What happens when you can’t do it all: How To Make Self-Care A Priority

Last Updated: April 1, 2024By
What happens when you can’t do it all How To Make Self-Care A Priority

Are you an entrepreneurial woman struggling to keep up with everything on your plate?

Do you feel like you’re running in overdrive constantly juggling:

  • building and running a business, ensuring it is growing and profitable
  • keeping the team happy
  • ensuring bills are paid, finances sorted, and a stable income coming in
  • being a present parent
  • keeping the house clean and organised
  • staying fit and healthy
  • keeping the family healthy
  • staying connected with your husband, friends and family
  • socialising, networking, and attend meetings
  • doing all the school runs, help with homework, and keep on top of all extra-curricular activities
  • being the uber-mum ferrying the kids in all directions most nights of the week
  • ensuring uniforms are washed
  • keeping up with the news and what’s going on in the world
  • staying up-to-date with the latest trends and news in your industry
  • taking care of elderly or other family members
  • being available for work calls and emails outside of regular business hours
  • maintaining a professional and polished appearance
  • supporting other women in their personal and professional lives.
  • and somehow in there – taking care of yourself

Do you feel pressured to be on top of ALL of the above every single week, but always feel like you’re kinda drowning keeping up?

You are not alone.

I know so many women who share the same feelings.

They know all too well the feeling as they look at their mounting to-do lists, journals of big ideas, and #allthethings demanding their attention…

The feeling of being stretched in too many directions…

The feeling of desperately wanting to do them all, but just as strongly, desperately wanting a really good (uninterrupted) nap…

The feeling that they just can’t do it all.

That feeling of failure.

If this list is ringing true for you, we’re here to to tell you, you’re not failing. It’s not because there’s something wrong with you or that you’re not trying hard enough. It’s because society sets entrepreneurial women up to fail.

Society expects women to take on all of the above roles, without compromising or reducing their capacity to serve on any of them. On the home front, you’re often expected to be the full-time mum – even if you work full-time. On the work front, women are expected to be exceptional in all aspects of their work, including being highly competent, efficient, and effective, and not to mention profitable quickly to bring finances into the family if they’re not staying home with the children.

This puts so much pressure on them to deliver above and beyond what is expected.

But worse than that, women are often hesitant to ask for help or delegate tasks to others because they fear that they will be seen as weak or incapable.

This fear is driven from societal conditioning that values self-sufficiency and independence in women, which often leads them to believe that they must do everything themselves.

We are conditioned to believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness, that we have to do it all exceptionally well, and that we can’t ask for any help.

But this is far from the truth.

We were never meant to do it all, and it’s physically impossible to do it all without sacrificing our own well-being.

The pressure to do it all is real, and it’s causing burnout and a loss of self.

So what can we do about it?

We need to ask for help and not be afraid to seek it out and accept it.

We need to let go of unrealistic expectations and be okay with letting things slide.

We need to outsource and pay for help when necessary.

We need to seek professional help when things get overwhelming.

Most importantly, we need to remember that we matter.

Our needs, our health, and our dreams matter just as much as anyone else’s.

When we can’t do it all, we need to prioritise and decide what we’re going to drop instead of sacrificing ourselves.

So if you’re struggling to keep up, know that you’re not alone, and it’s time to prioritise your needs and well-being. It’s time to ask for help.

Recognising when to seek out help

Recognising when you need to ask for help can be difficult, especially if you’re used to being independent or if you believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness. However, there are certain signs that can indicate that you need to reach out for support. Here are some of the most common signs:

You feel overwhelmed: If you’re struggling to keep up with your responsibilities and feel like you’re drowning in tasks, it may be time to ask for help.

You’re not meeting your own expectations: If you find that you’re falling short of your own expectations, whether it’s in your personal or professional life, it may be time to seek assistance.

You’re neglecting your self-care: If you’re consistently putting your own needs last and neglecting self-care practices like exercise, sleep, and relaxation, it’s a sign that you need to prioritise your well-being and ask for help.

