Phew! I haven’t written in quite some time! I’ve been just so busy adding to my online shop I haven’t stopped for a moment to do some writing. But that’s going to change. I find writing too therapeutic to give up!
And, whilst working through setting up my Etsy shop it’s got me thinking: I love the practise of self care, but when you’re working for yourself it can be tricky to prioritize.
And so this post was born!
I have to admit, the last couple of months I have been all work and no play, and that has resulted in a total burn out this week.
Yep, a complete burn out.
The week started off really positively, I had a massive order (5 prints to one customer, love them) but then nothing. Tumbleweeds have been blowing through my shop. I know this time of year is quiet, but seriously, this quiet?!
And that resulted in tears, threats of just giving up, job hunting (seriously, I went online and started compiling a list of jobs to apply for!) & eventually sitting in my comfy clothes watching films for an entire day and eating a whole packet of biscuits.
The kind of behaviour which is unhealthy for so many reasons.
And after talking to some other small business owners, it doesn’t seem I’m alone in this behaviour. The first year of owning a business is the hardest. You have to work hard for those sales, to build a tribe and to make a success.
So, how do we look after ourselves small business owners? Read on!
Take regular breaks.
Stop letting yourself work through lunch. Stop waking up early and going to bed late. Just stop for a bit.
What I want you to do is set a timer, and every hour go off and do something else. I like sitting in the garden. Just for 15 minutes break away from the laptop, or whatever WIP you have going on.
And make sure you take time to eat. I worked through my allocated lunch breaks for pretty much a month solid. And look what happened to me. I give myself 30 mins to an hour for my lunch break, which gives me plenty of time to eat and to watch some telly or something.
These breaks give your brain time to replenish and get over the mental onslaught that is the working day!
Have a weekend.
I know, it’s tricky when you’re working for yourself. But give yourself a weekend! This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything during the weekend.
My partner works Sunday-Thursday, so Friday and Saturday is our weekend. We go on adventures, we visit new places, and by Sunday morning I’m full of new ideas and motivation to make my little business work.
This doesn’t mean I completely forget about the business, I just don’t design any new prints. I’m still on social media (Hello cheeky Facebook link, come say hi!) and responding to messages though.
This time is vital for me. This is when some of my best ideas pop into my head. It’s also when my partner gives me some of his best ideas too 😉
Drink plenty of water.
This seems like a really simple and really obvious one, but seriously, drink more water. It’s too easy to work solidly, go off out to the garden, come back and work again, and before you know it it has been 3 hours and you haven’t drunk more than a few sips of water.
Get yourself a lush water bottle and keep it topped up with super cold water. My partner keeps his in the fridge so we always have super cold water to hand.
Letting yourself get a bit dehydrated is so detrimental to your focus and brain power. Water is like the brains lubricant and just keeps everything running smoothly.
Do the things, drink the water.
Find your happy.
You know when you’re feeling quite down in the dumps, and you just need that one thing that without fail cheers you up? Yeah, find that. For me it’s turning off my phone and watching a film, but for you it could be cute cat videos, or playing video games.
Try out a few different things, see what works for you, and when you feel your mood getting a bit low do the happy thing!
I’m also quite partial to funny dog videos, but luckily my big dog Tank is always on hand for a cuddle. That helps.
When my shop is a bit quiet, I find myself getting really sad and annoyed that my hard work isn’t being noticed, do you get that too?
You know what I find helps: standing in front of the mirror and telling myself that if what I already have isn’t selling that I need to find the next thing. I imagine all the possibilities of being a successful business owner: money, security, freedom. All the things I want.
And these thoughts go into a big cloud in my head which I keep looking at, reminding me of why I’m doing this in the first place.
It is so important to keep looking ahead in business. Yeah, you need to keep a track of how your business has done in the months and years before, but when it comes to innovation and progress forward is the only way!
Find other small business owners to talk to
One of the biggest hurdles I’ve found tricky to overcome since starting working from home is being lonely. I’ve gone from working in an office of around 200 people to just sitting on the sofa with the dog.
It does get lonely.
But, I’ve found a brilliant group of gals on a Facebook networking group. I know if I go to them saying “I feel like sh*t, someone cheer me up” that someone will pop up with some helpful words and a virtual hug.
Find a group like this. I would post a link but I think entries to the group are being severely limited at the moment (because honestly, it’s that good an environment and the admins work hard to keep it that way).
If you have more idea’s on how to look after yourself as a creative business owner then please add them into the comments! Sharing is caring afterall 🙂
Stay strong my small business owners!
Sophie – One Little Happy Thing