THE SURPRISING ENTREPRENEUR MISTAKE YOU'RE PROBABLY MAKING.
You’ve gathered the courage to finally see a therapist about the severe stress you’re facing at work. As you tentatively enter the lobby for your first appointment, you notice the therapist’s door slightly ajar.
“I haven’t had a bite to eat all day and I haven’t had 5 minutes to pee since 8am! My head is throbbing and I don’t think I can take another minute of this!!” The phone slams down, and your new therapist exits her office.
She’s surprised to find you seated in the lobby, but she appears to recover quickly. She straightens her skirt and chirps, “Oh! You’re a tad early! It’s wonderful to see you, come right on in…”
Do you truly believe she can give you the care you’ve paid for?
If you’re like me, you’ve been known to wear the badge of busyness with great pride even to the point of burning out. However, we realize when the tables turn that people providing service to us would actually do more good by taking time to recharge once in a while.
Have you ever considered how your own personal self-care is actually your ethical duty to clients? It’s a huge mistake to neglect wellness breaks for your own sanity.
Lack of self-care affects your health.
According to WebMD, 75-90% of doctor visits are actually related to stress symptoms and not physical disorders. Stress can worsen or cause a variety of health conditions including:
High blood pressure
Depression and anxiety
What’s worse: taking a day off every few weeks to unplug from work, or taking 3 months off to deal with the after effects a heart attack?
Lack of self-care affects your bottom line.
Dr. Judith Harrington, of the University of Montevallo writes: “Burnout is considered an end stage deterioration after exposure to relentless stress in the workplace.” She goes on to write that unmanaged stress at work leads to some serious consequences:
More frequent errors
Losing interest or enthusiasm for projects
Conflicts with others
Having a cynical attitude
Would suffering from the effects on this list harm your business? Absolutely!
I hear the chorus of women across the world proclaiming now: “There’s simply too much to do! There’s no way I can take a break!”
Remember when I mentioned the badge of busyness? Amy Burnett wrote a really interesting article in Redbook about her observations of Christmas cards. As she sorted through a pile of cards she’d saved as mementos for many years, she noticed an alarming phenomenon: the use of the word “busy” in these holiday newsletters exponentially increased as years passed. It was as if the card writers felt compelled to share with family and friends how their busyness was evidence of importance and virtue. However, this simply isn’t so!
In The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey chronicles his year-long series of experiments in productivity. Interestingly enough, he found that working 90-hour weeks allowed him to only complete slightly more actual work than the weeks he worked only 20 hours.
Don’t allow yourself to buy into the myth that busy always equals productive. Instead, wake up and realize that the research on self-care is both true and relevant to your business.
Here are 7 practical and quick applications for self-care:
1. Use your creativity for easy-to-finish projects.
Working on something that’s simple and that we’re good at gives us a mental boost. Take a 5-minute break from your side-hustle and make a little doodle, write a haiku, or put together a Canva graphic of your favorite quote.
2. Start a Pinterest board for self-care.
There are already thousands of Pins to inspire you.
3. Schedule interruptions throughout the day.
The Pomodoro Technique (working in 25 minute increments) is a powerful productivity tool that relies on frequent breaks in order to increase the amount of work you actually get done.
4. Watch a hilarious YouTube video.
My favorite right now is the 4-second clip of a cat pushing a toy wheelbarrow.
5. Consume content before you create it.
Amy Porterfield mentioned this once in a podcast, and I’m hooked! Spending 30 minutes consuming someone else’s creative content (i.e., blog posts, podcasts) before I start my own is a surefire way to boost my productivity, creativity, and inspiration.
6. Spend 5 minutes journaling.
Shawn Achor, of The Happiness Advantage (a great read!), cites loads of research on the positive effects of journaling. Just be sure that you’re free writing without any pressure (like trying for perfect spelling) and that you’re jotting down only positive things (as opposed to complaints or worries).
7. Set up and stick to a schedule for eating and sleeping.
When clients enter my office for depression or stress, the first method I usually implement is setting up a routine for rest and meals. Sounds ridiculously simple, right? However, we’ve all been guilty of foregoing a meal or a good night’s sleep to finish a project.
While taking the time to step away from your dearly-loved business can feel like the kiss of death for productivity, nothing could be farther from the truth!
Our bodies aren’t wired to handle the constant onslaught of stress and busyness we so often hail as virtuous. Let’s step off the hamster wheel and into a routine of regular self-care that will affect our business and our health in a positive way!
Does worry keep you up at night? QuietMindCollective.com offers members-only content updated weekly, including videos, resources, community discussions and worksheets curated by a licensed therapist.
Celeste Coffman is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has devoted years of study to helping women with their own self-care, especially related to anxiety and depression. She curates content on her membership website, QuietMindCollective.com, with weekly videos, exercises, and discussions exclusive for members. Celeste’s go-to self-care activities are getting a half-hour massage, taking a walk outside, or watching Gilmore Girls.