Kate Spirgen

The term ‘self-care’ was thrown around a lot in 2019. And while oftentimes the self-care trend looked like face masks and massages, real self-care is a little more complicated and a lot more work than a spa day.

Self-care is really about taking the time — and doing the work — to set yourself up for success in the long run. And yes, sometimes that includes a little rest and relaxation, but it’s also things like meditating, making that overdue dentist appointment and eating right.

This year, we decided to bring our Spring Survival Guide to you a few months earlier to help you plan for the impending rush a little farther in advance. You’ve got some time before the busiest season of the year hits, so consider taking some time to figure out what relieves your stress and makes you the best version of yourself.

I tried doing just that last year. For the longest time, I just couldn’t find enough time to exercise as much as I should. Everything else came first, and then if I had time after everything else on my to-do list was checked off, I would fit it in.

So as an experiment, I tried prioritizing my own health for a week. And you know what? All of those other obligations just didn’t seem as important as they once did. Once that cardio kickboxing became a vital, immovable part of my week, everything else sort of fell into place around it. (I’m sure the endorphins helped keep exercising at the top of my priorities list too.) And while I did feel guilty for a while, that guilt was quickly replaced with pride that I was doing something good for myself.

While putting in extra hours (or days) is just part of the job sometimes, it too often becomes the norm for independent business owners. The business always comes first. And countless studies over the past decade have shown that productivity drastically decreases at a certain point.

Taking some time for you might just help you get more done without putting in more hours.

And the right kind of self-care isn’t just good for you. It’s good for the people around you too. With less stress, more patience and a brighter outlook, you might even be a better boss. And with a rested brain that’s firing on all cylinders, you just might be able to think on your feet when problems arise.

So why not start getting healthy habits in place now before your workdays start stretching out longer and longer during the spring? They say the work will expand to fill the time you have available, so try carving out some time to take care of yourself. You might be surprised at how things fall into place.

Kate Spirgen