Wellbeing in business: why entrepreneurs need to prioritise self-care and why we need to talk about it more.
Here's a post I didn't really expect to write while running my own company, but one that's very important none the less.
Read on for why wellbeing in business needs to be put on the radar, why entrepreneurs need to prioritise their self care, and most importantly why we need to talk about it more.
As I write this there's one thing I know for sure... I'm tired... REALLY TIRED.
Penning this blog post (or in fact any blog post) has been on my to-do list for days now, but since being back from the UK, where I ran my new workshop, I've felt exhausted and inadvertently most afternoons put aside to work on this have resulted in some serious nap times!
And do you know what ... that's ok.
Yes - my website traffic has dropped, yes - my social media following hasn't grown, yes - you've all missed out on my pearls of wisdom (oh what... you didn't even notice?), but really IT IS OK.
A few years ago I would have beaten myself up for not getting enough done and probably felt anxious as a result. But having learnt the hard way and spent a number of months in bed a few years back recovering from burn-out, these past couple of weeks I've actually just allowed myself to go with the flow and the flow has said slow down!
Slow down from what some of you might say?! You might see a life of working when I want, beach days, travel and living in the sunshine, but of course that's the Instagram version of life and doesn't reflect the hard work that goes into launching a business and going out there on your own!
It's tough out there. Being the boss, HR department, marketing manager, admin assistant and social media guru of your own company can be EXHAUSTING! And ironically, whilst many of us who have set up our own business or are dreaming of becoming our own boss, do so in part to improve our quality of life; it's very easy to let our own wellbeing fall firmly to the bottom of our priorities.
I've met a lot of entrepreneurs recently (and other awesome hard working people for that matter) who have talked about how they launched (or want to launch) their start-up to readdress their work / life balance, but end up working more than ever and start risking (or even experiencing) burn out!
The thing is ... part of the problem as I see it, is that maybe we're just not helping one another! Because we don't talk about it.
It's not hard to appreciate that running your own business is undoubtedly tough and we should ideally factor in time to look after ourselves in order for it to be sustainable, but in the world of keeping up appearances on social media and a success mindset, where we see Facebook ads on how to make 6 figure profits a month, maybe we're all still a little scared to admit when we're having a bad week or are just bloody knackered. Or worse.
We might occasionally be willing to chat about it over coffee, touch upon it at networking events and to our friends, but then we revert back to our 'I'm an awesome entrepreneur and no-one can stop me' face and stick a #happyfriday post on Instagram. (And yes I'm guilty of that too.)
But I don't want to be.
Maintaining your emotional wellbeing and mental health as an entrepreneur is rarely talked about, but it SHOULD BE! Because I know I'm not the only one that this is relevant to. And with more and more of us turning to self-employment in an everchanging & uncertain world, this is only going to be an issue that keeps on growing.
At this point, I'm actually going to take a little diversion from the blog post I'd originally planned...
You see, I was going to segway seamlessly into how I've been embracing the concept of #selfcareseptember, telling you how I'm back on my yoga mat, eating better, blah, blah, blah and feeling better. And then of course give you some lovely tips on ways to slow down and prioritise your self care. Only having read back what I've just written and having thought about mine and other people's experiences, it seems a little glib and cliched.
Self care is more than a hashtag.
That's not to underestimate how effective social media campaigns can be and there are great tips and advice out there on how to look after yourself and prioritise your wellbeing. I guess I just feel they're scratching the surface.
In an ideal world, your wellbeing would be number 1. on that to-do list every single day.
And the first step in doing that is saying so.
So as entrepreneurs... or in fact as human beings... let's TALK ABOUT IT.
That doesn't mean we don't want to strive for success, run profitable businesses and celebrate our wins on Twitter; but as a start perhaps it's just about acknowledging none of us are super human, we make mistakes, we f**k up, we have personal sh*t, life is tiring and 1 in 4 of us suffer mental health problems.
TALK ABOUT IT. To your friends, to your family, to your colleagues if you have them, to your business community, to your doctor if needed, to anyone.
And be kind to yourself. Remember why you started on this journey ... to follow your passions, to improve your quality of life, maybe to make the world a little bit better in your own little way and to be your very best awesome self. Because that's honest and whilst sometimes difficult and challenging, is a whole lot more rewarding in the long run than 10k of Instagram followers.
I'm not entirely sure what I've achieved with this blog, but hopefully it is more than ticking off another thing I had to do today ... I'd like to think we might have started a conversation. It's going to be a long one no doubt, but I started talking. Please join me... because it's ok to not be ok AND still be bad-ass at business!
Now it's time for that nap :)