How to Take Time for Yourself to Fully Recharge
Just a short time devoted to a mental or physical escape can work consistent wonders for mind, body and the bottom line.
As an entrepreneur, you likely give dozens of people hours and energy, possibly at the expense of your well-being. This, however, is simply not sustainable long-term, and will likely lead to burnout. In this post- (sort of) pandemic “new normal,” it is more important than ever to maximize time for yourself in order to recharge and live life on a higher level.
Some key concepts I’ve learned that help make it easy:
1. Make this “You” time part of every day
This is the most important concept to embrace. Whatever your escape may be — even something as simple as following a gratitude practice wherein you write down a great moment that happened in your day before going to bed — engaging in it regularly helps get you into what’s called a "flow" state. This doesn't have to take up every moment of free time, but it has to be part of a consistent schedule.
2. Make a to-do list and prioritize tasks
It’s hard to stay in “go” mode all day long, yet vital that you are dialed-in and focused on the pressing tasks at hand. Make a list of the things you need to do and prioritize them by choosing the top three that “must get done today.” By focusing on them, you will be able to move your business forward, achieve a sense of completion and create a space within which to indulge a little, or get away (mentally or physically). Once these top three are finished, you might also choose to move onto less urgent tasks.
3. Learn how to say “No” and set boundaries
Your time is valuable because it is constrained, so spend it with the right people. It doesn’t mean that you have to stop being friendly or helpful generally, but it does mean knowing when the task in front of you is more important than a sudden request. There’s an art to knowing when to take the responsibility of declining and putting yourself first, and part of it is setting boundaries with people who are, perhaps, taking up too much time talking or inquiring about extraneous or otherwise peripheral topics. You may want to consider finding someone else within the company who could answer these types of questions. The takeaway here is not giving up engagement, but learning how best to manage and leverage connections with people.
4. Pick your pleasure!
Find (and perhaps rank) the activities outside work that help you recharge. Perhaps it’s cooking a favorite meal, reading a terrific book, maybe taking a bath or trekking into nature. Whatever they may be, activities some might label “indulgences” are actually a fertile opportunity for your body to relax and fight stress.
5. Make getting enough sleep part of “You” time
According to SleepHealth, “70% of US adults report that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11% report insufficient sleep every night.” This sustained sleep deprivation results in millions of sluggish, anxious, overweight, forgetful, possibly depressed and often immunocompromised people, and it also leads to lack of motivation for work. So get those eight hours of deep, quality sleep. If you're frustrated in the attempt, try these tips:
• Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time each day. That will help teach your body when it’s time to rest.
• Don't drink alcohol or caffeine before bedtime. Caffeine can take up to 12 hours to leave your system, while alcohol impacts deep sleep even after just one drink. This will affect how soundly you rest through the night and makes it harder for you to wake up without feeling groggy and irritable.
• Keep electronics out of sight an hour before going to bed, as they stimulate brain activity, which tends to keep you awake.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor