Five ways to take care of yourself!
Owning a shop is a 24/7 gig. Your daily to-do list can seem endless when there’s no one else to answer that email, write those bills, place that urgent special order, and truly care about all of it. You end up not sleeping well, not getting enough exercise, skipping dinner, or missing your kid’s soccer game. Ironically, it’s all for the business you started because you thought working for yourself would be a cake walk.
On top of it all, the “time-saving devices” that allow for work mobility can end up taking over our lives—we spend every spare minute reading emails that could wait until morning, composing social media blasts while scarfing down take-out, and doing online product research with our head on the pillow.
As the flight attendant’s profound motto reminds us: Put on your own oxygen mask first, or guess what? You won’t be of much help to anyone.
Self-care is important not only for you, but for your business. Why? Because self-care affects the quality of your performance, your creative juices, your awareness, and your energy level. Taking good care of yourself helps you give to your business and customers from a place of joy rather than from obligation or duty.
YOU are the most important person for sustaining and growing your business, and by implementing self-care as a vital aspect of running your shop, you are supporting it much better than by burning the candle at both ends. What bigger gift could you give your shop, your customers, your employees, and your family?
Here are five suggestions to prioritize your most important asset: YOU!
1. Take care of your inner world
If you’re feeling exhausted during the day, it may have nothing to do with lack of sleep, but instead relate to stress from running your business with perfectionism. Find an outlet that takes care of you emotionally, whether it’s yoga class, a friend who’s a good listener, or a compassionate therapist—make sure to nurture your psyche. Hire a business coach to point out ways to run your business even more smoothly, or talk to a neighboring shop that’s successful. Follow your intuition and listen to yourself rather than thinking and over-analyzing to the point of exhaustion. Regularly feed your creative juices to help breed more creativity, which is an incredibly useful ingredient for running a business. Stay authentic to your shop’s mission by not compromising your ideals.
2. Give yourself a break
It’s all too easy not to take even a quick time-out during open hours. Even for just 15 minutes, make time to get away from your shop and take a walk, do some window shopping, look at the sky, or maybe even grab a bite to eat called L.U.N.C.H.
3. Slow down and find your Happy-Present-Time-Place
Give yourself permission to veg out and rest when you need to. Whether it’s taking yourself on a movie date, writing in a journal, singing karaoke, doing something creative “just because,” or even taking the dog for a walk, find a few minutes to feed your soul by doing not much of anything. Part of this is learning how to say no to new commitments or time-sucking tasks you can delegate. Really, you can.
4. It takes a village
Sometimes finding out you aren’t alone in your business problems can help tremendously. Networking groups can help you feel less isolated and support groups help you let out your emotions safely. Or, why not create your own life-coaching group for shop owners? Even more important: Acknowledge your accomplishments and mini-successes and celebrate how far you've come (a night on the town can do wonders).
5. Be gentle on yourself
This could mean making some Firm Boundary Rules, such as: absolutely no work after 8 p.m.; bills paid at your desk during the day and only once a month; no volunteer committees; only employees do the busy work; healthy food eaten daily, mindfully. And, make sure you keep that day off or vacation goal, knowing your shop will be fine without you.
First published in Vol. 30 No. 4 of Retailing Insight. © 2016 Continuity Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.