Updated: Aug 26
For most people, running a small business can be mentally, physically and emotionally draining. To make matters worse, the business environment has become harder as the Covid-19 pandemic forced many businesses to close. It is even harder for black entrepreneurs to face societal pressures while trying to keep their business alive.
With these extra pressures, black business owners must be both determined to thrive, and determined to prioritize their holistic health. This is the only way you will be able to handle the stress and long hours that come with operating a business.
Some mainstream entrepreneurs glamorize grinding for hours on end so, you may want to do the same. Working super hard to beat a deadline is okay once in a while. But if you make it a habit and don’t prioritize self-care, you'll eventually experience burnout.
Hard work and self-care don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Are you wondering how you can practice self-care for entrepreneurs? Keep reading for a definition of self-care and 6 ways you can practice it as a black business owner.
What Is Self-Care and Why Is It Important?
Self-care is the combination of practices one follows to preserve or improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing. This could include eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep or even setting boundaries with toxic people.
Studies have shown that self-care habits like exercise can improve productivity. Self-care also improves your lifespan which gives you more time to work on your business as well as enjoy the fruits of your labor. It doesn’t make sense to work so hard and never reap the fruits of your labor. Below are six self-care tips you can use to improve your wellbeing.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is hands down one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business. Your diet affects your energy, mindset, mood, appearance and even your decision-making ability. But many entrepreneurs ignore their diet because they think it costs extra time and money to eat healthily.
Menu planning and prepping can save you time and money while ensuring you eat a nutritious diet. Simple habits like avoiding sugary drinks and making water your main beverage goes a long way in creating a healthy diet. Staying hydrated helps your body organs function well and can prevent headaches.
If you tend to work long hours, try setting timers as food reminders. You can also make a schedule for the times you eat and plan them into your day.
2. Incorporate Meditation
Meditation is what many people think of when they think of self-care. An increasing number of black small business owners are discovering the benefits of practicing praying for at least 15 minutes daily.
Many people experience a reduction in stress and brain fog. They also become more productive. This is more than likely because they have less anxiety and feeling less overwhelmed.
3. Schedule Relaxation Time on Your Calendar
We're so good at scheduling business appointments but often neglect our self-care time. Anything that doesn’t get scheduled on your calendar might get forgotten. So block your relaxation times on your work calendar.
Make sure you honor your "me time" appointments as faithfully as you honor your business meetings. During your relaxation, plan activities or hobbies that have nothing to do with work. This will give your brain time to rest and recharge your energy to work more efficiently.
Spend time away from your work environment to get inspiration for your business. Start thinking of rest as an essential element that adds to your productivity. Remember you don't need to earn rest─ listen to your mind and body. Also, consider starting a hobby that isn't tied to making money.
4. Exercise Regularly
Another great self-care tip is to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Exercise increases your mobility and energy which makes you more effective at work. It also generates endorphins (happy hormones) that reduce stress. You are more likely to be productive and make better decisions when you are in a positive and relaxed state of mind.
While it makes the most sense to exercise before or after work, you can also exercise during the day while at work to increase your productivity. For instance, going for a 30-minute walk during your lunch.
5. Set Boundaries
One of the self-care tips that many people don’t consider is setting boundaries. We can waste a lot of energy stretching ourselves too thin for others. Boundary setting is an important self-care tip for black business owners who have a hard time saying “no”.
As a business owner, your time and energy are precious. Be very firm on how you spend them by enforcing boundaries. Saying “no” to commitments you don’t want to make will save you from a lot of stress and pain.
Remember people will often treat you how you allow them to treat you. You need to be assertive and stand up to maintain your own mental peace. Tap into your entrepreneurial community for advice on dealing with customer issues.
6. Forget Perfection and Strive for Excellence
One main cause of stress for black business owners is the expectation of perfection. The sooner you accept that perfection is an illusion, the better it will be for your health and wellbeing.
Rather than expecting everything to go perfectly, strive to always do your best with the acceptance that your best is good enough. When mistakes happen, do your best to fix them to the satisfaction of your clients. Entrepreneurs are often judged not by the mistakes they make but by how well they recover from them.
Try These Self-Care Tips for Black Small Business Owners
Spending time on self-care pays off through increased productivity and efficiency. Lacking happiness, mental health and/or physical wellness could affect how you run a successful business. Black business owners need to strive for a balance that allows them to build a business while managing personal needs.
Use our 6 tips as a starting point for your self-care. It will surprise you how much better you feel and how much more productive you become. If you'd like to find out more about BlackPagesOnline.com, be sure to get in touch with our team today!