Over the past few years, women have increasingly found success as business owners – in fact research shows that in 2021 nearly half of new business owners were female, compared with just over a quarter in 2019.
As a women business owner, you undoubtedly juggle endless responsibilities, which can lead to competing priorities: In one survey, one in five say the top issue facing their business is the “ability to dedicate time and attention to my business,” and nearly half say “time to work on their business” is the No. 1 element their business most needs to succeed. Yet trying to balance a flourishing enterprise along with meeting myriad other life obligations can often lead to unhealthy stress and even burnout if left unchecked.
But that doesn’t have to be your fate. Instead, make 2023 the year you achieve success in your business and thrive in your personal life by focusing on these three critical areas of well-being.
Let’s face it…sometimes our own well-being is pushed aside as we take care of everyone else. That stops now! As they say, you have to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. Here are three aspects of physical health to address:
1. Exercise regularly. While exercise can help stave off a range of physical conditions, a recent study finds it provides an extra dose of heart health benefits for those with stress-related conditions, something female entrepreneurs are likely to experience.
Make it happen: To find an activity you will stick with, you might have to try a few different things—whether it’s getting equipment at home, joining a gym or heading outside. And while a dedicated exercise session is beneficial, try wearing a step counter to remind you to get up and get moving more often throughout the day.
2. Eat more nutritiously. Eating the right foods can give you more energy and boost productivity, not to mention help stave off a variety of detrimental health conditions and improve overall health.
Make it happen: To avoid reaching for a sugar-laden snack that’s likely to make you crash later, stock up on nutritious, shelf-stable options to keep handy in your desk or car. And if you find yourself ordering pizza on busy evenings when you get home, set aside some time during the weekend to prep and freeze meals so they are easy to reheat.
3. Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep has been shown to provide a litany of physical and mental benefits. Female business owners might be particularly interested to note that lack of sleep can harm productivity and job performance.
Make it happen: While it’s easy to get caught up in your latest binge-worthy show, you’ll feel more restored if you get your zzzzzs, so power down your screens and head to bed at a reasonable time. A few light yoga poses right before bedtime can help you wind down and get into sleep mode, but save the harder exercise for earlier in the day.
Achieve mental clarity
Women employers are particularly focused on their team’s mental well-being: MetLife’s 2021 Employee Benefit Trends Study found nearly 70% of female small business owners cited it as an important employee benefit objective. And you shouldn’t hesitate to give yourself the same care. Here are three suggestions to try:
1. Inject mindful moments into your day.
Make it happen: First, create a morning ritual that allows you to ease into the day by trying a few minutes of meditation rather than immediately diving into your inbox. Then set your alarm for periodic intervals to “STOP,” which stands for stop, take a breath, observe what’s around you and proceed. This technique can be done anywhere and only takes a minute, but can help recenter your thoughts.
2. Declutter. Believe it or not, a more organized environment can have a direct positive effect on your mental health, according to several studies.
Make it happen: Devote a certain amount of time each day or week to filing papers (or better yet, scanning and shredding them) to keep your desk free of everything but the tools you use regularly. A cluttered email box can cause stress too, so develop a strategy for handling emails and then stashing messages you’ll need later in project-specific folders so you’re not confronted by a chaotic screen when you open your email.
3. Get alone time.
Make it happen: Whether you feel you’d benefit most from a sweat session, reading time or just sitting in a café watching the world go by, schedule your personal time the same way you do other appointments. If you don’t mindfully carve out time of yourself, it’s unlikely to just happen.
Put your own finances first
Women entrepreneurs often find they face a funding gap compared with their male peers, a deficit Valley aims to close through its Women in Business program and commitment to lending to small businesses. Yet it’s important to ensure you don’t neglect your personal financial health. Here are three areas to focus on for financial well-being:
1. Create and stick to a budget.
Make it happen: There are a number of different ways to create a budget, so find one that works for you. You’re more likely to stick to it if you reframe it as a vehicle that gives you freedom to spend money planfully, rather than viewing it as something punitive. The Valley Mobile Banking App can help you track your spending throughout the month.
2. Ditch debt.
Make it happen: Today’s higher interest rates make it harder than ever to dig out of debt, so now is the time to commit to paying off credit cards and other debts you may have accumulated. Keep an eye on your credit score—if you decide to pursue small business loans, your personal credit could affect your ability to get the best rates and terms.
3. Fund your retirement. An alarming study finds half of women ages 55 to 66 have nothing saved for their personal retirement, and it may be an acute problem for women business owners who are focused on reinvesting in their businesses.
Make it happen: Don’t forget the importance of paying yourself first by committing to divert a certain portion each month to a savings account or other vehicle. Consider looking into defined contribution plans specifically for small businesses, such as a solo 401(k). it might be a good time to schedule a checkup with a wealth advisor to get your plan on track.
Are you ready for your most successful year yet? Schedule a consult with a Valley business banker to find out how we can help you reach your goals, and for more insights and financial planning tips, visit the Valley Learning Center today.
*Please refer to your healthcare provider for all medical related questions.