Latest from HRi

21 July 2023

Why is self care important for business owners?

  • HRi blog
  • , HRi highlights

Posted by: Mary Asante

Discover why self care is essential for small business owners and learn how to incorporate self care practices into your busy schedule.

What is Self Care Month?

Self care month is championed by the World Health Organization (WHO), it runs from 24th June to 24th July each year. 24th July is chosen as their symbolic day to serve as a reminder to us all that self-care can be practised “24 hours a day/7 days a week”.

WHO describe self care month as an opportunity to:

  • Raise additional awareness about self care and self care interventions
  • Celebrate the benefits they bring to people’s live and what’s been achieved so far
  • Call for renewed commitments and action to expand health systems to include self care initiatives.

WHO’s mission behind self care month is to empower people to take responsibility for their own health and ultimately relieve pressure on healthcare systems.
Taking care of ourselves and prioritising our self care, in whatever shape or form enhances our wellbeing, be that physical or emotional.


Why self care should be on everyone’s to do list

Often business owners decide to go self-employed for more flexibility, more control over what they do and a better work-life balance. But running your own business can be a full-time role, if not more.

It can be too easy not to prioritise ourselves. Many people get caught in the mindset of ‘I need to keep working’ whether that be to earn more, deliver more, please clients, or because saying no feels like the wrong thing to do.

As a small business owner your USP is often you, so ensuring that you do not suffer serious illness, burnout or exhaustion is vital to the success of your business. Without you, there is no business.

Self care encourages you to take time to prioritise yourself and your overall wellbeing. So surely a bit of self care should be featured on your to-do list?


Don’t let stress derail your self care

If the thought of pausing and taking time out for you feels unrealistic and heightens your stress levels, the stress container model may help. The model helps you to understand your coping mechanisms, and find a way to introduce helpful ones to alleviate some stress.

Mental Health First Aid England offers a really useful interactive tool you can use to help you.

self care tool - stress container model
Source: Mental Health First Aid England
Managing your stress can help your overall personal resilience and wellbeing, so is a key part of self care.


Ways to start small with self care

There is no one size fits all approach to self care, it has to be personal to you. Some people feel truly rested in silence and nature, for others they need the hustle and bustle of lots of people to re-energise. Finding time for yourself in whatever form will help you boost your wellbeing and can increase your productivity.

A common theme in self care for business owners is the need to set realistic personal work boundaries, this can prove harder for those who work from home where there is less physical separation. Consider when you need to say ‘no’ to a request if something doesn’t work for you or will negatively impact you. To help, pause and think rationally about what may happen if you do say no.

If self care has not featured high on your priority list for a long time, starting with small steps may be best. Think about the basics: drink more water, increase the amount you move or exercise, increase the amount of rest or sleep you get, take a break.


Self care ideas from our community

Consider how you can weave self care into your working day or week, here are some ideas from our community:

  • Set clear boundaries for yourself and respect them
  • take guilt-free time out, build a tea break or even lunch into your day
  • find a support network
  • set calendar reminders to pause or take a quick break
  • go for a walk whilst on a call
  • if you need to network for your business, join a Netwalking group where the networking takes place whilst walking in the fresh air
  • listen to a podcast or your favourite music
  • wake 5 minutes earlier to take time to savour your morning coffee
  • batch cook healthy meals, so you can grab something nutritious when there’s no time to cook
  • celebrate each and every small win or success
  • work in a way that suits you and your wellbeing, do you really need to stick to a 9am – 5pm?
  • find time to read
  • build in a fake commute if you work from home
  • spend time in the garden or nature
  • get active, this could be a gentle dog walk or a run
  • take up a new hobby, challenge yourself to learn something new

There are a multitude of things you could do and so many facets to self care.

Ultimately think about what brings you joy and enhances your wellbeing, and try to carve out some time for it.


Author: Aimee Nelson  | Marketing & Events Manager at HRi