Self-care for Entrepreneurs and Busy People

Igho Diana
May 29, 2019 · 5 min read

We all talk about and/or understand self-care in different capacities. Some consider it to be a catch phrase that privileged folks throw around; some hear the word and think meditation trips to India, Instagram worthy yoga poses, spa days and retreats; others equate it to cutting off any thing/one that takes away from their joy. For some it is simply a daily practice of filling your proverbial cup, that can be accessed by any and every one. I am of this latter group. As an entrepreneur building a business and brand that centers self-care in everything I do and offer, if I thought otherwise, I definitely wouldn’t have a business, or I’d simply be fooling myself.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Yesterday, sitting with my Women in Leadership professional development group at Parkdale Centre for Innovation, as I heard others’ experiences and hiccups with practicing self-care as entrepreneurs, I thought: well, what’s really the alternative? How can we expect to run successful and sustainable businesses if we don’t prioritize taking care of ourselves? This is nowhere close to shade — I get that sometimes it really feels like there’s just not enough hours in the day to “indulge in self-care”. And of course, I speak with a certain level of privilege as a single person, who has to answer to no one but myself. Though I am well aware of the negative connotations and misconceptions of the term self-care, I often forget that the wellness as a whole, can sometimes feel very inaccessible. This is in fact the reason why I am very vocal about the fact that my services prioritize black women first and foremost, and BIPOC at large. Still, how do you convince people of the importance of self-care; that it is worth the investment (or presumed backlash from others) to take the time to engage in daily? Especially people from different backgrounds, with diverse perspectives; those who “sit on the margins” of society? How can this be in fact, accessible to everyone? I walked away from yesterday’s session with a lot of questions I was looking forward to answering myself.

I am a big believer in practicing what you preach, and since self-care underpins my business, I reflected on, and complied my best practices for self-care as an entrepreneur into 3 main keys:

1. Change your mindset

For just about anything you do in life, your mindset is a huge part of whether or not you will be successful. If you believe that self-care is reserved for the privileged, then so it is. So really, the first step here is to decide and believe that you are worthy and deserving of self-care. If it helps, think of it like putting gas in a car. It doesn’t matter what kind of model, make, or look the car has, if there’s no gas in it, it is not going anywhere. The more gas you have in it the further you can go. Of course, self-care is much more than adding proverbial gas in your car. It is also cleaning the inside of it, understanding how to read the part where it reminds you to refill your gas tank, or to check your engine etc. But the point is, the first step is deciding that no matter what type of car you are, you need gas!

What does changing your mindset look like in practice? Take the time to establish your thought processes around self-care. What are some current beliefs you hold about it? Can you think of why you hold these beliefs? Are these current beliefs serving you? If not, what is your ideal reality? Once you’re able to answer these questions, start rephrasing your beliefs so that they bring you closer to your ideal reality. This is going to take some time, so allow yourself some grace. You’re a busy entrepreneur after all! Break this process down into daily reflections.

2. Schedule your self-care

Again, you’re probably a busy professional, managing multiple things; you have a 9–5 and a 6–10. Maybe you’re also a wife and a mother. Point is, you may (think that you do) not have the time for self-care. So, once you’ve decided that self-care is for you, get organized! You probably already are; you have a set schedule for when you go to your 9–5 or take your kid(s) to school/daycare or put them to bed. Whatever your day-to-day consists of, be sure to schedule in your self-care time as well.

At first, for me this looked like waking up an extra hour earlier to read my bible, journal, and exercise. In fact, I am now an early riser by default. Either way, when I felt like I just didn’t have enough time to self-care I made the time. Some days I have even scheduled nap times, which end up doubling as my self-care practice for the day!

3. Remember the end goal/why you started

If at all life starts to feel hectic again, or your old beliefs about self-care start to creep in — remember your ideal reality. Is your goal to remain overwhelmed and burnt out or is it be at ease, joyful and successful? Have a very clear goal in mind and refer to it often.

It is okay to pivot, whenever necessary. Sometimes going for a walk, journaling or meditating may not be what you need, so try a different strategy. To take a step back, establish a toolkit of activities that you enjoy doing; things that help calm you and make you happy. If one thing doesn’t work, switch up the routine.

Bonus tip: celebrate your wins — personal and in business, big and small. Schedule them if you need to. Make a note of them and refer back to them whenever necessary.

Photo by Think In Pictures Photography

You deserve to be cared for and celebrated; the more you do it for yourself the more others learn to do the same for you and themselves.

For more of my self-care tips and practices, connect with me on Instagram: @EGOinitiative.

Parkdale Centre for Innovation

Parkdale Centre for Innovation

Parkdale Centre is Canadian not for profit incubator & accelerator committed to making entrepreneurial & professional skills accessible with a focus on equity. We will be sharing reflections, learning & stories from our programs & members.

Igho Diana

Written by

Self-care is a responsibility to self + community. So I teach folks to self-care in community, through storytelling. Connect with me on Instagram @EGOinitiative

Parkdale Centre for Innovation

Parkdale Centre is Canadian not for profit incubator & accelerator committed to making entrepreneurial & professional skills accessible with a focus on equity. We will be sharing reflections, learning & stories from our programs & members.