This year has been intense for everyone, especially founders of startups and small businesses. We have been balancing a completely new environment while pressing forward with business goals and taking care of the teams. From restaurants to high-growth apps, entrepreneurs have been going at full speed and pivoting throughout the year. As 2020 winds down and we see hope with a vaccine, it is important to take care of oneself.
Why is self-care for founders important?
When we could travel easily, remember the saying “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.” This applies to leaders of impact-driven startups – be sure to take care of yourself and then you can help others. If you aren’t in the best headspace, how can you motivate your team and ensure your customers are taken care of? Take care of yourself and good things will happen – you will avoid burnout and increase confidence. Let’s finish 2020 by taking care of ourselves thus setting ourselves up for success in 2021.
We put together a few tips and tools that can help founders and entrepreneurs take care of themselves.
Nurture Your Mind & Body:
Keep an eye on your mental and physical energy levels to help you operate sustainably and with less stress. To support your mental health, consider taking time to yourself every day. It can be as short as 5 minutes. In this time to yourself, turn off your phone notifications, shut your laptop, and ground yourself in the present. As you are present, try journaling, meditating, walking, or sitting calmly. If you are looking for some guidance, check out meditation apps such as Headspace, Calm, or use a pen and a journal.
In order to nurture your body, there are two incredibly important things to focus on: 1) sleep and 2) exercise. Both have been proven to lift moods, decrease stress hormones, and help prevent sickness. For entrepreneurs, both of these can feel hard to accomplish.
The CDC recommends adults getting 7 or more hours of sleep a night. If Lebron James can sleep 8 hours a day, you can too. To get the right amount of sleep, try setting a schedule by using notifications on your phone to signal when you should go to bed. There will be late nights or early mornings for travel (when we can again) or other responsibilities, this is totally normal.
To get exercise, block off a few minutes sometime throughout the day to go for a walk or run around the block. If you are looking for an app to help, check out the Fit Focus (shout out to a SEED SPOT alumna), 7 minute work out, Map My Run, or join a club/group. The key to exercise is a routine and sticking to it!
Gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” When one practices gratitude, it retrains your brain from focusing on the problems that must be solved (an entrepreneur’s day to day) and helps your brain focus on what we have to be thankful for. Numerous studies and articles show that by practicing gratitude techniques, you can strengthen your immune system, lower your blood pressure, sleep more soundly, feel more alert and awake, express more optimism, and feel less lonely and more outgoing.
In order to practice gratitude, during your 5 minutes of “you” time try journaling and ask yourself two questions to reflect on: “What have I received from __?” and “What have I given to __?” Or take another 5 minutes and write a text or email that expresses thankfulness to someone in your life (professional or personal).
Build A Plan:
Every entrepreneur has competing priorities ranging from pressure from the board room to juggling childcare (or even teaching these days). Build a plan for yourself will set you up for success. To start, try blocking off a few minutes (5-15 minutes) every morning before you open up your email and check your texts. Next, decide and how often can you exercise? Maybe it is going on a walk or bike ride with your family twice a week in the morning or evening. Set a weekly schedule and plan that will work with you, your travel calendar and schedule, and family commitments. Be sure to ensure it is achievable and realistic!
Focus on taking care of yourself mentally and physically to be the best founder you can be. Remember, put on your oxygen mask first so you can help others.
Looking for support? We are here to help.
SEED SPOT, a 501c3 nonprofit, is here to help. Check out one of our programs, like the 2-Day Launch Camp to start your impact-driven business or nonprofit.
Are you already in revenue or have a product on the market? We can help take it to the next level with access to investors, mentors, and key resources in the Impact Accelerator.
If you are looking for hands-on support and guidance, reach out and have a 15-minute phone call with a SEED SPOT Team member. As a nonprofit, we are dedicated to helping you start, grow, and scale your impact-driven venture and startup. Let’s chat!