Surveys of mothers reveal that 68% self-report experiencing anxiety, with 35% saying that they experience moderate to severe anxiety. Similarly, a survey of over 300 entrepreneurs found that "a whopping 63% reported dealing with burnout, with 59% saying they've dealt with anxiety."
Add this all together when you take on both roles as a "mompreneur," it's easy to see how stress, anxiety, and burnout can become major debilitating factors. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to manage your kids and relationships and run a business — and if you're not careful, this can have a debilitating impact on your well-being.
Amid the business of life as a mompreneur, few things are more important than finding time for self-care and slowing down.
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As Moira Lawler writes for Everyday Health, "Self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence or selfishness. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, be well, do your job, help and care for others, and do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day."
For many, this means that self-care involves various activities designed to help them cope with daily stressors associated with work and motherhood.
As such, self-care ultimately comes down to activities that help you stay physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. This often includes activities busy moms and entrepreneurs (especially mompreneurs) don't feel they have time for, such as exercise, eating healthy, or getting enough sleep.
Why Self-Care and Slowing Down Matter
One of the biggest risks for mompreneurs is burnout, which often stems from taking on more than you can handle. This often directly contributes to poor self-care. If left unchecked, burnout can have a truly devastating impact on your well-being, your performance at work, and your relationships with your family. Excessive, prolonged feelings of stress have the greatest negative impact.
As Melinda Smith, M.A., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Lawrence Robinson write for HelpGuide, "Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give. The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life — including your home, work, and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body, making you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu."
In other words, the negative consequences can ultimately harm all aspects of your well-being if you don't take the time to slow down — to take a break from your stressors and address your own needs. You'll have less physical, mental, and emotional stamina for effectively dealing with your daily stressors.
On the other hand, when you truly focus on your needs through meaningful self-care, you can reverse these negative consequences and regain the energy and motivation you need for your many responsibilities. For mompreneurs taking on family life, motherhood, and entrepreneurship responsibilities, taking time for self-care is perhaps even more impactful.
Tips for Mompreneurs
As a mompreneur, there are several things you can do to ensure you are getting effective self-care. First, build a network of social support. Working as a solopreneur can often feel lonely and isolating. Don't worry about networking to advance your career.
Rather, focus on forming (or strengthening) meaningful friendships with people you can turn to for advice, support, or even an opportunity to vent. Spending time with friends and family can be an enjoyable way to recharge and offset the other stresses of your day.
While many mompreneurs are single, many are in relationships with a spouse or partner, and the quality of that relationship must be maintained for its own sake and for the sake of your business. "If passion disappears from a significant personal relationship, everything is at risk," says international couples master coach Dee Tozer. She often witnesses instances where one or both partners in her clientele feel neglected due to the consuming nature of business. "It's a common trap mompreneurs often fall into. They get so busy with their business that they neglect their relationships, and if their personal relationships suffer, those problems can sap a mompreneur's aspirational drive to succeed in business. It's a negative spiral."
To protect relationships and business, Tozer says mompreneurs should take time to see the big picture. "Take a step back now and then to recalibrate and make sure your relationships and business support one another," she says. "This harmony doesn't just nurture mental and emotional health, but can also be a game-changer for your business."
Set firm boundaries between mom life and entrepreneur life. Without clear boundaries, it can become easy to feel distracted and overwhelmed, whether with your kids or on a work call. Make these boundaries clear with family and work associates alike. Don't be afraid to say no! And be sure to turn off your device so you don't get bombarded with work-related messages when trying to take time away.
Mind your physical health. The basics of a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep have a much bigger impact on your well-being than you might expect and are a crucial component of effective self-care. Of course, these things are often the first to be sacrificed when you're busy with work and caring for children.
However, as part of setting boundaries, you should also make sure that you prioritize these areas. Even something as simple as ensuring you get eight hours of sleep each night can do wonders for your well-being.
Finally, participate in helpful relaxation activities that improve your ability to respond to stress. Yoga, deep breathing, and meditation promote physical and mental relaxation, relieving stress and anxiety so you can feel better equipped to take on the rest of the day. Even a ten-minute break can make a difference!
Take Care of Yourself
With so many other responsibilities, it can be surprisingly easy to forget to take time for yourself. But as mompreneurs find the appropriate balance between work, family time, and personal time, they will be better able to achieve the necessary balance to promote good mental and emotional health.