Guest contributor Sarah Jones is the Editor of Relax Everyday, where she writes about relaxation, wellness, and general well-being.
Solopreneur, entrepreneur, self-employed, small business owner, however you refer to yourself these days, there are so many reasons that people are choosing to become their own boss. It is a great way to take control of your income and happiness; to do something you are passionate about. Whatever your endeavors are as a solopreneur, it takes a great degree of focus and work ethic to live up to our self-imposed standards.
According to an Empirical Studies of Self-Employment, self-employment rates all over the developing world have increased steadily since the 1970s when proportions of self-employment were around 8%. Rates around the world are roughly about 15% of the workforce today. All types of people are drawn to self-employment for a myriad of reasons, from wanting more autonomy to those who dislike the run of the mill routine that everyone else seems to jive to.
It Can Be Stressful To Be Your Own Boss
In a study preformed by Joseph J. Mazzola and Irvin Sam Schonfeld: stress levels of self employed individuals were prone to be quite high due to the unpredictable nature of self-employment. The researchers imply that we entrepreneurs deal with the increased stress because of the passion for our work and belief in ourselves.
We have deadlines to meet, clients to be courted. There is much work to be done in the life of a solopreneur. It seems counterintuitive to stop and take a break when you have piles of work to go through. I would venture to say that many solopreneurs suffer from a touch of perfectionism. We want to showcase our skills and impress our clients no matter what that may entail. This is just the kind of drive that we have.
Relaxation Helps To Ease Stress and Can Increase Your Production
When you are stressed and worried about your deadlines, your brain is like a computer from the 90’s trying to download a picture: slowly loading for what seems like an eternity, until finally the connection times out and you are staring at an unfinished project. What is there to do at that point but refresh the page? So too, must we refresh our minds as solopreneurs.
Relaxation is key to balancing our hectic lifestyles. We don’t get off work at five o’clock and unwind for the day. We are always on the clock. Looking out for that next big client; constantly calculating how to best tackle our current projects. Our phones are going off, emails are pinging, and at any moment we might have to troubleshoot some aspect of our business. If you are relaxed, your mind is open, ideas start flowing, you get in the zone. You can work faster, and think outside of the box to solve problems efficiently and simply.
Exercise and Meditation are Your New Best Friends
According to the APA (American Psychological Association), exercise can help your brain deal with stress by increasing the amount of norepinephrine in the body. Psychologists also believe that during exercise your mind/body connection gets a chance to practice at managing stress, making you better apt to deal with it when it comes up in your daily activities.
In a study on the effects of meditation and the brain, after only eight weeks of practicing mindfulness for an average of only 27 minutes per day, MRIs showed that participants’ brains actually began to change. The amygdala, associated with anxiety and stress management in the brain, actually decreased the amount of gray matter during this short period of time.
Don’t know “how” to meditate? Well here is a quick, no B.S. guide for you: First set yourself a timer for as little as 3 minutes. As you breathe in and out, think inside your mind: “I am breathing in. I am breathing out.” That is step one.
If your thoughts drift during your meditation, and they will observe which category they fall into. You are either worrying about the future, lamenting the past, thinking about a physical feeling or experiencing an emotional one. Notice which of these four categories your mind has floated to, and then repeat to yourself: “I am breathing in. I am breathing out.”
It Can Be Hard to Find Time to Relax, Make it a Priority Anyway
I’m sure you’ve heard all of these tips before, take breaks, take deep breaths, meditate, don’t forget to eat healthy food, sleep at least eight hours per night, spend time with your family and of course exercise. Where exactly is there any time left for our work? And if we are working all of the time where is the time for ourselves?
You may not be one for a set schedule or routine. But it is important to at least have a base schedule that is flexible to your needs and lifestyle so that if you do get off track you can easily get back into the grind by referring back to your schedule; please make sure to pencil yourself in for some R&R as well. Your mental well-being should be your number one client so to speak.
We didn’t become solopreneurs in order to spend every minute of our free time working. We envisioned a life where we could work passionately from home and have more time with our family. So let’s get back to that, shall we? So what do you think? Why did you decide to become your own boss, and how do you find time to relax every day?