Entrepreneurs don’t ignore your health–simple self care tips for making the home office work for you
With freedom comes different stress
I’ve now been a 10 year self-employed writer, then a 10+ year massage therapist, a life coach, and most recently have grown my practice to have 20 employees. Including 15 massage therapists who train under me and see clients at my practice. So I’ve seen self care for entrepreneurs from a lot of different angles. Both from my own experience and from working with and talking to hundreds of self-employed massage and coaching clients.
Along the way we’ve learned a lot of good self care practices for keeping your business from feeling like it’s all consuming. And ways to actually get and feel the freedom you were looking for going in and the stability you thought you might never see again.
So, for whatever stage of practicing self care you are at, here’s some of our best advice for preventing repetitive stress disorders.
It was a scary leap of faith to quit my “real” job but the benefits were just too enticing to pass by:
- working from home
- controlling my own hours
- making way more per hour worked than when working for someone else
- different job experiences each time
- major tax write offs
But with the rewards come new stressors that can take a physical toll on your body.
- The feast or famine syndrome. (Either having too much work at one time or none at all).
- Managing your own schedule. (A skill that none of us realized we lacked since parents, school and “job” handled all of that for us).
- Learning how to negotiate, create contracts, and stick to deadlines. (At least if you want to get paid decently, on time, and keep clients).
- Saving money for when the work is slow. (No more steady paycheck).
- Beating the learning curve for every new client.
- Doing your own taxes. (And they are far more complex).
The beginning phase of any new business is a pretty stressful wild ride, unless you’ve got a major investor or a business savvy partner. And often even if you DO. Especially if this is your first venture into working for yourself. There are whole sets of systems that are needed that you had no idea were necessary. And suddenly you are building the boat to cross the river to success…… in the middle of the trip.
So, how do we entrepreneurs practice self care at home?
Ergonomics (ie using the tools of your job in the most body friendly and efficient way) is a lot more important to your health than you’ve given it credit for.
Glad to ditch the desk? … think again.
Desks were invented for a reason. Desks are designed to sit at and be able to write on at a height that is generally good for most people.
Work desks may not have been perfect. But they are still light years better than typing at your kitchen table, the coffee table, or (god-forbid) on your lap on your couch.
If you spend more than 1 hour per workday typing, I highly recommend investing the extra money in a real ergonomic workstation, meaning:
- An actual desk (pro tip, buy a vintage desk rather than a cheap Ikea one. You’ll be able to sell it later with little to no loss of money and possibly even make a profit on it.)
- A desktop computer (either as your only computer or in addition to your laptop) with decent sized monitor and wireless keyboard/mouse.
- A good comfortable chair that has the ability to roll and easily change height, and has no arms.
- A convertible sit/stand desk unit to place on top of your desk. (Especially if you are typing several hours per day or staring at the screen for long periods).
- A comfortable set of headphones with a mic for phone calls. (Holding the phone against your shoulder with your head while trying to type is a surefire way to give yourself a cervical spine injury).
However, if you simply can’t find the cash or credit for the above, and are stuck with your laptop as your main computing tool, try these mods:
- Do at least get a wireless keyboard and mouse. (You can find something halfway decent on eBay for $20-30).
- Stack the laptop on several books on your desk or kitchen table to bring the monitor height up to eye level.
- Get the most comfortable chair you can find. Get used to switching between typing on the wireless keyboard both on the table and on your lap. (The table will be slightly too high and your lap slightly too low so switch every 30 minutes or so to relieve your wrists).
I’ve talked a lot here on at home self care and part 2 of this series will focus on how to practice self care when you have to leave the office (on-site meetings, travel tips, etc.).
In the meantime, since you are available during normal work hours, why not treat yourself to a $20 off massage therapy session with our March Early Bird Sale?!