How Entrepreneurship Changed My Definition of Self-Care
I wish I had known these tips when I started my business ventures.
Life as a freelancer, entrepreneur, or self-employed person is never easy.
You’re always stuck in two extremes. Either you’re working too hard or you’re working too late.
In this post, I want to talk about three mindset shifts that you need to make if you are a full-time self-employed person or you’re building your own business.
These tips will help you take care of your mental health and ensure that you can succeed in your ventures without burning out.
For a more candid version of this in video format, click here.
1. Embrace weekends wholeheartedly
When I was working in a full-time job, weekends were the time I used to build my business.
I spent that time writing or building my online assets, so I could one day successfully transition into being a full-time writer.
There’s this quote I read somewhere, “If you want to design the life of your dreams, you need to work during the week on your job, and during the weekends, you need to create your dream life.”
And that’s what I was doing.
I was never free during the weekends. My social life took a hit, and my friends were frustrated.
But now that I have transitioned into being a full-time writer, I use the weekends to take a break. Otherwise, if I work during the weekends, it’s tough to take a break from the hustle.
And if your brain doesn’t switch off for at least two days during the week, it can become very overwhelming, and you might also start hating your work.
How to make the most of the weekend
- Force yourself to take a break from work and use the weekends to chill and enjoy the other aspects of life.
- Review the work you did in the previous week. You can take your calendar or your to-do list and see which tasks you managed to perform, what was left behind, what can be shifted to the next week, etc.
- Plan your next week.
2. Learn to identify the subtle signs of burnout.
When you are working on your dream project, it’s very easy to get a hundred percent involved in it and center all your life decisions around your work.
In such cases, it’s tough to recognize the early warning signs of burnout.
Nobody likes to be burnt out and start hating everything in their life, right?
So here are the five subtle signs of burnout that you need to recognize early:
1. You are exhausted all the time.
You always find yourself tired physically and mentally, and there’s very little enthusiasm left to do some new things.
If you feel you are at that stage where you’re exhausted every day, take a break from work.
Ensure you have a healthy work-life balance and don’t spend all your waking time working or even thinking about work.
2. You can’t connect with anyone or anything.
You feel so into your job or business that you are isolated from all the people and things in your life.
It’s challenging for you to connect with anyone or feel a sense of kinship with the people around you.
If you are in that boat, then force yourself to socialize.
When building my business, I was in the same place where I did not want to socialize because I couldn’t relate to anyone around me. But this is not a healthy sign and can lead to severe harmful effects later.
To make sure it doesn’t happen, meet your friends more often, talk to at least five people in a day, and have conversations that aren’t centered around work. You’ll find yourself getting better slowly but surely.
3. You fantasize about escaping all the time.
Whether it might be escaping your job, escaping your home, your city, or your country, thinking about an escape all the time is not a healthy sign.
One way to fix this is to select a specific timeframe for work and only work during that time. During the rest of the day, you can spend that time doing the things you fantasize about.
Take a small holiday, take yourself out on a solo date, or go out and watch a movie with your friends. Do something that’s not work-related, and your escapist fantasies will less, at least a little.
4. You get angry for no reason.
Whether it be a simple task like going grocery shopping or taking your dog for a walk, you feel angry and frustrated and don’t have the energy to do that task.
If you are in that boat, you may need to sleep more. According to the Sleep Foundation, eight hours sleep is necessary for healthy adults.
So if you constantly feel angry, make sure you’re sleeping enough. You’ll be surprised how magically a good night’s sleep can improve your mood and overall health.
5. You feel your health declining day by day.
You might get frequent headaches, stomach aches, or high blood pressure. All of these are subtle signs of burnout.
Please do not ignore them. A proper diet, exercise, and a good sleep cycle can fix all these.
But before you fix the problem, you need to recognize that it’s an issue and accept it.
3. Learn to forgive yourself
“The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. The rest of the animals pay only once for every mistake they make. But not us. We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves.” - Don Miguel Ruiz
You might find yourself overthinking at night, regretting some decision you took several weeks back, but trust me, dwelling on your past mistakes will not help you in any way.
Instead of feeling bad about yourself, focus on what's next.
Don’t go into panic mode, but settle into problem-solver mode.
Once you get into the mindset that you can solve your own problems, you will understand that everything in life is figureoutable.
No mistake can damage you forever. And if you want, you can pull yourself out of any bad situation you find yourself in.
But before you get there, you must learn how to forgive yourself.
Taking care of your mental health as a solopreneur: Concluding thoughts
This post discussed the three subtle mindset shifts you need to have when you are a freelancer or a self-employed person. These will not only push you towards your success, but they will also help you take care of yourself better.
- Embrace the weekends wholeheartedly. Use them to take a break, review your previous week, and plan the week ahead.
- Learn to recognize these subtle early warning signs of burnout.
- Learn to forgive your own mistakes. No matter how bad they are, there’s always a way you can move ahead.
I hope you found some value in this article. If you know somebody who might benefit from reading this, please share it with them. Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts in the comments.