I’m taking a slight detour from the usual chitchat about affordable websites to talk about something that’s just as important for business owners (wait, what could be as important as saving thousands on a new website!?) and that’s looking after your mental and emotional well-being.
Every business owner knows running a business has a dark side – and that brings stress. Demands of clients, poor service from providers (such as Trade Me, well known for their standover tactics and bullying customers) and just the ongoing pressure to stay profitable. If you don’t handle it well it can take you out, cause you to make bad decisions and possibly end up hating the thing you loved doing. You don’t want that, so you need to learn how to deal with stress, and closely linked to that is taking care of your mental health.
This leads me to running, something I never used to enjoy but has now become a real source of calmness and clarity.
Running used to just feel like a chore, a high impact exercise that was hard on the knees and the end never seemed to be in sight. It held bad memories of sadistic school teachers driving flocks of small children on arduous cross country runs (possibly hoping they got lost and never came back?).
So unless I was being chased by a pack of wild hamsters, I avoided running. Find me in a gym any day but no running, I saved that for the football field.
But now I see it quite differently. It’s much more of an escape. I hit the street, just me and a good pair of running shoes, and make my way down to the beach (or Hagley Park) and follow the coast for an extended period of time (jogging with a soft ‘j’). I realised that running forced me to control my breathing, I had no choice but to regulate it, and that cleared my mind. I soon forgot how long I had been running, where I was going or how far I had to go. It was just me, my controlled breathing, my steady pace and a brain free to focus and process things in a much better environment. Now it’s no problem to run 5km without breaking too much of a sweat, I’m not straining, in fact it’s actually really enjoyable (helped by the runner’s endorphin rush).
I finish up my run with a stretching session on the beach and it’s amazing how relaxed and clear my head is as I look out at the deep blue sea (something I feel a strong connection with).
So, there you go, running’s my jam. What’s yours?
There are a lot of ways you can take care of your mental well-being. Obviously, the basics like eating well, staying fit and getting plenty of sleep are good go-to’s but whatever it is you need something that is for you, some healthy self-care.
I’m probably not telling you anything new, you know this already, the problem might be you’re too tied up in your business.
If that’s the case then take a lesson from the Spanish. Spain has long been recognised as a country that has mastered the art of the work/life balance (or more correctly life/work!). It’s not rocket science, they simply acknowledge that work (or the business) is not as important as you might think it is. Push it down the list! The reason it works so well in Spain is that it’s a cultural thing – they all put a lot of emphasis on enjoying life, living to the full and spending time with their friends and family. The two-hour lunch followed by a siesta, the businesses that close at two in the afternoon, or for a month of holidays, you get the idea.
Hopefully, I can encourage to you at least stop and think about how you’re coping with the stress of running your own business, and if you’re not then make that your number one priority – remember: you are your business’s most important asset, if you break down the business fails.
Take care out there and look after yourself!