In the Western world we tend to wear busy-ness as a badge of honor. Work usually comes before play and in more extreme cases our health. It’s something many business owners (myself included) struggle with because we’re not accustomed to prioritizing self-care.
The problem is compromising our self-care for more business leads to problems in the long run. Problems in the form of chronic stress, not enough rest, digestive issues and more. In really bad cases the little problems can turn into big ones.
In an effort to help our own mental and physical health, here are just three reasons business owners should start prioritizing self-care.
You Can’t Make Money If You’re Sick
In the spirit of transparency, I’ll share my story of needing to prioritize self-care as a business owner. After I quit my job, I also quit going to the gym. I spent two years working as hard as I could to make my business successful. While my business is successful, it came at a cost.
In early 2015 I was so burned out it compromised my immune system and I got strep throat. I was out for a week. Needless to say, my business didn’t do well that month.
A little later that year I was diagnosed with thyroid issues that were leading to other problems in my body. The likely culprit? Stress, not doing the proper exercise for my body and not eating well. My doctor even told me he was concerned because of how young I am.
My body was starting to give out on me in little ways, and I certainly didn’t want them to get worse and affect my business. So I once again started prioritizing self-care over my business.
Self-Care Really Does Help You Work Better
It seems counterintuitive to go to the gym before work or to stop working early one night to cook a healthy mean, but it really does help you work better.
A couple of months ago I returned to the yoga studio to pick up my practice where I left it three years ago. At first it was very difficult to justify going first thing on a Monday morning when my inbox is usually so busy. I kept thinking, “I’m going to miss an important email! I’m not going to have the time I need to meet that deadline!” but I continued to go anyway.
The result? I have more than enough time to get everything done, I’m more calm so I’m less reactive when business or personal challenges comes up and I’m more focused. Essentially, I’m feeling better so I’m doing better.
Going first thing on a Monday morning also helps me avoid everyone else’s Monday morning stress.
Self-Care Leads to More Success
When most people think of prioritizing self-care, they usually think of going to the gym or getting rid of gluten. We often times forget that our mental state needs balance as well. One of the ways in which to prioritize self-care is to show ourselves some compassion, and according to the Harvard Business Review, being able to do this leads to more success.
HBR reported on several studies that looked into the role of self-compassion in individuals. They found that those who had more self-compassion were able to correct mistakes, overcome obstacles and reach their goals.
Essentially, self-compassion teaches you how to learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat them. This is a very important skill to have in business and in life.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that work should take priority over everything else, but the truth is we have it totally backwards. If you really want to run a successful business, start prioritizing self-care.