmed, and I let this take over at times. There is a proverb that says “If you don’t have time to meditate for an hour every day, you should meditate for two hours”. It seems outrageous - how can I possibly find two hours if I can’t even find that one hour for myself? But the truth is, it’s exactly during this busy time that we need to make more time for ourselves. It HAS to be a priority, because the longer you continue to plough through without stopping, the harder you will crash.
I want to get honest with you - I have noticed my mood deteriorating lately. For a while, I brushed it off thinking that it was just a few ‘off’ days. But then I realised that I haven’t been making time to take care of myself. I haven’t been running, I haven’t done any exercise at all! I’ve had little time to relax, and when I did, it was usually spent watching TV, mindlessly consuming episodes of Gilmore Girls (again!) because it meant that I didn’t have to face the world. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally fine to take time to unwind watching TV, and you don’t need me to tell you that. But it’s important to have some time away from screens, away from all that external noise that is so present in our every day lives.
A gentle reminder
I’m writing this as a reminder for myself, as much as a reminder for you. We owe it to ourselves to take the time out, to just be, to have time to relax and not feel guilty about it. I know that in order to continue creating good work, I have to look after myself. I know myself well enough now, though, to know that if I don’t schedule this time in, it probably won’t happen. That’s why I’ve come up with a work schedule that factors this time in. Of course this will look different for everyone, but it’s worth taking a look at the hours you work, and seeing how things can be moved around to make time just for you. As a working mum, I know that afternoons are not a good time for this - after the school pick up, I tend to make dinner, make time to play with my son, and before you know it, it’s his bed time, at which point I’m tired and don’t want to be forcing myself to exercise. I’m using exercise as just one example of how you can look after yourself, because personally, I know that I don’t feel too well when I skip it altogether.
What are some of the ways you could take time out for yourself? Maybe it’s as simple as reading a book, going for a walk, or a bike ride. If you can, schedule that time during your working day. Who said we need to be working 8 hours a day anyway? I’m still using this old model of working, when I had to be at the desk for this length of time. Being self-employed gives me the flexibility to choose my working hours. Let’s make the most of it!