You’re making mistakes: If you’re finding that you’re making more mistakes than usual, whether it’s in your work or personal life, it may be a sign that you’re spread too thin and need support.

You’re feeling stressed or anxious: If you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety, it’s a sign that you need to take a step back and reassess your situation. This may involve asking for help to lighten your workload or seeking professional support.

Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It takes courage to recognise when you need support and to reach out for it. Whether it’s delegating tasks to others, seeking professional help, or simply asking a friend or family member for assistance, reaching out for help can ultimately lead to greater success and well-being in the long run.

As a business owner, it can be easy to get caught up in the demands of running a successful company. However, neglecting self-care and balance can lead to burnout, reduced productivity, and a loss of passion for your work.

What to do if you can’t afford help

This question comes up a lot when we’re talking with overwhelmed business owners: I need help, but I can’t afford it, what can I do?

If you’re unable to afford help, it can be challenging to balance all of your responsibilities and prioritise self-care. However, there are still steps you can take to lighten your load and make self-care a priority:

Simplify your to-do list: Identify the tasks that are most important and focus on those. Eliminate or delegate tasks that are less essential or that can wait.

Restructure your availability: Schedule in your me-time – seriously, do it now – block out time each day that’s just for you and nothing else, and commit to it. Make it a bold colour in your calendar and make it a non-negotiable time. Now add in the other non-negotiable times, and work backwards from there to see what time is left in the week and what is actually achievable for you right now. Change your scheduler to enforce bumper time on all meetings, and set a capacity for the number of meetings permitted in a day. Not overbooking yourself, or cramming your calendar, is a great way to lower the overwhelm.

Use technology to your advantage: There are many apps and tools available that can help you streamline your work and save time. Look for tools that can automate tasks, track your time, or manage your schedule.

Seek out free resources: There are many free resources available that can provide support and assistance, such as online support groups, webinars, and workshops. Insight Timer has a wonderful library of free meditations, YouTube has thousands of free yoga and meditation classes, and there are so many free business and personal support groups locally and online that you can tap into to find your support tribe – even if you live in remote areas.

Practice self-care in small ways: Even if you can’t take long breaks or indulge in expensive self-care activities, there are small things you can do to take care of yourself, such as taking a short walk, practising deep breathing, pausing to enjoy a cuppa in the sunshine, pampering yourself with some nice soap and a long bath, cuddling the dog, or listening to a few of your favourite songs. Some people even find deep cleaning therapeutic.

Reach out for support: Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or colleagues for support. Even if they can’t provide hands-on help, they can offer emotional support and encouragement.

Say No: Sounds simple but just start saying no. Stand firm in those no’s. Stick to your boundaries. And with every NO you’re creating space for yourself.

Remember, self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. By prioritising the things that matter most, simplifying your to-do list, and seeking out support and resources, you can still prioritise self-care and lighten your load, even if you can’t afford help.

What happens if you continue operating in a state of overwhelm and stress

Continuing to operate in a state of overwhelm and stress can have negative consequences for your physical and mental health, as well as your overall well-being and success as a business owner. Here are some of the potential consequences of operating in a state of overwhelm and stress:

Burnout: Chronic stress and overwhelm can lead to burnout, which is characterised by emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment. Burnout can make it difficult to stay motivated and engaged in your work.

Physical health problems: Chronic stress can lead to a range of physical health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and a weakened immune system.

Mental health problems: Chronic stress and overwhelm can also lead to mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Reduced productivity: When you’re operating in a state of overwhelm and stress, it can be difficult to focus, make decisions, and be productive. This can lead to reduced productivity and a lack of progress in your business.

Strained relationships: Chronic stress and overwhelm can make it difficult to maintain positive relationships with colleagues, clients, and loved ones. This can lead to increased conflict, isolation, and loneliness.

Lack of enjoyment: When you’re constantly stressed and overwhelmed, it can be difficult to enjoy your work or your personal life. This can lead to a loss of passion and purpose, which can ultimately impact your success as a business owner.

