Owning a small business is a lot of work. It can be very easy for us as entrepreneurs to become overwhelmed with the never-ending to-do lists and completely forget about taking time for ourselves. Even if your work is fulfilling your creative and social needs, it may not be satisfying everything your “higher self” needs. Making self-care rituals like yoga and meditation a non-negotiable part of your day can be beneficial to not only your own life but also your business.
Feeling run-down, tired, and even burnt out is completely normal in our current society, but we can begin to play with these feelings by adding self-care into our daily routines. By allowing space for our mind and body needs with self-care rituals, we create more space in our lives overall, and that’s space we can use to enrich other parts of our own lives, whether those parts are professional or personal.
Incorporating yoga and meditation into my daily morning routine allows me to start my day with a clear mind and a centered, grounded body. I do my best work when I honor my self-care rituals. I find that when I’m working with my clients, we also benefit from taking some time to look at their morning schedules and adjusting to make self-care a priority.
As a former workaholic perfectionist, I’ve experienced running a business from both sides. It took me about a year of running my business with the same habits and routines I’d developed as a corporate employee before I realized that I could (and should) start to do things differently. Working from home, I needed to put boundaries into place in order to keep from working 24/7. I was neglecting all the things that were important to me outside of work, and I was exhausted, and unhealthy.
I started transforming my mornings with one simple change— putting a 9a.m. workday start rule into place. It gave me room to play with my routines—some days I allow myself to sleep in, other days I wake up early and have a few hours to ease into my day. My routines and rituals change with the seasons and with what’s going on in my life. I’ve found it’s best not to hold myself to rigid expectations if I want my mornings to nurture my creativity!
For example, slowing down over the winter months allows me to create more and to evolve as a business owner, which allows me to better serve my clients during the busier summer months. Self-care done well often means that the balances shift in alignment with the seasons—both in the world, and in your own life. There will be times with heavy workloads, and times when you can rest and rejuvenate.
“Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.”-Katherine May: Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times
When designing your morning routine, you might start by asking yourself some questions:
- Does your morning routine support your happiness and peace?
- Does your morning routine help you to meet the needs of yourself and your family as they start the day?
Here are some simple ways to incorporate self-care into your routine and help your business thrive:
- Make Exercise a Priority
Stoke the creative fire in yourself and your business by awakening your body with exercise throughout the day. Studies show that exercise improves your brain function, battles stress and fatigue, and it can help improve your general well-being. Add a short exercise regimen to your daily routine to ignite your passions and get in touch with your inner creativity to bolster you throughout the workday.
- Utilize Yoga as a Form of Self-Care
Yoga is about moving your body, but it’s also about truly getting in tune with yourself. If you can better connect with yourself, you can connect with your clients more authentically. Yoga combines exercise with mindfulness and allows business owners to get out of the mindset of constantly being in control and feeling stressed.
In my daily yoga practice, I also learn valuable lessons that can be applied to my entrepreneurial journey. Accepting where my body is each day on the mat taught me that I can accept where I am each day in the learning process of running a business. Things that seem difficult now will be second nature once I develop the necessary skills.
Yoga can also simply get you ready for a stressful day by quieting the mind before work or allow you to destress after a long day of never-ending to-do lists.
- Meditation Can Make You a Better Business Owner
Meditation not only makes you a better business owner, but it can also make you a better leader. Taking the time to meditate allows you to better connect with your core values and grants you the space to decide what you need when you need it. Meditation can help you be a better leader by granting you the confidence to take up the space you deserve and bolster your creativity.
Next time you find yourself overwhelmed with a tricky problem or a too-full schedule, try stepping away for 5 minutes, and simply concentrating on your breath.
This technique is called Square Breathing:
Breathe in deeply for 4 seconds, while imagining drawing a straight vertical downward line in your mind. Hold your breath for 4 seconds, as you make a 90-degree corner with your line and draw the bottom of your box. Breathe out slowly for 4 seconds as you make a second 90-degree turn and draw the second wall of your box. Finally, hold your breath for four seconds as you draw a line to connect the top of your box. Repeat until 5 minutes are over. Check in with how you feel. You just might be able to get back to work with a clear mind!
It takes time to see the benefits of adding self-care rituals like exercise, yoga, and meditation into your daily routine, but they are so worth carving out your time as a business owner. Focus on finding your creativity, your space, and your peace of mind, and the rest will follow. It’s also okay to experiment with this—you don’t have to decide on a routine and stick with it exactly as you planned if it doesn’t serve you well.