In today’s hustle culture, everyone knows phrases like “rise and grind” “sleep is for the weak” or maybe even “go hard or go home” dominate motivational media. While these quotes can be inspiring, the lifestyle they promote isn’t always beneficial. While hustle culture has great takeaways for goal-setting and achievement, what isn’t talked about so often is the importance of self-care—especially if you are an aspiring entrepreneur.
Before we dive into what self-care is, let’s first talk about what it isn’t.
Self-care is not…
Being lazy. Did you know that laziness does not exist? That’s right. Typically, what we call “lazy” is merely the result of burnout or stress. (Self-care helps with both of those, making you more productive and energized.)
Selfish. Contrary to popular belief, self-care helps you care for others better. By taking time to nourish yourself, you’re better able to focus on what matters, be it the task at hand, your long-term goals, or your loved ones. More on this here.
Frivolous. By all means, self-care can look like a hot bath or a night out with friends, but continuous self-care is built-in intentionality. It often involves the hard work of setting boundaries, keeping a routine, and saying no.
Let’s dive into those now, shall we?
Self-care can look different for everyone, but here are the main pillars of successful self-care.
Everyone needs boundaries, for others and for themselves. Setting boundaries is especially important in entrepreneurship. In case you want to be successful, you have to know when to say yes and no. Boundaries help you define what is your responsibility and what isn’t.
Boundaries go hand in hand with saying no. Saying no often results in feelings of guilt and requires a lot of practice. But once you master negating what isn’t your responsibility or desire, you can much better focus on what matters.
Boundaries also help you clarify your goals. Rather than going along with others’ wishes or what “should” be done, you can start listening from within, and therefore have a better vision of what you need. And that is where true flourishing begins.
The power of routine is a popular topic—and rightfully so. Any successful person, from gurus to CEOs, will swear by the effectiveness of a steady routine. Consistent routine programs your body to know what’s next, creating a sense of stability both psychologically and throughout your day. It eases decision-making and channels creativity. Humans thrive on routine and are much happier when adhering to healthy habits.
Routines don’t have to be rigid either. Maybe waking up at 4 a.m. is where you thrive because that’s when you have the most mental clarity—great! Or maybe late nights are more your style, so 2 a.m. is your prime time for creativity. Even routines that are as simple as a cup of coffee mid-morning or an evening yoga session help create a groundedness that guides you back to your best self. It’s all about knowing what works for you and staying consistent.
Don’t skip the small things
We could go on about the benefits of sleep and healthy eating habits, both of which are paramount facets of self-care. But more often than not, self-care is found in the small things (that really aren’t so small).
Have you pet your dog lately?
Gone on a neighborhood walk?
Smelled some flowers?
If it’s the small things that make up the bulk of our lives, it would be wise to take the intention in appreciating them.
Enjoy your life—it’s the only one you have.
And you might just find that when you hop off the hamster wheel of a hustle-driven culture, you’ll be a much happier, more successful version of yourself.
Remember. Life is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Take care of yourself so you’d be able to play the long game.