Operating in a state of stress and overwhelm as a business owner can have a negative impact on the success and growth of your business, such as:

Poor decision-making: When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, it can be difficult to make clear and rational decisions. This can lead to poor decision-making, which can have negative consequences for your business.

Reduced creativity and innovation: Stress and overwhelm can stifle creativity and innovation, which are essential for the growth and success of your business. When you’re constantly in survival mode, it can be challenging to come up with new ideas and approaches.

Decreased quality of work: When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, it’s easy to make mistakes and overlook important details. This can lead to a decrease in the quality of your work, which can damage your reputation and credibility.

Reduced motivation and engagement: Chronic stress and overwhelm can lead to a decrease in motivation and engagement in your work. This can make it difficult to stay focused and driven, which can impact the success of your business.

Poor time management: When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, it can be challenging to manage your time effectively. This can lead to missed deadlines, delays, and a lack of progress in your business.

Reduced customer satisfaction: When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, it can be difficult to provide the level of service and attention that your customers expect. This can lead to a reduction in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Overall, operating in a state of overwhelm and stress can have serious negative consequences for your physical and mental health, as well as your success in business and personal life. It’s important to prioritise self-care and balance to avoid these negative outcomes and promote overall well-being.

What not to do…

Embracing a “don’t give a f*ck” attitude can be tempting when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed as a business owner. However, this mindset can actually be counterproductive and ultimately lead to more stress and burnout.

Here are some reasons why embracing a “don’t give a f*ck” attitude is not a healthy approach:

It can lead to neglecting important tasks: When you adopt a “don’t give a fuck” attitude, you may be tempted to neglect important tasks and responsibilities. This can lead to negative consequences for your business, such as missed deadlines or lost clients.

It can damage your reputation: If you adopt a “don’t give a fuck” attitude towards your work, it can be reflected in the quality of your output. This can damage your reputation and credibility, which can have long-term consequences for your business.

It can negatively impact your relationships: Adopting a “don’t give a fuck” attitude towards your colleagues, clients, and loved ones can lead to strained relationships and a lack of trust.

It can lead to a lack of motivation: When you adopt a “don’t give a fuck” attitude, it can be easy to lose motivation and drive in your work. This can lead to a lack of progress and growth in your business.

It can contribute to burnout: Neglecting responsibilities and failing to take care of yourself can ultimately lead to burnout, which can have serious negative consequences for your physical and mental health.

So, while it’s important to prioritise self-care and avoid taking on too much, adopting a “don’t give a fuck” attitude towards your work and responsibilities is not a healthy approach. Instead, focus on identifying your priorities, delegating tasks when possible, and practising self-care to avoid overwhelm and reduce your stress.

How to prioritise self-care and restore balance

Prioritising self-care and balance as a business owner can be challenging, but it’s essential for your overall well-being and success in the long run.

Here are some tips for how to make self-care and balance a priority:

Schedule time for self-care: Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your schedule by setting aside specific times for activities that promote well-being, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones. Treat these activities as you would a business meeting or deadline.

Learn to say no: As a business owner, it’s easy to take on too much and neglect your own needs. Learn to say no to requests that don’t align with your goals or values, or that would require you to sacrifice self-care or balance.

Delegate tasks: Identify tasks that can be delegated to others, whether it’s outsourcing certain aspects of your business or enlisting the help of family members or friends to take on household tasks.

Set boundaries: It’s important to set clear boundaries between work and personal time. This may involve setting specific work hours or avoiding checking emails or taking work calls during personal time.

Take breaks: Taking regular breaks throughout the day can help you stay refreshed, energised, and focused. Schedule short breaks throughout the day to stretch, take a walk, or simply step away from your work.

Seek support: Don’t be afraid to seek support from others when you need it, whether it’s from a therapist, coach, or trusted friend or family member.

 

Remember: prioritising self-care and balance isn’t selfish – it’s essential for your overall well-being and success. By making self-care and balance a priority, you’ll be better equipped to handle the demands of running a successful business, while also enjoying a fulfilling personal life.

 

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