It’s an irony worthy of Alanis Morrissette that in the times when we MOST need self-care – the busy, stressful, angst-filled times – we seem so supremely incapable of practicing it. In fact, those nurturing activities we know we ‘should’ be doing are usually the very first things we let slide.

It’s only natural, of course – with products to launch and deadlines to meet, those critical pressures are going to take precedence over non-urgent things like exercise and sleep. But although it may be understandable, it’s not a sustainable way to live. And if it becomes your default mode of operation for too long, you’ll end up paying the consequences, and your health and energy levels will suffer.

Self-care isn’t selfish.

Taking time-out from your busy schedule to maintain your health and happiness is not just a wouldn’t-it-be-nice indulgence; it’s a necessity if you want to live a well-rounded life.

But it’s also a smart business move.

You see, if you run your own business, YOU are your most important asset. That’s not just a woo-woo sentiment, it’s the straight-up truth. Which means that looking after yourself is more than just an optional extra; it’s a commercial imperative.

Smart entrepreneurs know that a little time spent in self-care allows you to maximise your energy, optimise your output, and avoid burnout. Not to mention, it makes you feel a boatload better as you go about your day-to-day business.

But it’s often easier said than done…

Most of us know the things we should be doing – eating clean, exercising regularly, taking time out, getting plenty of sleep… all the usual suspects! But actually putting them into practice is where it gets tricky. That’s where it pays to get a little strategic about how we approach our self-care habits and how we fit them into our already jam-packed days.

Here are 5 ways you can make sure you’re nurturing yourself, even when times are turbulent:

1. Go for the baby step.

Trying to fit in a full 90 minutes of Bikram on the days when you’re really busy might be unrealistic. Worse than that, if you expect it of yourself and then don’t get it done, you feel like a failure. Sidestep the negative self-talk by getting realistic about what you can achieve. Aim for a bite-sized amount – like a 5 minute meditation, a 10 minute backyard yoga session, or a 15 minute walk.

2. Give yourself quality time off.

When you’re having trouble keeping your mind on the task at hand, resist the urge to engage in meaningless procrastination and instead give yourself a designated amount of good quality downtime instead. Ten minutes in the sun with a cup of tea is WAY better for your headspace – and productivity levels – than 20 minutes of mindless procrastisurfing.

3. Work – and rest – in short bursts.

The Pomodoro technique – where you work hard for 25 minutes, then take a break for 5, and repeat as needed – is the busy entrepreneur’s best friend. But it’s all too easy to spend your break in front of a screen (emails, Facebook, Twitter), or worse, to work through it altogether. To ensure your energy levels stay high, get strict about taking those 5 minutes for yourself. For extra brownie points, write yourself a self-care list at the start of your work day – meditation, stretching, sun salutations, lounge room air guitar – and do a different activity in every break.

 4. Soak up the sunshine.

Vitamin D is essential for a bunch of important bodily functions, including energy conversion, building strong bones, and maintaining a robust immune system. Getting some sunshine on your skin is the best way to get your fix, yet way too many of us spend all our waking hours holed up inside at our desks. For some super-simple self-care, try to get outside for at least 10 – 20 minutes each day to soak up the warmth, even if you’re working on your laptop at the same time. Not only will it help your health, it’ll make you feel good too.

5. Get some help from Mama Nature.

When time is at a premium, you need to get the most bang for your self-care buck. And the best way to do that is by getting your sweet patootie outdoors. Whatever you’ve got time for – whether it’s a quick meditation or a jog around the block – doing it outside in the fresh air will compound the feel-good benefits. The change of scenery will also have you refreshed and raring to go when it’s time to get back to work.

This article was first published in Issue #3 of ROOOAR Magazine. Grab your FREE copy here.

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Jessica Larsen is the writer, editor and creative consultant behind Hello Wordsmith. As a creative industries expert, recovering lawyer, and fully certified word-nerd, Jessica helps amazing, creative women tell their stories online. She is an ardent defender of the Oxford comma, a passionate militant against gratuitous quotation marks, and a firm believer in the healing power of cupcakes.

Find Jess at: http://www.hellowordsmith.com/

  

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