Article by Lavinia Brown
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We all know how important sleep is for our mental, emotional and physical well-being because we’ve all experienced what it’s like to feel like we’ve not had enough: grumpy, unmotivated and not fully able to function.
If we want to be firing on all cylinders, we need to count sleep as one of our major fuels.
And yet sometimes it can be so elusive. Why? Because it is SO easily influenced by how we feel: anxiety, stress, worry, fear, excitement or nerves can all prevent our bodies from reaching the necessary state of physical calm in order to fall asleep.
But if you are a solopreneur, aka the marketing, strategy, admin, sales and accounts department rolled into one (not to forget office manager as well as the heart and soul of your brand), these feelings – and more – are often part of the course.
Because you are relying entirely on yourself to grow your business.
Not only can this feel lonely, it can also be stressful, especially when you know that as a result of tiredness, your precious productivity will stall.
So to make sleep into the superpower that it has the potential to be, we have to know how to pause, unwind our bodies and switch off our minds. Not easy when you have a million and one things swirling around your solopreneurial brain. Which is why I’ve listed 8 awesome ways to help you get there:
Just because you are self-employed does not mean you have a right to burn out. Indeed, with no back up CEO, there is a strong reason to make sure that you don’t! Take a look at your day-to-day plan: how much down time you are allowing yourself? Set aside at least one hour before going to bed during which you are physically (and mentally) ‘off-line’: that means not checking your work email or social media feeds, and actively trying not to think about anything work-related. Be disciplined about this: schedule it in or set an alarm to make sure you do it. And if a work-themed idea does pop up, write it down to explore the next day.
✖️ CREATE RITUALS
However simple your pre-sleep routine is, make it sacred. The psyche responds to ritual – it is a way of telling your unconscious that is entering a new phase – so whilst you brush your teeth or take off your makeup, don’t start thinking about your next blog, try to empty your mind instead: turn off your phone, dim the lights, put on some soothing music, light a candle, be really present with yourself and see your actions as gentle, loving acts of physical self-care.
✖️ JOIN A WOMEN’S CIRCLE
Feeling appreciated for who we truly are is one of our basic human needs. If we keep our worries or negative emotions locked in, they can fester and eventually lead to dis-ease. A women’s circle can provide the nurturing and non-judgemental environment in which these can be shared. It is also a chance to connect with other women – as equals – in a deeper, timeless way. And if you can’t find one, create your own! It could even become a great marketing opportunity for your ideal clients…
✖️ CREATE LISTS
To-do lists are a great way to stop overthinking. The act of writing magnifies our intent so getting things down on paper brings you one step closer to actually making them happen. Keep your list somewhere prominent and schedule time every day for implementation. Outside of this, be strict with yourself: free up your mind for other things. An achievement list is just as useful and is a great way to transition into a relaxed, ‘off-work’ mode. At the end of your working ‘day’, write down at least three ways in which you have grown your business (every little thing counts). This is a symbolic gesture which gives you mental closure and allows you to move onto other things.
Diet is a crucial component of bringing our physical bodies into balance and if we are out of kilter, sleep can suffer. This occurs not just when we are hungry or too full but also if our body is struggling to process foods that don’t suit it. If you don’t already know which foods energise or make you feel sluggish, try writing a food diary. Include the times at which you ate, how you felt in between meals and your daily sleep patterns, then review and tweak it accordingly at the end of each week.
✖️ FILL YOUR LUNGS
Schedule in daily outdoor time to enjoy some fresh air. If it’s sunny, why not create an alfresco workspace? And if it’s raining, try flinging open the window of your office, if only for a short while. The influx of clean oxygen will re-invigorate you in the moment and, when sleep time comes, help you to turn off.
✖️ SHAKE YOUR BOOTY
Our bodies were not designed for sitting down all day. Exercise promotes healthy organs, releases the feel-good hormone, oxytocin, and improves digestion as well as blood flow. It also allows blocked energy to flow through you and be released. Try to move for at least 10 minutes every day, combining this with what brings you joy: from walking to running to yoga to busting some moves on an imaginary dancefloor! And if you are the type of solopreneur that likes to multitask, why not catch up on your favourite podcast at the same time?
✖️ RELAX YOUR MUSCLES
There are various ways to do this: listening to zen music (tracks that promote the production of theta waves are great because these are dominant during sleep and daydreaming); putting your legs up against the wall in ‘Viparita Karani’, using an eye pillow (pressure on the forehead activates the parasympathetic nervous system or ‘rest and digest’ state in us – the opposite of our usual ‘fight or flight’ state), or simply deep, conscious breathing.
I’d love to know lovely, do you have any tips that help you to unwind and switch off? Please share away in the comments below!
MEET LAVINIA SAIS BROWN
Lavinia is a BYCA-qualified life coach, speaker and circle holder who supports women – and in particular solopreneur mamas – to reach for more: to create a life that is meaningful and fun, beyond the confines of motherhood. She empowers mamas to find the confidence and courage to be the women they want to be, rather than who society or others have told them they ‘should’ be. Lavinia loves to explore women’s needs, dreams and desires, and to help them overcome whatever is holding them back from expressing these. She believes that every mama has the right to feel happy, fulfilled, calm and free!