• Futurpreneur(s) and partners

Practicing Self-Care as an Entrepreneur

Lauren Marinigh | May 4, 2017

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and Futurpreneur Canada understands how important it is for entrepreneurs (and everyone) to take care of themselves. As an entrepreneur it can be easy to drown yourself in work when your to-do list is never ending. Often times we get so lost in our work that we forget to stop and take care of ourselves.

Knowing how important taking care of ourselves is, we wanted to talk with some of our young entrepreneurs to see what things in their lives help keep them balanced on top of running a business. By making time for these things in their lives, they are setting themselves up to be healthier, happier and in a better state to build their growing businesses.

Headshot of Bryn

Bryn Scott-Grimes, Silverthorn Studios

No matter what is going on, I bike to the gym every other day for a rigorous full body workout (myofascial release, stretching, weight lifting, and cardio). This commitment acts as a reset button for my whole system. I also eat almost entirely organic. My spiritual energy and health comes entirely from music, so I make sure to practice inventing, playing, improvising, or writing music daily.

Headshot of Taylor Abrahamse

Taylor Abrahamse, Silverthorn Studios

When I’m not taking care of my body and mind, I am generally being dishonest somewhere in my life – so firstly, I deal with that. Then, I have a 30 minute walk each day (often with jogging mixed in), during which I also call and schedule clients. Also to me, self-care means taking professional growth programs from Landmark Worldwide, because I’m most at peace when I’m not challenging myself and surrounded by inspiring, ambitious people. It’s also important to me to make sure I live with people I admire.

Photo of Bryce Weeks of Clear Float Spa
Bryce Weeks, Clear float spa

To be a successful leader and entrepreneur you need to be at your sharpest at all times. This means being in a centered, calm and relaxed headspace at all times (or at most times anyway). When making so many important decisions every single day if you aren’t feeling great then your staff and your customers will sense it.

To stay in a refreshed state I float 3-4 times a week, meditate, go to yoga, swim and then try to make it away to Mexico to get away from technology and surf as much as I can. I find the trips away from our busy technology-driven world the most important piece of my mental wellbeing. While I’m away I get a new found perspective on my business and come back refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges.

Headshot of Saba

Saba Chishti, Choice Health Centre

As an owner of two health and wellness clinics I promote the importance of overall wellness to my clients every day. In order for me to maintain this wellness myself I require a combination of proper diet and exercise. However running two busy practices means that caring for myself often comes last. I really struggled with this for many months and then began working with a health and wellness coach as I recognized that my life needed balance. What I determined was, that if I do not carve time out of my week specifically for me, then I easily become overworked and stressed, thus affecting my home and work life. Both which deserve the best of me.

In order to for me to achieve this balance I take some time every Sunday to meal plan so that I have nutritious meals and snacks on hand so that I am not stressed about what to make for dinner when I get home from work. Also on that same day I schedule and sign up for all of my yoga classes for the week adding them to my calendar, therefore when other things come up such as meetings I know that I have to schedule them around my work outs.  If I miss this crucial step my whole week can fall apart leaving me exhausted both physically and mentally. So I owe it to myself, my staff, my husband and my clients to make this ritual a priority.

headshot of ashleigh
Ashleigh Long, Octopus Creative Inc.

Exercise. When you’re done exercising: exercise more. Moderate exercise has been shown to be just as effective at treating depression as antidepressants; the release of endorphins combats anxiety and stress; a release of chemicals sharpens your attention, reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Most importantly, being able to feel a sense of achievement fosters a sense of self-esteem that is vital to entrepreneurs. The early stages of your business are going to be full of setbacks, but knowing that you’re capable of sticking to your goals could make the difference between feeling bummed that you lost a client and feeling you have to give up your business for good.

Photo of Amanda

Amanda Narain, APN Holistic Health Center & Store

Being in the holistic medicine field and being a new mother and an entrepreneur means that self-care is extremely important.

I practice self-care by supporting my adrenal glands in my body with homeopathic remedies and herbs so that when I deal with stress, I do not panic or react with the stress hormone release. Instead my mental state is able to deal with the situation at hand without losing control. I practice hot yoga and eat a balanced diet because 90% of the serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for balanced moods and happiness, is manufactured in the digestive tract.

Headshot of Sandra
Sandra Chabot Weber, Whole Life Balance

Running a company named Whole Life Balance and being a Holistic Nutritionist, I consider maintaining my own sense of balance a top priority. With 80-hour work weeks, however, this can be a challenge. And when you have a history of anxiety and burnout it becomes this interesting parallel where the success of the business truly relies on your commitment to self-care.

There has been tremendous value in minimizing distractions and focusing more on what adds meaning to my life. Spending time with family is a must and totally refills my mind, body, and soul.

I’ve also planted seeds of simple self-care into my daily routine that help keep me grounded. This includes deep breathing, prayer, my morning butter coffee ritual, eating whole foods, and keeping up with my own IV Vitamin Drips. It only takes one action being fully present to create a shift towards self-renewal.

Photo of Maike and Gilleen
Gilleen Witkowski, Walk My Dog Toronto

Our company is fortunate because many of the self-care tips I read about happen to be incorporated into our business model. We have daily walks and lots of outdoor time, and cuddles with sweet animals. But still, the pressures that I put on myself require me to take extra steps for self-care, to be able to stay in this for the long run.

It’s very grounding for me to do things that “past me” would have done, to stay in touch with who I was vs. who I’ve grown to be, to remember that what seems all-consuming now is part of a larger life story full of ups and downs.

Recently I went on an impromptu road trip with my brother Jordan to visit my friend Maike in Boston. We had an awesome adventure learning about a new city, experiencing new things such as ballroom dancing at MIT, and reconnecting with a kick-butt woman that I hadn’t seen in 10 years. It helped me to remember who I was, who I am, and where I’m going and I definitely recommend practicing this type of self-care whenever you have the opportunity.

How do you practice self-care as an entrepreneur? Share with us Twitter by tagging @Futurpreneur.