The importance of self care when you’re self-employed

The importance of self-care cannot be understated. It’s vital in general but when you’re running a small business or self-employed it’s more critical.

After all; if you neglect your well-being and can’t work then your business probably can’t earn. If there’s no you then there’s probably no business.


The reason why I’m making this post is because I see so many people who are self employed just not taking care of their own health and wellbeing. And one thing I can say with absolute certainty is if you don’t look after you, there will be consequences, and rarely are those consequences positive.

So I want to remind you about four key areas of your wellbeing and some pointers on how to stay in shape.

As I said at the beginning, to try and make sure that your business stays in shape, because without you, there’s no business.

If your family depends on you and you’re not available, what’s going to happen there?

So the first key point is exercise.

Now we all know that we should exercise. They recommend 20 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise every day. If you’re not in the habit of doing this, just go for a walk. Even if it’s just 10 minutes it will help. And I promise, no matter how busy you think you are, you won’t miss those ten minutes.

Just go for a walk, it's a great place to start.  The importance of self care when self-employed.
Just go for a walk, it’s a great start.

You don’t have to spend a tonne of money going on to the gym, just go for a walk. It isn’t complicated. If it’s raining, put a coat on and some waterproof walking shoes.

But just get out and move. I’ve got one of these smart watches. It reminds me every 45 minutes or so just to move, and it’s a great little prompt. So what I typically do is walk up and down the stairs here in the house a couple of times. Doesn’t seem like much, but it all adds up.

Just start by walking, it’s a fantastic way to get started. I exercise pretty much every morning, but it’s taken me years to develop that habit. And trust me, when it’s cold, it’s damp and I’m tired, it’s about the last thing I want to do. But I’m in the habit of doing it.

So that’s where it is for me. But like I said, it’s taken me a while to get there.

So get a spot of exercise. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Remember: something is better than nothing.

Then the next thing is diet.

And of course, I could spend all day on diet and there’s dietitians and eating plans and all kinds of headlines about what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

But diet, in my view, is really simple: Eat a lot less sugar, consume a bit more protein, consume fewer processed carbohydrates.

more fruit and veg is recommended -  the importance of self care
Eat more fruit and veg.

I know I’ve oversimplified it there. But if you have a high carbohydrate, high sugar diet, I promise you, the long term consequences could be quite serious.

Here New Zealand, at the minute, there’s a national debate about the rising rates of obesity and diabetes (largely caused by obesity). But it’s not helped by the fact that they seem to put sugar in a lot of the food and also the fast food culture here is quite big as well.

So look after you’re eating. If you don’t know where to start, just start by cutting the amount of processed sugar you have in your diet; sweeties, soft drinks, sugar in your teas and coffees, cakes, etc.

Just start right there, I promise you, your body won’t miss it. Just cut your sugar intake.

But eat right. You’ve probably heard of an Apple a day keeps the doctor away. That’s easy to do. The problem is, as Jim Rohn said, it’s also easy not to do. So make a habit of eating some fruit every single day if you aren’t already in the habit of doing it.

And again, put it in your phone. Give yourself a reminder just to eat an Apple every day just to eat an Orange every day. It’s not complicated, but the longer term benefits from just those simple acts can be huge.

Another Biggie is sleep.

According to a study in 2015, nearly 75% of people in the workplace are sleep deprived 75% of the time.

So you need to work out how much sleep you need. And it’s not a case of trying to stay in bed later. It’s a case of going to bed that little bit earlier to get more sleep.

get better sleep - importance of self care
Get better sleep

Now they reckon 8 hours a night is pretty good. I get an average of about seven, which works for me. But then again, I’m in the habit of doing that.

Margaret Thatcher allegedly got three 4 hours sleep a night and functioned (some might say it explains a few things).

But the point is this, make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

If you’re sleep deprived, you won’t perform nearly as well as you could. And I promise you your long term health will decline as a result.

Your body needs rest and recuperation and sleep is where it starts.

So make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. Make sure your mattress is good, make sure your pillow is good and whatever you do, keep electronic devices out of the room as much as you possibly can.

Also, LED lights will disrupt your sleep. Research is now showing that LED lighting suppresses the build-up of melatonin in your body, which is the sleep hormone, and it will disrupt your sleeping. So work on sleep, you won’t regret it.

And finally: mental health.

The be honest, this is probably the highest priority is there is a scale regarding the importance if self-care.

look after your mental health - importance of self care
Your mental health matters, take good care of it.

It’s becoming more appreciated at the moment. And last year, 2020, we had the lockdowns, et cetera and mental health and many people took a massive nosedive and we’re going to be picking up the pieces of that for some time.

But if you’re struggling mentally or struggling emotionally, please go and talk to somebody you trust, just air things out.

I’ve heard it said on Facebook: I’d rather hear your troubles than hear about your suicide. So please get help.

There’s loads of stuff out there available now in almost all countries. But do it.

But here’s the key to this lot:

you cannot neglect any single one of these areas for long without some serious repercussions.

So I would urge you get into an exercise routine, even if it is just a 10 minutes walk a day. If it elevates, your heart rate and makes you a little bit warmer, it’s doing its job

Cut sugar, cut the rubbish out of your diet. Eat healthy, eat a lot more fruit and veg.

Get good sleep. Make your sleeping environment better.

Get to bed earlier. I promise you, this is one of the most underappreciated things about being a healthy and productive person. If you don’t get enough sleep, it doesn’t matter how healthy on the other areas you are. And to be honest, a lack of sleep will have a knock on effect onto your mental health.

And if your family depends on you to perform, you cannot afford to take risks with your wellbeing, exercise, eating, sleeping, mental health.

I promise you, it doesn’t have to cost you a tonne of money. You don’t have to go to a gym, or pay for expensive counselling and you don’t have to have an expensive mattress. Just make your environment better so it’s more conducive to you being a healthy person.

Hopefully you’re now convinced of the importance of self care. I promise you; the healthier you are, the better you’ll perform. The better you perform, the better your business will likely be.

Want more on looking after yourself? Check out:

Five Top Tips to improve your health and productivity (article)

Coping strategies for when things aren’t going so well (YouTube video)

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