Whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee, on a regular basis you will review your work performance. These tend to be business metrics, which does not tell the full picture of how the way you are working affects your health and wellbeing. In order to meet your targets do you get so stressed that healthy eating, sleeping well and being active goes out the window?
Using self-care as a business metrics can help improve a work life balance and avoid burning out as it can pick up on behaviours earlier rather than later.
In many ways being your own boss can be a challenge here and entrepreneurs can easily work themselves into the ground if they do not have a good work/life structure in place.
It is a personal question of ‘how does the way you work make you feel and behave?’ This takes into consideration your lifestyle, personality and family commitments. You may enjoy a wee bit of stress and need a deadline in order to get things done or perhaps you are the opposite?
What are self-care metrics?
I think they have to be free, quick and easy to do. Ideally, it is something you are doing already and it takes 5 minutes to track on a weekly or monthly basis. Here are a few ideas:
If you are menopausal, using your waistline is a useful metric. You can become sensitive to stress and carbs as you go through the menopause. You may see this on your waistline as excess of stress hormone cortisol is stored on your tum.
If work is stressful and you are not looking after yourself well. You may feel you waistline expands.
It is an easy and free measurement to take. Wrap a tape measure around belly button. Then compare to last month or quarter. Ideally take at the same time of day and time of month.
The size of your waist can help determine future health. Less than 80 cm is considered healthy.
What other changes do you notice when you are stressed that are easy to measure?
If you have a Fitbit or fitness tracker, it makes tracking activity simple.
- On a daily basis, I get a nudge if I do not walk 250 steps in an hour, which is easy to do when you are focused on work
- On a daily basis, I can check how many steps I walk. I aim for 10,000 a day, which is an easy check to see if I need to take the long way home
- On a weekly basis is where I notice that I have reached 70,0000 and try to establish why not. Been too busy, too tired or has my schedule changed?
Taking time to smell the roses
It is easy to stay `busy` even on lunch breaks. As part of my daily activity, I include a daily walk, ‘flâneur’ rather than walking in order to do get my heart rate up. I take a photo of whatever catches my eye, which is often as not, is a pretty flower. I try to limit it to just one on my Instagram feed and pop the rest onto Flickr at some point.
It is then easy once a week to pop onto my Instagram feed and count how many things have caught my eye. If there is not much there, why not? Not inspired, tired, perhaps not getting out for whatever reason.
When I book into classes at my gym, it keeps a log of what classes I have attended. This makes it easy to check my attendance levels on a monthly basis or weekly.
I hope this has given you a few ideas of what you can add as a self-care metric.
Our generation of women is working longer and it is sensible to change how we work and think about longevity or our business or careers and what we can change to help facilitate that.
I would love to hear if you have any self-care metrics!
Samantha Valand is the author of “The Menopause Diaries: A practical guide to healthy eating and exercising in your menopausal years”. You can find out more about her book here.