Updated: May 10, 2021
I wanted to share a little something that I have learned and relearned, and hopefully at this point I'm learning to put it a little bit more into practice: how to take a rest break. This is something we know as therapists or healthcare professionals and we tell our clients and our patients all the time. But for some reason we don't do it ourselves and it takes so much effort for us to make this a practice even though it's so, so important for us as professionals and as entrepreneurs.
So, how exactly can taking breaks help you and your business? Read on for my top tips and relaxation and self-care as an entrepreneur!
#1 You need to give yourself some time to figure it out - especially if you're new to business and you're new to entrepreneurship.
I've been in business since 2019 and I'm still kind of figuring it out! So you have to give yourself some time to figure out what it is that you need - where you are going to be at your best, where you're going to have the best energy and how you’re going to be able to put the most effort into your business and your clients.
I know entrepreneurs who work two and a half days a week and that's all that they set aside for their business because the rest of their time is family time. I also know entrepreneurs who work six days a week, 10 hour days and that's what works for them. So there's no perfect schedule for everybody, and that's just something that you have to figure out as you go. You can try on different schedules and different work hours and see what's going to work best.
One really key thing that I've learned is that whatever you're doing, you have to be mindful of if you're feeling resentful of it. So if you are working 60 hour weeks, but you're feeling resentful of it and you're resenting your business, that's not the point of going into business for yourself. Part of building your own business is having a happier life and a happier career, and so whatever you end up scheduling, it should be something that feels good. For me, today I decided I wasn't going to take any appointments after 4:30. And that’s fine! It's my business, so it's fine.
#2 You need to learn to set boundaries.
Setting boundaries is so incredibly important for both your personal and professional life. I will tell you 100% I'm not perfect at this by any means. What I personally struggle with is sticking to specific business hours and making exceptions for people. For example, if I say I'm only going to see patients between 12 and 5pm, Monday through Friday, but I have a patient who says, “Can you do 8am?” I'd be afraid of losing that client, so I say “Sure, I can come at 8am,” and then before you know it, I have appointments Monday through Friday at 8am on top of appointments in the afternoon, and then ends up making my day really long and really exhausting.
So what I am going to be working on is readjusting my hours. I've already changed my schedulers and everything so that when people go to schedule they’ll at least be scheduling within the time frame that I want to be seeing people. Obviously, if they really can't make it, then I'll work with them. But being the authority figure and putting those boundaries out there is going to do wonders for yourself and your business. Saying, “This is the way it works when you work with me,” will help you sleep so much better at night. You'll be way less stressed out.
But it isn't just about work hours. Boundaries could be, this is what to expect when you work with me. Set client expectations. For example, this is what I expect from you: show up on time. If you need to reschedule I need to know 24 hours prior, not five minutes before, when I'm already set up because that would put a strain on our relationship. Practicing putting boundaries like this in play can be really helpful.
#3 You need to give yourself a break.
You should give yourself a planned miniature vacation, either every month or every other month. I took a mini vacation this past weekend, but by that I mean I just didn't work and mostly hung out at home all weekend. But I planned for it! And I feel so renewed, so ready to start on my next week of work. I feel like I have plenty of energy to do that instead of just constantly going all the time.
It could be a day, it could be a whole week, it could be three days. But by setting aside this larger chunk of time during the month or every other month you’re able to say, “Okay, I'm not working, I'm stepping back. Nothing is an emergency. I'm just taking a step back and I'll be available again on this day.”
Taking some time to do something that’s not business-related is going to help your stress levels so much, because when you start your own business it can be very easy to get wrapped up in the whole thing and it just becomes everything. And that's something I'm also working on.
I hope these tips are helpful! If you guys have tips on how you take care of yourself, please feel free to share. Talk to you all soon and remember: take a break!