It takes a special kind of person to want to go into business.
Lori Greiner of Shark Tank fame once said that “entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week,” and it’s hard to think of a more applicable sentiment for the self-employed.
Being your own boss means setting the rules of play for your life—taking control of the logistics and finances in exchange for greater mobility in other areas of living.
But it’s not an easy gig.
Personal motivation is a huge factor in maintaining a business—much like it remains a factor in taking care of your personal health. It can be too easy to focus on a personal grind while neglecting your mental and physical health.
If you’re going into the self-employment, or have already made the transition, consider taking on these five wellness rituals to keep yourself sane and healthy as you work towards a future on your own terms.
1. Treat your body like a client
Many entrepreneurs live and die by the client—and work to appease and please their business partners to cultivate a long-lasting (and let’s be honest, profitable) relationships. In your personal hierarchy of needs, you may find that your clientele rank somewhere below family and above healthcare.
In order to gain any sort of headway on your health, you’re going to need to shift that hierarchy of needs.
Treat your body like a client. Stop looking at biweekly exercise or a morning run as optional and expendable tasks. The maintenance and time required to build a business is difficult, but if you’re not operating at 100%, what’s the point?
Putting aside just a few hours a week to work towards your healthcare goals will prove to be far more beneficial than perceiving your health as an optional enterprise.
If you have to, work it into your work schedule right alongside your daily tasks. Eventually, caring for your body will feel as natural as selling your products and sending out invoices.
2. Delegate what you can
One of the key tenets of entrepreneurship is knowing when to delegate tasks and when to do something yourself.
If you find that spending time at the gym will weaken the amount of time you can dedicate to your business, consider delegating business items to others before cutting out the gym time completely.
If you employ others, search for simple or time-consuming tasks in your day that can be delegated to other employees. If you’re a sole proprietor or contractor, look at ways to either raise rates or shift responsibilities away from you.
The goal isn’t to cut corners in your business—but rather to maximize efficiency and allow yourself some time to work on your health.
If you’ve already reached the point where your lifestyle is solely financed by your business, you may already have the skills necessary to delegate tasks and free up some time to work on you.
3. Document everything
Proper documentation is important to any entrepreneur for tax season, and the choice to document deductions and expenses can mean the difference between a generous tax refund or a debilitating tax burden.
The same is true with the time you spend maintaining your health.
By documenting activities like hiking and measuring your weight and other metrics, you can keep on top of your health while tracking your progress over time. Just like your expenses and responsibilities, you can take a monthly or quarterly look at your progress, find ways to improve, and see what you could be doing better.
Documenting your progress also comes with the benefit of providing much-needed motivation to continue working out on difficult days. Seeing where you’ve come is one of the primary ways you can motivate yourself to get to your target weight and fitness goals.
Oh—and if you didn’t already know about the self-employment deduction for health insurance, it never hurts to see if you qualify.
4. Talk to the experts
By becoming an entrepreneur, you’ve learned how to leverage your skills to market and reach a certain audience. You’ve sold others on your expertise and services, but likewise, you need to heed to others who know more than you do.
Talk to your doctor or medical professional about your needs. Explain your specific situation, and any occupational necessities that could be harming your health—such as strenuous activity or a sedentary working environment.
Online guides can only give you so much information, and living in a larger city means gaining access to a plethora of professionals that can get you the help you need.
If you work in Silicon Valley, find a Palo Alto doctor to consult with. If you live in New York City, find a Brooklyn pharmacy that can deliver your prescriptions and save you some time.
Networking shouldn’t have to be explained to anyone who’s gone into business for themselves. If you haven’t realized the importance of cultivating relationships, it may be time to head back to your old day job.
When you’re at the gym, talk to the regular who uses the treadmill beside you. When going for a run, talk to the fellow park-goers and neighbors who run with you. Cultivate a network of responsible and active people that will keep you accountable for your health. Talk and learn to motivate them just as much as they motivate you.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll uncover a new business partner.