As an entrepreneur, you’re probably used to the work-filled days and sleepless nights. Getting a growing business in order is tough work that takes long hours to accomplish, and that means putting in the hours to ensure that all tasks are taken care of. 

So you’re constantly busy-that’s great! Busy means you’re handling the work in front of you. What it shouldn’t mean, however, is that you’re feeling overwhelmed, and teetering on the edge of burnout. It’s not an excuse, deployed by the lazy: burnout is a real, observed psychological phenomenon, one that hits business owners especially hard. But you don’t have to suffer for it.

Dangers of Burnout / Overstressing

It might seem indulgent or wasteful at first, but to engage in self-care can be one of the most important things you do as you grow your business. When you’re hurting, your business is hurting. Working yourself to the bone might seem like a necessity, but if those long hours aren’t supplemented with some self-care, you run the risk of destruction, both of self and your business. Your business needs you at your sharpest, and that means preventing burnout from dulling your edge.

How to Prevent It

The work is unavoidable, an irremovable part of the building process. So, what exactly can an entrepreneur do to ensure they’re not burning out? You might be picturing an office full of aromatherapy candles, or practicing some yoga poses on your desk. In reality, self-care in the workplace is easier to fit into your day that you’d imagine. 

First, you need to prioritize it. Look at your own wellness as critical, because it is. Essentially, your own well-being should be a goal in the same way hitting sales numbers or rollout benchmarks are. Your business is growing, but your stress doesn’t have to. With the proper time budgeted out for self-management, your business management can continue as usual. 

Those Who Meditate Aren’t Lost

Self-care at work can be as easy as taking the time to breathe. Mindful breathing has been proven to reduce stress, and you won’t even have to get out of your seat. Taking a few minutes to simply focus on breathing can go a long way to keeping your mind clear. In as little as five minutes, you can clear your mind of stress and get yourself recharged and ready to take on the world.

Small Talk Has Big Benefits

Daily interactions might seem mundane, but they can keep you centered as well. Running a growing business probably means you talk to a lot of new people, making superficial connections but few actual friendships. I’m not saying you have to be everyone’s best buddy, but take a minute to talk with these people about something other than work. Loose social connections have been shown to generate positive feelings and a greater sense of community, giving you a boost as you get through another difficult day. You’re strengthening your network here as well, so it’s more productive than it might appear. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely, self-driven road. With proper self care, it doesn’t have to be.

Stepping Out Can Be a Step Up

Your office may be your second home, but you need to get out of there every now and then. Perhaps surprisingly, stepping out for a change of scenery can actually make you more productive, and it’s as easy as scheduling a lunch meeting out of the office or making a trip to visit a vendor in person. You might feel like you’re wasting time if you’re away from the phone or your computer, but think about it this way -- when you come back refreshed and ready, you’re much less likely to be tired of those familiar surroundings.

The importance of mindful self-care isn’t some new age concept, it’s a fact proven by science. If you ignore the need to take a step back every now and then, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage, vulnerable to burnout and waste. The climb of entrepreneurship can be a steep one, and without a breather every now and then you’re likelier to slip up. 

About the Author(s)

 David  Kleinhandler

David Kleinhandler is a New York-based investor and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience founding and funding financial startups. His recent work has centered around mentoring business-minded people—whether they’re recent grads starting out or veterans looking for a leg up—and giving them the tools and motivation they need to achieve their...

Founder and President, Vest Financial Group
Self-Care Isn't Selfish, It's Smart